One of the most popular topics around contingent workforce management has been expanding your contingent workforce program beyond its initial country, usually the United States.  By all accounts, more and more programs are expanding geographically. The lessons learned from these efforts have been numerous, not least of which is that it is typically more complicated in other countries than wherever you started and that one-size-fits-all approach to the world does not work.  But in our zeal to expand globally, I wonder if we haven’t forsaken other important dimensions of our programs.

During the CW Solutions Forum in Dallas last month, I co-hosted a workshop on the CW Program Maturity Model, which is essentially:

  • A multi-dimensional tool to assess an organization’s contingent workforce program capabilities from a comprehensive, strategic, governed, measurable and sustainable perspective
  • A framework to evaluate an organization’s internal practices using five levels of maturity ranging from Informal & Decentralized (level 1) to Competitive Differentiator (level 5)
  • Designed to focus on existence of key program attributes, but not the overall performance of those attributes.

During the workshop, we asked participants to rate their programs’ maturity level in 19 total sub-attributes within the five dimensions.  This exercise was a very quick and high-level version of the full assessment, which has more than 200 sub-attributes and questions. That said, the results were directionally very interesting.

The first thing that jumped out was the number of programs that had successfully implemented beyond just the United States or North America. As seen in the accompanying graphic, 43% (12 of 28) of programs from the workshop respondents now have a global or multi-regional scope.

Country Scope

Beyond the geographic scope of the programs, the following were the results for all respondents when it came to rating themselves within the five dimensions:

Maturity Assessment

The blue dots above represent the mean across the companies within each dimension, while the black dots represent 1 standard deviation on either side.  This means that 66% of programs fall within the range between the black dots.  What does this chart tell us?  While we shouldn’t leap to too many conclusions from a one-hour workshop with a sample population of 28 companies, there is one result that corresponds to the anecdotes that we have been hearing throughout the industry.  Specifically, the highest scoring sub-attribute was ‘Geographic Coverage’ which falls within the highest scoring dimension of ‘Comprehensive’.

Perhaps the focus has been to expand, expand, expand in recent years, but this brief exercise indicates it’s time to focus on ensuring that your expansion will last long-term.  To do that, you must ensure that your program is built for long-term success.  In other words, you need to make sure that it is MATURE in more than just the geographic footprint.  This requires renewed focus on the fundamentals of the Strategic, Governed, Measurable and Sustainable dimensions.