Beyond initial adoption, organizations should maintain and optimize the return on investment of their contingent workforce programs by keeping abreast of ever-changing legislation and advancing techniques and solutions, as well as by expanding scope to include additional geographies and further types of contingent workforce, such as statement-of-work consultants.

Staffing Industry Analysts recently released its Contingent Workforce Optimization Roadmap, which provides individual activities necessary to establish a CW program or improve an existing one.

The roadmap comprises three main parts:

Program mode. Start by assessing whether your CW program is currently in a “transformation” or an “adaptation” mode. Organizations in transformation mode have decided to fundamentally change their methods of sourcing, using and/or managing their contingent workforce in order to drive breakthrough improvement. However, those in adaptation mode are working from a solid foundation; their activities are geared toward continuously improving return on investment by maximizing return and managing the investment level.

Execution. Once the mode has been established, make preparations to execute the corresponding activities and processes. Phases — target, architect and implement— in transformation mode are sequential, as are the 15 activities in the activity guides provided with SIA’s Contingent Workforce Optimization Roadmap. Activities in adaptation mode occur in parallel.

Orchestration. Optimizing a CW program – either in transformation or adaptation mode – requires managing various resources, means and stakeholders to ensure progress and project success, as well as addressing resistance to change during the process.

While procurement and HR usually initiate and own the project, the process requires participation from many others both inside (e.g., legal, finance, IT, C-suite management, end-users, engagement managers and business unit leaders) and outside the organization (for example incumbent providers of contingent workers, contingent workers themselves and sometimes even customers). The outcome of an optimization exercise often intervenes on processes and responsibilities such as ordering, invoicing and payment, approvals, reporting, etc.

Not every stakeholder will immediately embrace the change. Coordinating and guiding these stakeholders through any mode of change is critical to the success of the project and a well-executed orchestration will substantially improve any CW program.

As stakeholders are often asked to participate in a CW program optimization project alongside their day-to-day job, try to keep their program time to a minimum. Stakeholders generally do not need to be involved in every activity, and the extent of their involvement varies based on their role and program objectives.

Making progress in the project is crucial. Any delays can cause a loss of stakeholder confidence and commitment, and could ultimately lead to the failure of the entire initiative. Designing, monitoring and communicating a project plan from start to launch will assist in managing stakeholders’ expectations, and enable the sharing of progress and discussion of potential obstacles.

SIA’s Contingent Workforce Optimization Roadmap, available online to CW Council members, provides individual activities as a guideline to manage the execution of the most appropriate strategy, which can then be tailored to the unique challenges of the organization utilizing the tool. It also includes, as separate Excel files, an example project timeline and stakeholder management matrix.

For more information on being a CWS Council member, click here.