Contingent worker engagements are varied and complex. When it comes to engaging them, our industry experts from the Staffing Industry Analysts Advisory Group (SIAGG) have focused on key areas as essential to strategically address. The resulting report, Contingent Workforce Engagement Best Practices, is the go-to guide for tested strategies for CW engagement from both the client and supplier perspectives. Here are some highlights:

Requests. Safety is critical, so make sure to identify physical skills and safety equipment requirements. This includes allowing suppliers to visit the work environment when it makes sense. Remember, these are their employees. Be sure to communicate expected timeframes and make sure those managers and workers on non-standard shifts are accommodated in the communication process. Agree in the beginning to a desired start date that is a combination or compromise of what the manager needs/wants and the minimum time needed to realistically start a new worker.

Sourcing. From a sourcing perspective, what are a few ways to provide you with the highest quality at the best cost, efficiently and with mitigated risk to your company? Remember to document candidate eligibility requirements (i.e., W-2 only, no H-1B, subcontracting, retirees, etc.) for suppliers as well as any exception process. Make sure you are setting meetings with high-volume engagement managers and suppliers to discuss sourcing and specific or repetitive needs. Finally, establish a maximum number of candidates per requisition in each segment to prevent engagement managers from being inundated, subject to résumé fatigue and longer fill times.

Selection. This is where it gets serious. Get your suppliers or MSP to provide a summary of candidate qualifications for all professional requisition requirements. Even more important, make sure to provide a regular update to suppliers on requisitions with the number of candidates, interviews and offers from all suppliers. Keep them in the loop and if volume or speed is important, don’t do formal interviews.

Onboarding. Here are a few helpful hints: First, keep pre-run background checks for candidates who are in an active pipeline and make sure to provide an onboarding checklist to every supplier for every requisition. Engagement managers should know in advance what the expected onboarding time is for each segment (IT, clerical, industrial, etc.). Finally, have an adjudication process for onboarding process failures and document them to improve future engagements.

Assignment management. Do you — or your program office — survey managers, workers and suppliers during the assignment andafter? This feedback is a part of assignment management that is hard to get done, but not if you make it part of the weekly timecard approval process. Periodically conduct audits for inactive workers who may have been offboarded improperly. And have a good process and guidelines in place for any rate adjustments and ensure contracts allow for adjustments — up or down — for significant statutory expenses changes, like those that are ACA-related.

Offboarding. This is a shared responsibility for both the program office, you and the supplier most likely. Be clear and provide advance notice to the supplier or program office if a worker’s assignment will be ending early with instructions on how and when they should communicate that. Share documented procedures with engagement managers for all types of off-boards like skill match, cause and natural assignment end. Define the process for asset return and terminating system and site access, have a checklist and close out all invoicing for the assignment promptly.

Payrolling. Make sure you are establishing an effective rate and review it periodically to account for thresholds on statutory costs in lieu of rebating, as well as market fluctuations for your skill sets. The job description and pay rate should be required to test for Fair Labor Standards Act exemption and, of course, negotiate the pay rate prior to processing the offer. The program office or payroll supplier should negotiate the pay rate, not the engagement manager.

Independent contractors (ICs). Define what an IC is in your firm based upon established criteria and have a standard process for evaluating their status, engaging and contracting. Make sure you understand the risks and benefits of utilizing ICs in each country, and don’t utilize IC’s for easy-to-fill roles.

Staffing Industry Analysts frequently hosts webinars and produces reports geared toward improving CW management. Replays of past webinars are also available on our website. For example, if you missed the May 20 webinar, “Setting the Bar: Best Practices for CW Engagement,” you will find it online within a week. And of course, the aforementioned SIAGG guide to Contingent Workforce Engagement Best Practices. Know best practices are when it comes to these critical areas. This will raise the bar in your company when it comes to contingent workforce engagement.