Contingent workforce managers must continue to invest time, energy and effort to drive innovation forward in their programs. If they don’t, they will not only lose out on the benefits the changes could bring, but also their edge and competitive advantage.

Dawn McCartney, VP of SIA’s Contingent Workforce Strategies Council, delivered that message in her keynote address, “Creating Your Contingent Workforce Program Strategic Roadmap,” at SIA’s annual CWS Summit North America. Held this week in Dallas, the 2022 Summit was the largest in the event’s 18-year history with more than 1,200 attendees and more than 356 companies.

“So often what we find is the reasons the changes don’t happen is not only time, but it is also that we don’t have a strategy for them,” McCartney said, “because creating a strategy takes time.”

Strategy — defined as a long-term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal — needs to be reviewed and revised. And despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, program managers must “stay the course,” she said.

Ensuring that your strategic plans don’t get relegated to the back burner is particularly important because the industry is changing rapidly. In addition to technological advancements, rapid changes are also prevalent in the way talent wants to work (think remote options and meaningful work) and the legal/regulatory environment.

It Takes All Types

Are you a strategic thinker or a tactical “do-er” that thrives on executing a plan? Some people are able to envision long-term goals and visions; others are tactical. Both are needed to drive a program forward, according to McCartney. If you are a tactical person, surround yourself with strategic thinkers, and if you are strategy-minded, ensure you have tactical people to carry out that vision.

In addition, strategy is the responsibility of all industry participants, not just enterprise buyers. This includes MSPs, VMS and other technology providers, platforms, researchers and more that serve the contingent workforce industry.

“Folks, it takes all of us,” McCartney told the audience. “We’re in it together.”

Additional highlights of McCartney’s roadmap to a building a successful strategy include:

Start with a mission statement. A formal statement that explains what you do, how you do it and why you do it sets the boundaries of your strategy.

Brand your program. Identify who you are and how what you do impacts your program and its reputation.

As-is state. Consider where your program is currently. What challenges is the change going to address? What is working and not working? Why do you want to implement the change?

Future state/desired state success. This is how you envision it looking post implementation of the change. Remember that for a change to be successful, it must have adoption. This means not only did the change get implemented, but the stakeholders use it.

Program maturity model. This is a great tool to utilize to help with your as-is and desired states. Determine where you now are on a program maturity model and where you would like to get to, keeping in mind that the goal should be reasonable and achievable. This is a long-term plan.

Buy-in. You need to get stakeholders and partners to support the change, so get them on board with your plan. Show them their ROI for adopting the change.

QECR. Use the QECR (quality, efficiency, cost, risk) Performance Management framework in your initiative to help identify ROI back to the strategic change.

Don’t forget to consider talent, technology and risk when developing a strategy to build a competitive and successful program, McCartney said. “These are key areas which we see incredible change happening very quickly.”

For information on CWS Council membership, click here.