Remote work, which became a business necessity overnight, is rapidly being codified in many CW engagements, complete with competitive pricing for similar or enhanced productivity and improved access to a broader, quality talent pool.

Any change taking place within in a contingent workforce program — whether including engaging remote contingent talent, pursuing direct sourcing or expanding to include statement-of-work management — requires a well-considered CW program strategy. This is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.

Ideally, any such strategy change would include a three- to five-year strategic roadmap. But periods of major economic or societal upheaval lead to significant, rapid change in business as companies seek a strategy that will defend the current business through the current crisis but grow it as soon has the market settles. The current climate is no exception.

Programs need to ensure that these remote work engagements are being incorporated into their ongoing execution strategy appropriately.

Benefits of a Strategy

A well-developed CW program strategy provides a clear understanding of what must be done, and why,  to create a competitive leverage of CW talent resources and services. There are a lot of moving parts that can be impacted favorably in a CW program to drive cost-savings, enhanced efficiency, risk mitigation and quality outcomes.

Steps to a well-developed CW program strategy, and the resulting benefits, include:

  • Set a course for your journey. Establishing a CW program takes time, focus and phases of development.
  • Plan creation for competitive advantage. Organized, effective operational leverage of CW engagements creates competitive advantages/gains for the organization.
  • Create ROI alignment. Secure the program’s focus on establishing CW management/organizational ROI drivers and practices.
  • Enhance decision-making. A well-defined strategy enables focused and efficient decision-making support.
  • Support program management office team leadership. Enhance the confidence and understanding of PMO team leadership decision-making.

The Weak Link

But traditionally, programs are less successful in designing and implementing a strategic plan than they are in executing the detailed, tactical elements of CW program management. The negative consequences of poor CW program strategic planning are many, but most damaging are the lack of program management prioritization focus and executive sponsorship conviction behind the program.

The core differences between strategic and tactical in a program are:

Strategic. In this case, it is the competitive advantage gained by the effective leveraging of contingent workforce talent resources. This strategic planning will include creating a vision, mission and/or business charter that sums up the concept of capturing a specified competitive advantage as well as a series of ideas or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result.

Tactical. Practical steps toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage. Once you understand your strategy/mission/purpose, a tactical plan articulates the effective steps required to execute that strategic perspective.

Building a Strategy

An overall CW program strategy will have multiple interconnecting elements, each of which will have a fairly detailed description of choices and decisions that are tailored to the mission, goals and objectives of the CW program overall and the business environment it operates in.

Here are typical elements that should be addressed in a well-established CW program strategy:

  • Mission and competitive advantage value statement
  • As-is and desired state assessment
  • Program investments, resources and ROI goals
  • Program services portfolio expansion and management
  • CW program’s sourcing model framework
  • Talent sourcing channel segmentation and management plan
  • Staff augmentation/SOW solution partner portfolio management plan
  • Program and partner performance management methods
  • Quality service management methods and goals
  • Cost control/savings plan and rate card governance
  • Visibility, communication management, data model and reporting
  • Program risk framework assessment and mitigation response plan
  • Enabling-management technology design, expansion and management plan

Remember, a hastily adopted CW program strategy or program policy change can create problems down the road. Hope is not a strategy. Be prepared to deal with change and unforeseen circumstances in order to keep the established, strategic end goal and objectives in focus.