If you are managing flexible talent today, you are in the driver’s seat. In the past 25 years, there has been a huge shift in the way the temporary workforce is viewed, serviced and managed. In many cases, program managers are active participant as experts in the selection, strategy and planning for a major portion of the global flexible workforce.

A range of solutions are available from Staffing Industry Analysts to enable you to tune your on-demand workforce engine and keep it driving forward. The flexible/gig workforce is key to the total talent market view that companies must command as technology advances and gives them a variety of choices in how they can get work done.

Understanding the types and flavors of all the ways work can get done is essential, whether you are considering bringing your program in house or are looking for a review of what’s happened and lessons learned in the past year.

HCFrameworkThe human cloud. The human cloud framework might be another avenue for your company to drive talent. SIA defines three categories of human cloud platform models — online staffing, online work services, and crowdsourcing — with frequent overlap occurring.

  • Online staffing. The outcome of the transaction is typically a direct legal relationship between manager and worker. It’s fast, but can be risky.
  • Online work services. The platform provides some specialized product or service, with the platform organizing and managing a freelance workforce to deliver the product or service (like freelancer-enabled business process outsourcing). It can be risky.
  • Crowdsourcing firms. Specialize in micro-tasks and contest/bid-based work performed by a typically anonymous “crowd” of workers, each working independently, and compensated piecemeal for their work. It can be risky but also nimble.

Delivery models. There is a ton of experimentation with delivery models and various services like “direct sourcing” platforms. Examine carefully the benefits of these different ways to get talent before making a choice.

Contingent goes mainstream. Program managers and contingent workforce professionals are the experts and can lead the way when companies are deciding on how work gets done. Years of experience, maturation of programs and credentials from programs like SIA’s CCWP and SOW have formalized the practice of contingent workforce management and show the depth and breadth of expertise. Plus, there is an entire generation on both sides of the spectrum that is hungry for flexible work and can supply a high level of professional skills to organizations with the right mindset.

Contingent work is now a viable choice for baby boomers and the alphabet of generations seeking meaningful employment that works within their lifestyle and maximizes the utilization of their skills and time. Plus, as more baby boomers leave the workforce, demand for specific skills will increase, driving companies to get more creative in how they approach scarce talent. Contingent workforce programs also enjoy executive sponsorship at even higher levels, as CFOs and others in the C-suite have visibility to the scope and spend and ultimately how they help companies achieve results.

As a CW program manager, your decisions affect the selection, strategy and planning for a major portion of the global flexible workforce. Seek out and capitalize on the range of solutions available to tune your on-demand workforce engine and keep it driving forward.