As a buyer, you want the talent you procure from staffing and workforce solutions firms to help solve your organization’s critical needs. That is why you should care about elevating and educating the contingent workforce, especially as the community is expected to keep growing as the definition of what is contingent work develops. Meanwhile, technology and generational changes in the way we work continue to make alternative work styles attractive to more workers. So how does that change the role of staffing for today’s ecosystem: buyers, staffing firms and workers?

Savvy buyers consider staffing firms and other workforce solutions providers as strategic partners that may be employers of choice for workers with skills that are at a premium. In fact, Staffing Industry Analysts Advisory Group (SIAAG) has published and promoted how standards, terminology and best practices are developing for the workforce solutions ecosystem. This information can help you position your company to compete in a market where the engagement model may ultimately be the talent’s choice.

The role of staffing has changed and continues to do so with technology and demand. For example, online staffing, talent communities and candidate experience are coming to the forefront due to technological advances along with worker preference and enterprise adoption. The battle for the talent continues and the role of staffing will morph. Will your company adapt and adopt? Most likely you already have or you will in the future.

Contingent employment in various flavors (staff augmentation, ICs, SOW, online staffing and more) continues to be used by buyers to fulfill peak and project needs but is now a mission critical component when looking at Total Talent Management for the enterprise. The staffing landscape has expanded with more players entering the scene providing a range of solutions within the Workforce Solutions Ecosystem.


With expansion comes a focus on ethics. I recently spoke with a buyer who called for a renewed spirit of partnership (instead of us/them) and focusing on hiring manager and contractor needs. And I’ve heard suggestions for a code of conduct or best practice list for mutual commitment. The American Staffing Association publishes a Code of Ethics that encourages high standards of ethical conduct in dealings with employees, clients and competitors. The SIAAG has published best practices for contingent workforce engagement and VMS integration and plans to expand knowledge and consistency in this arena as it works on its next report: contractor data requirements best practices.

All parties concerned know the process requires a demand-side marketplace for talent. Position your company and your supplier partners for success in a supply side marketplace as well, prepare for what happens when the next downturn hits. Make changes that are appropriate and elevate your strategy using best practices and industry standards. Use information such as What’s in the Contingent Worker Bill Rate  to see if the contingent worker price is right — a handy reference on page two gives you the right questions to ask.

The rate of change for all of the roles for today’s buyers, staffing firms and workers is going to be a force to be reckoned with. When you add in robotics, big data predictive analysis and a host of technology solutions that will either “enslave or liberate,” a change in the future of the industry and the customer experience is inevitable.