While the dust is still settling from SIA’s CWS Summit held last month in Dallas, there is a lingering energy that attendees have taken with them back to their companies and teams. Held in person for the first time since the pandemic, this was the largest CWS Summit on record, with nearly 700 representatives of enterprise organizations and another 600 sponsors and staff in attendance. SIA’s CWS team reflects on the week and summarizes the most noteworthy trends from the event.

Critical networking. “CWS Summit 2022 was exactly what our industry needed, not only for the live interaction but also because our industry has evolved so much over the past two years,” says Dawn McCartney, VP, CWS Council. “From the way workers want to work to the way work gets done, there was so much to talk about and learn about.” And with the rapid transformation our industry has seen over the past two years, there was no shortage of great topics to discuss like direct sourcing; diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; and total talent, to name just a few.

Technology. One thing was apparent as you strolled the exhibit hall: A digital transformation swept across our industry that has helped to enable the innovation our programs are striving for. “The buzz of technology and the impact to the industry was remarkable,” says Frank Enriquez, senior manager, contingent workforce strategies and research. “Technology advancements are enabling buyer organizations to achieve their goals — getting the right talent on time and at the right price — in ways we have never seen before.” Whether buyers were looking for the latest VMS advancements or to create ways to integrate data/systems, there was something for everyone, and it was very clear that those technology companies have been advancing their functionality and value proposition.

Omni-channel mindset. One topic that was hard to avoid was direct sourcing. This sourcing strategy took a commanding presence at the CWS Summit. Workforce Solutions Research Director Matt Norton explains why this might be: “Given the widening talent demand-supply gap, organizations need to take a holistic, multi-channel approach to secure in-demand skill sets by whatever means: borrowing, buying or building talent,” he says. “The growing functionality of direct-sourcing platforms and extended workforce platforms and proliferation of new technologies showcased at CWS Summit and Collaboration in the Gig Economy events help to foster better connections between organizations and the talent and elevate the workforce solutions industry.”

Talent calls the shots. With demand for talent driving most conversations, organizations are looking to think differently about how they source and engage talent. This doesn’t just include more formal processes around known talent; it also challenges how companies accept alternative working engagements like freelancers. With the talent changing the ways they want to engage, it is important to recognize that to get the best talent, you need to be prepared to think differently than you have in the past on “taskifying” work or on concepts like remote work, flexible hours/days and independent contractors.

If you attended the CWS Summit, we hope you had an incredible time in Dallas. I have heard from several attendees that they returned to their roles with a renewed energy and drive to influence positive change in their organizations. For those who weren’t able to attend the event, be sure to plan to be there next year as we return to Dallas to do it again.

For more information on how to connect to one of our analysts or how to join the CWS Council and get access to our data, research, tools, templates, advisors and peer network, reach out to Andrea Berkshire, VP, business development, CW strategies.