It’s a new year — traditionally a time to put out the old and usher in the new. This same philosophy should apply to our contingent workforce programs as well. So, before 2024 takes off running, now is a great time to clean out a few old practices and implement some New Year’s resolutions.

A few weeks ago, the SIA Council team hosted a webinar during which we explored the trends from 2023 likely to continue into 2024. You can build your resolutions list by starting with some of these topics.

Contract terms. This one is critical. How old are your contracts? It’s time to dust them off. Are the terms reasonable, or are they holding you back from getting suppliers willing to support your program? Do they contain outdated rate card information? Do they include data security clauses to protect you, your program and your workers? Are the background check terms in line with current legislation? Put this one your list for this year and don’t wait for 2025.

Direct sourcing. Talking is old, acting is new. Many program sponsors have thought about direct sourcing, while the leaders in contingent workforce are implementing it. Opening up your contingent roles to your own talent pool of candidates who are already known to your organization is critical. These candidates have either worked for you in the past (and therefore know your culture and processes), or they have expressed interest in working for you (so they will be more willing to consider your jobs over other opportunities).

Diversity. Your practices, processes and philosophy around DE&I are as important today as they were in 2020. It seems diversity has been pushed back a bit as other priorities came up, but as a group and industry, we cannot let this one slip. Set your goals, make it a resolution and move forward in 2024 with diversity initiatives as your No. 1 priority.

Economic uncertainty. The recession that never was is not expected to occur in 2024 either. With this uncertainty in mind, your contingent program needs to stay flexible and adaptable to the waves of change, and being prepared for a quick ramp-up requires easy workflows. Take a quick pulse to see if your program makes it easy to hire contingent workers or if the processes in place are making it more difficult. Adjust accordingly.

Freelancers and gig workers. This trend continues to prove that ignoring these valuable resources is putting your program at risk. SIA research shows that nearly 50% of today’s available workforce is independent: people who work for themselves. Employees will still be in the driver’s seat into the foreseeable future, so add options in your program that will accommodate all types of workers. This will no doubt expand your pool of candidates and help you fill jobs, so it’s a win-win.

Going to market and RFPs. If you haven’t gone to market in the last five years, analysts say your program is old. Even if you don’t make a change, knowing what is available to you in the marketplace is prudent. Technology enhancements are changing at a rapid pace, and if your program isn’t keeping up, you aren’t getting the benefits of innovation. Make 2024 the year you reevaluate or re-bid at least one area of your program (MSP, VMS, RPO, direct sourcing, etc.) to ensure it’s operating at its greatest potential.

Remote work. With the Covid crisis nearly over, companies are looking at remote work — something most employees still desire even though lockdowns have ended. In our “new normal,” develop a plan to have the best of both worlds with a hybrid approach. SIA research shows that, on average, companies are moving to a three-day in-office work week.

Statement-of-work management. This concept didn’t gain much traction in 2023; however, it continues to be a goal for most organizations. Rogue spend, scope creep, supplier selection without competitive bidding, headcount difficulties and missed onboarding compliance are risks that come with letting SOW projects “do their own thing.” In 2024, include SOW on your resolutions as your bamboo strategy. It may take five years for it to be a fully grown and mature program, but you need to plant the seeds now before you end up with a bunch of SOW weeds in your contingent workforce garden.

Technology. Utilizing only a VMS in your program is a thing of the past. There are many great tools to help with nearly every facet of your program, including preventing résumé scams, expediting background checks, assessing skills, conducting interviews, planning engagement communication and even programmatic advertising of your jobs. Make your program high tech this year while making better, quicker and easier hiring decisions with candidates that are less likely to leave because they have been properly matched. Add one or more tech improvements this year and see how your program improves with it.

Total talent management. The term continues to be relevant. There are many sourcing channels in talent acquisition, but there doesn’t need to be separate programs for each one. Adding in just one new channel in 2024 — such as contingent-plus either direct hire/RPO, SOW, ICs, direct sourcing, gig workers or any other non-FTE worker — will help centralize and standardize your hiring processes. Building a fully incorporated program is a resolution that can’t be overlooked.

As with all resolutions, write down what you want to achieve in 2024. Be reasonable and set goals, even small ones. Build a calendar and timeline to keep yourself on track. Some goals will take longer than others and may be more complex, but you can focus on at least one resolution per quarter, and by year end, you will have accomplished at least four new program enhancements to keep your program moving in the right direction. And don’t forget to toss anything that no longer serves your program along the way.