Many companies self-source a portion of their contingent workforce. An employee or manager may recommend the neighbor kid to work on a contract basis or the company may bring back retirees with legacy skills or tap independent contractors with specialized skills for a specific project. But what doesn’t get much attention is redeployment of agency workers — those workers assigned by staffing firms who have been on projects at your company for six months to a year and proven their worth? Why get those workers right where you want them in terms of experience level, only to let them take that knowledge to another company?
There is a tremendous opportunity in finding ways to redeploy agency workers inside your company from project to project and department to department. Staffing firms would be comfortable with the arrangement as long as they get their margin on the hours worked by the contractor. One reason why this isn’t a widespread practice is companies’ fear of co-employment and tenure limits, despite the fact that time after time, attorneys have explained that tenure alone does not warrant a co-employment situation. Another reason redeployment hasn’t been a core strategy to retain and grow talent with contingent labor is the lack of a technology solution to manage the process and easily move candidates from one project or department to another.
But times are changing, and technology solutions are popping up to enable you or your MSP to curate talent pools, to provide feedback on projects that a given person worked and whether hiring managers “liked” their work. Alternatively, solutions are also being created to support worker feedback on projects they’ve worked on as well as the types of projects they want in the future — enabling a more fluid approach at managing talent once you get them in your door. VMS and MSP companies are looking at ways to incorporate this kind of strategy into their client programs. With an impending war on talent, keeping the talent engaged will be more important than ever and the lack of a good technology solution supporting contingent redeployment will be less of an obstacle going forward.
But the most onerous obstacle will remain the misperceptions of co-employment. With the changing ways of the gig economy, current legislation — and how it is interpreted regarding freelance workers and independent contractors in general — will need to evolve to keep up. As long as we favor traditional employment, as we have for generations, we will miss the opportunity to be strategic in how we manage talent and continue to struggle with keeping workers engaged through strategic redeployment strategies.