Within the general centralized management of the contingent workforce, a program’s capabilities and performance ability evolve, building in complexity. We often refer to the resulting iterations in a generational manner, from the less complex Gen 1 to the more sophisticated Gen 3. As programs add services and abilities, they move up from one generation to another.

As the war for talent continues to increase, programs need to try to find competitive advantages wherever possible.

For example, if you’re Gen 1 and don’t have a strategy for diversity, equity and inclusion, you’re at risk of losing quality candidates to programs that do. Today’s talent, especially those of younger generations, are more selective about whom they work for, and they often cite an organization’s commitment to DE&I as a concern.

Likewise, the speed of talent acquisition can cost your organization prime candidates. While a Gen 1 program is sifting through candidates manually, a Gen 3 program uses bots and matching artificial intelligence to move forward in its engagement process much more quickly.

Knowing where your program stands with regard to its generation level will help you understand how you compare to other buyer organizations. This knowledge will enable you to strategize your program’s development and build business cases for change.

This article provides insight into each program generation.

Generation 1. This CW program iteration typically has the following structures and timings of various elements of program technology and operations. Generally speaking, Gen 1 programs are centralized. Gen 1 will meet the following criteria:

  • Its first implementation of program operations with either an internally managed program office (IMP) or MSP (a third-party managed program office).
  • Its first implementation of a technology. Most Gen 1 programs implement a vendor management system (VMS).

In today’s current marketplace, 82% of buyers with 1,000 or more internal employees have a VMS, nearly all of whom have some type of formal operational support either via an IMP, MSP or hybrid of the two.

Generation 2. We often refer to programs as being Gen 2 when they have completed the implementation of both the technology and the operational team and decide to enhance or change some of the program operations. Gen 2 programs often include the following:

  • Second implementation of program operations to enhance the delivery strategy for the program. These changes can often be robust in nature to include process improvements. These improvements can be focused on an array of strategies but might include overall time to fill or enhanced interview scheduling, to name a few.
  • Second implementation of program technology, including a VMS, will be made to help improve the user experience. The user experience and the overall ease of use can help drive improved adoption and customer satisfaction.
  • Oversight of statement of work, commonly referred to as resource tracking or worker profile tracking.
  • Successful direct-sourcing strategies that generate at least 30% fulfillment of all staff augmentation positions.
  • Advanced analytics that include full visibility into all worker categories, including FTE data.
  • Strong supplier rationalization and optimization strategies to help drive the appropriate amount of competitiveness.
  • A semblance of a DE&I candidate and worker strategy.

Moving from Gen 1 to Gen 2 requires a serious review of the current state of the program and determining if there is real value in making a change based on the expected outcomes from the proposed changes and enhancements.

Generation 3. This generation of program is uncommon and perhaps even rare. Gen 3 is the next step in program evolution. It includes all of the Gen 1 and 2 attributes with the addition of the following:

  • Advanced direct-sourcing strategies to get fulfillment levels above 50%.
  • Use of bots and/or robotic process automation to help supplement highly repeatable and remedial tasks.
  • Robust non-employee DE&I strategy to align with the organizational strategy.
  • Robust sourcing automation with the use of bots and AI.
  • Implementation of advanced skills testing through the use of bots and AI.
  • Deep involvement and oversight of projects and services for statements of work that are included in the CW program. (Note: SOW projects that are out of scope could still involve headcount tracking for individuals who have building and/or VPN access.)

The table below is a snapshot of the various solutions and capabilities that might help define your program’s current generational level.

As the war for talent continues, programs need to differentiate themselves wherever possible. Examining generational roadmap strategies can go a long way in helping your CW program keep up with other buyer organizations as you continue to transform your position in the marketplace.

SIA’s CWS Council members have the opportunity to compare and contrast their CW programs’ generational category with those of other Council members.