Taking a contingent workforce program global can bring a lot of positives, but there are challenges to overcome — including cultural differences, business practices and VMS/MSP capability.

We asked Mark Hedley, VP, global RPO strategy, planning and governance at Deutsche Bank: “What are the benefits of taking a contingent workforce program global?”

Based in Singapore, Deutsche Bank’s operations are global and managers can oversee teams virtually across multiple geographies, Hedley said. And the company tries to align processes and systems to make them as similar as possible. This allows for the same definitions of components so managers and those managing the MSP program are speaking the same language. Keeping things consistent also makes it easier for hiring managers because they don’t need to learn different ways of doing things in different locations.

And when it comes to reporting, keeping processes aligned also helps when getting a global or regional view of the population.

However, global differences can make keeping things aligned difficult, and inevitably differences creep in.

“We’re OK with changes or differences if it’s driven by regulation, such as co-employment or financial regulations — we’re fine to have localized differences based on that,” Hedley said. “The first question we ask is: ‘is this regulatory driven?’ If not, then you need to provide a strong justification as to why you’re doing this differently.”

Global differences in attitude also have an effect. The European, US and Australian contingent workforce markets are very mature with clearly defined populations of people who prefer to be engaged as contractors. However, in many locations in Asia-Pacific, people are more looking for full-time, permanent roles and view contingent assignments as interim steps to build experience and gain credibility with potential employers.

There can also be challenges with supplier capability. Particularly on the MSP side, Hedley said, there does not appear a unified solution that works well across all varied geographies — although much progress has been made over the past three years in that regard.

Of particular concern is when a decision is made on an MSP or VMS in the headquarters’ country without a lot of consideration about how to roll it out globally in the future. Even things like pricing models can be a difficulty in this regard. For example, the pricing model for a VMS or MSP for a mature market might be based on percentage of spend. However, it may not be commercially viable for the provider when it comes to smaller countries without a lot of spend going through the system. Those operations might benefit more from an enterprise software license-type model where payment is made on a user basis, or an hybrid pricing model which takes into account the different volumes, spend and maturity of the different markets.