2019 was a year of talent pools, chatbots, AI and a host of other developments. At the start of the year, SIA made some predictions around contingent workforce management trends, some of which rang true as the year progressed. Here are a few trends observed by CWS Council leaders in 2019 — some are new themes and some a variations of the old — that have taken CW programs to new realms.

Talent pools. Talent pools were a hot topic this year, with vendor management systems beginning to expand into the concept with some light functionality, creating localized support within a system to identify individuals that are part of a company’s known talent ecosystem. In addition to what a VMS might supply, some pure-play talent pool applications came on the scene in 2019 that have a “more CRM feel” to them and bring a “more robust” strategy around direct sourcing, says Chris Paden, SIA’s director of CW strategies and research, Americas.

Open API integrations. VMS technology companies made a big push this year to bolster their ability to share data with open API integrations, resulting in some open integrations that can easily accept data outside of the tool or within the application.

Automation and AI: Functionality made the contingent workforce management process more streamlined and efficient, and reduced some of the lower-level and repetitive tasks to allow for more time to be devoted to value-add services. Chatbots also became more commonplace.

Independent contractor status. The “ABC” factor test is here to stay. California in September passed Assembly Bill 5, or AB 5, which puts in place the stricter “ABC” test for determining independent contractor compliance in the Golden State. The legislation codified a state Supreme Court decision to use the more-strict test for determining independent contractor status in which the worker is free of control and direction of the hiring entity, engages in unique work beyond the engaging business’ activity and is an established, independent business.

“It’s also going to bring more restriction in dealing with ICs in some states and certain parts of the marketplace,” says Stephen Clancy, SIA’s senior director, CW strategies, knowledge and research. New York, Michigan and Massachusetts are also looking closely at IC classification.

Background checks. “There have been incredible changes into the background check situation,” says Dawn McCartney, VP of the CW Strategies Council. Pay attention to what can and cannot be considered and be aware of any changes that have taken place, she advises. For example, “Gone are the days when you can hold a felony against someone if that particular opportunity does not hold a possibly for the candidate to reenact that felony.”

Direct sourcing. One of the most talked-about subjects this year, direct sourcing was “a huge thing in 2019,” says Peter Reagan, senior director of CW strategies and research. There are various types of direct sourcing and 2019 saw programs looking to alumni, silver medalists, interns and more.

Look for five more trends affecting CW programs in the next issue of CWS 3.0.

To learn more about these trends or to speak with one of our CWS Council Analysts, click here.