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Learn from best-in-class contingent workforce management

For the second instalment in our series of blogs on the state of contingent workforce management, we are taking a deep dive into the best-in-class contingent workforce management programmes - with the aim of learning from the approaches and strategies employed by the very best in the field and at the same time giving you credible benchmarking data in which to make comparisons to your own programme.

If you haven’t read the first blog in our series, 'The evolution of work', you can find it here, where we investigate the impact digital technology and innovation are having on the world of work and talent acquisition.

Best-in-class benchmarking data

The content and benchmarking data referenced in this blog is focused on a just a small selection of the findings from Guidant Global’s sponsored 'The State of Contingent Workforce Management 2018-2019: The Pursuit of an Agile Workforce' report by Ardent Partners. This annual, comprehensive, industry-wide view into what is happening in the world of today's contingent workforce is based on the responses of 270 procurement, human resources, talent acquisition, and other business leaders.

Focus on people, not just cost metrics

Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

The contingent workforce management (CWM) world has undergone a subtle, but consistent change over recent years; evolving from cost-cutting, cost-management origins into a strategic business imperative, offering true-value (not solely cost savings) to the business from the impact of quality non-employee talent.

With transformation the focus of entire industries, let alone individual businesses the focus on business agility that facilitates transformation and the people that enable it has meant that CWM programs will only continue to increase in both strategic and operational importance.

This unsurprisingly, is having a direct impact on CWM managers; the pressure is building to find the right people to drive high-quality business critical outcomes; all whilst driving higher levels of visibility and at the same time maintaining financial performance.

It’s clear the focus is now on the quality and fit of non-employee talent, not just on cost metrics.

Contingent workforce management benchmarking data


The benchmarking data listed above represents the current overall performance of global CWM programs.

So what is this data telling us about the world of contingent workforce management?

  • That visibility remains a challenge…

    …with businesses on average having insight into just over half of its contingent workforce. Things are slowly moving in the right direction (with a 12% increase over 2017’s research findings) but challenges in this area such as the huge increase in the volume of non-employee talent to the lack of centrally managed programmes are still clearly causing businesses visibility related pains.
  • Compliance rates are not perfect but are improving

    With the ever-growing threat of coemployment or federal audits and legislation such as IR35, businesses are clearly paying more attention to ensuring that their employer-talent relationships meet the relevant compliance regulations. Whilst far from perfect, compliance rates have consistently increased year-on-year.
  • Is the issue the source of, or qualifying and managing continent workers?

    With businesses only wanting to re-engage with 41% of all non-employee talent, something clearly isn’t right. What this data doesn’t tell is the cause of this finding - is this due to businesses not doing a good enough job of tapping to the right talent sources, or is the issue down to how talent is qualified and managed? 
  • Year-on-year cost savings fall by ~30%

    Although no longer the key metric, costing savings are still important to procurement executives, which means it is slightly worrying that the average business lost nearly 30% of its CWM cost savings in a year, when compared to Ardent's 2017's research findings.

    How can this change be accounted for? Possibly procurement has exhausted traditional supplier management/optimisation strategies; possibly SOW services are having a greater impact on this metric; or is it that businesses are simply having to pay more for higher quality non-employee talent, as the competition for top talent grows?

Best-in-class CWM performance vs all others

The table below compares the best-in-class CWM programme performance vs all others in the research.


With the top 20% of performers considered in the Best-in-Class group, there are some clear learnings we can gleam from this comparison with the remaining 80% of businesses:

  • Nearly two-times higher visibility into contingent workforce

    In the current transformative business climate, visibility and accurate data is paramount – how can business develop effective responses to challenges without the best intelligence? It’s clear that best-in-class businesses are investing in and deriving the value from understanding the current impact of their talent. 
  • Over twice the quality rate of non-employee talent

    As we started this blog, the quality of people is now the critical factor in the world of work. It’s clear this has translated into the strategies used by the best performing CWM programmes to align candidates and independent professionals with critical business projects and initiatives. With the ‘re-engagement of non-employee talent’ metric of 83%, best-in-class businesses are lightyears ahead of the average businesses, which stands at 39%. 
  • Total compliance rates 23% higher

    At an 87% compliance rate, the best-in-class are finding the right balance of maintaining high compliance rates with that of obtaining high quality talent.


We can see from these comparisons that best-in-class businesses are distinguishing themselves from the pack by, understanding and embracing the transformative world of work we now find ourselves in; employing both traditional and next-generation CWM approaches and finally, leveraging innovative contingent workforce solutions to drive quality, agility and true business value.

Want to learn more from best-in-class CWM programmes?

This blog has explored only a small amount of the several distinctions which have allowed best-in-class business to build and develop highly-successful contingent workforce programs.

If you want to explore further areas of contingent workforce management that make up a truly best-in-class programme, simply download our The State of Contingent Workforce Management 2018-2019: The Pursuit of an Agile Workforce report, produced in collaboration with Ardent Partners research and analysts.

In the report you’ll gain further learnings from best-in-class businesses, covering areas such as:

  • The Best-in-Class Technology Advantage
  • The Next Era of Managed Service Provider Value
  • The Visibility Quotient
  • The Path to Total Workforce Management
  • The Best-in-Class Innovation Angle

Get access to the full report by completing the form below.

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