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Perspectives

Technology for the gig economy

Conquering the complexity of contingent workforce

As more companies built out their strategic workforce with contingent talent in this gig economy, the procurement of external services and contract-based engagements is becoming a significant activity representing a large proportion of organization’s spending. So how can industries, companies, people, entrepreneurs, start-ups, build an integrated services procurement solution for reducing costs, decreasing cycle times, boosting efficiency and productivity?

A panel of Deloitte speakers explore leading practices for spend transformation, potential bottom-line business benefits, and discuss how to manage risk and apply automation to build out a contingent workforce.

Virtual work, focus on contingent labor and the search for solutions

Almost overnight in 2020, virtual-first work, a concept that had yet to be wholly embraced by business, became the new normal. People are demanding “a different workplace with a different work experience,” says Frans Dagelet, Partner, Deloitte Consulting NL. That desire is driving workers to be hired for specialist work, allowing them to narrow down the focus of their career development paths. 

The contingent work life is especially true for Generation Z, offers Siby Skaria, Specialist Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “They want to follow their passion. They don't want to be boxed into the definition of a  job or the employee concept.” Add with the stay/work-at-home orders of COVID-19, the need for software to manage a gig economy workforce has surged to new heights. 

As contingent workers become a larger, more integral part of the workforce puzzle, managing that talent has moved beyond merely managing data. Says Victor Panov, Senior Consultant, Deloitte  Consulting LLP, “getting the right talent, at the right time, at the right cost is extremely important. Companies of all sizes and all kinds across the value chain are putting more focus on these areas.”

Automating talent search

Finding the right people for the right work takes time, and in a global economy where change and pace are constants, time is a luxury many organizations cannot afford. The solution: a certain degree of automation in talent searches that ultimately provides the speed and agility a company needs to build out their agile workforce and compete in a global economy. “A business in the U.S. could need talent in Australia working on a particular project within 24 hours,” says Mr. Dagelet. “Automated pre-scans a talent pools for skills, legal ability to work, labor agreements — that’s how the Kinetic Enterprise quickly brings the contingent workforce into strategic workforce.”

Automation is also essential as the global competition for talent continues to heat up, and with that - new pools that contain them regularly emerge. “You need automated technology, automated processes that allow you to put particular work or a project out there, and tap into a global talent pool,” says Mr. Skaria.

For Mr. Panov, the merits of automation were apparent during COVID-19, especially for companies that failed to implement it prior. Furloughed and laid off employees, impacted revenues, no physical office locations — it all exposed how technology is absolutely essential to a workforce. “Automation enables recruiters, HR personnel — people who are involved in that process — to not only build up data and gather the right person at the right time, but also build relationships because that's what's going to propel the entire industry forward.”

Risk mitigation and humanity

As the contingent workforce grows, so does the risk to the business. The question becomes: How does a company balance factors like due diligence, credentials and education, with onboarding, culture, regulations, and pressing business needs? “You must have a system,” says Siby Skaria, “that can check all these things in smart, efficient way, so you can get results quickly. That all becomes part of the technology landscape you build.”

The number of companies acquiring talent through direct sourcing channels is increasing, and those that do so well have a firm grasp on these four key elements:

  1. Strategic enablement — ensuring the proper work hub/activity/channel to engage with the company.
  2. Risk management — protecting and preserving what makes the company most competitive while bringing in new people temporarily.
  3. Overarching benefits — cost reductions, efficiencies, and time to value.
  4. User adoption — ensuring it is high enough to allow focus on other strategic, growth-oriented tasks.

But no matter where companies sources talent from, they must remember they are dealing with people who are building institutional knowledge they may actually want to invite back, says Victor Panov. “That is an essential, yet underestimated part of this contingent workforce, because people think it's a solely a production factor.” All the more reason to ensure the system a company uses to manage their contingent workforce serves both business AND the people. 

Want more transformation insights from enterprise leaders? Visit deloitte.com/SAP to download future podcast episodes or listen to previous ones.

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