10 Tips For Mastering An On-Demand Labor Model
The on-demand train is here. Nearly 9 in 10 companies are deploying an on-demand labor model in some form or fashion, according to our recently published 2016 Corporate On-Demand Talent Report. By now, most businesses know that building an agile and nimble workforce is critical to remaining competitive in today’s hyper-responsive world.
That means thousands of companies are hiring workers who don’t fit the traditional model of employees who clock in every morning and leave at the end of the day. The good news is, these independent contractors bring high-demand skills and tremendous value, by allowing enterprises to scale their workforce quickly, better service customers, improve work quality and manage labor costs.
But in order to enjoy big wins from your labor model, you have to develop a solid strategy to take your plan from start to success. Here are 10 tips for building, managing and optimizing your on-demand workforce:
1. Keep your goals front and center.
On-demand operating models can offer dramatic improvements in productivity, but before you can move the needle you need to know what you are optimizing for. What are your strategic objectives for the business? What is the role of your on-demand workers and how will they contribute to the organization’s core mission? Are they getting the feedback they need to meet the company’s most important goals? Identifying your goals from the outset will help you retain focus and prioritize your resources accordingly.
2. Make sure your strategy includes empowered ownership.
It’s essential to make sure everyone at the company, from the senior-level to those dealing with the day-to-day, are aligned with your on-demand workforce processes and empowered to take ownership of their part. For example, an involved sponsor from the executive suite is an important part of any big enterprise project’s success. On the other hand, you need to make sure your employees and on-demand workers are equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed.
3. Remember, every company is unique.
Your on-demand strategy should reflect the needs of your organization — your metrics, your variables, your operating models. For example, perhaps your industry requires a focus on service revenue by territory, or maybe your organization needs to hone in on customer service or product revenue. Luckily, today’s workforce management platforms provide the freedom and flexibility to embrace the aspects of on-demand that work for you.
4. Be patient — on-demand efforts take time to bear fruit.
When you plant a tree, in the beginning it is small and grows slowly. But over time, with the right attention, it will grow into a beautiful, mature, leafy creation. That’s how it is when you invest in an on-demand workforce. Our experience with hundreds of customers clearly shows that as operating experience deepens and talent pools mature, the potential of greater cost savings and productivity goes up. For example, as a company invests in the entire on-demand process and its workforce, the more they get out of it. Over time, the data that is gathered and insights that are realized can be baked back into your model so you can drive even greater efficiencies and value.
5. Make good communication and building relationships a priority.
Today’s independent workers are not necessarily silent, steadfast guns-for-hire. Instead, freelancers of all stripes are often part of well-established communities where they help each other out, refer clients and even report back to one another about the good, bad and ugly regarding various employers. That means building good hiring practices and developing solid, loyal relationships with your on-demand workers in order to boost your strategy’s chance for success.
6. Consider a consistent, ongoing use of on-demand professionals.
Many companies assume that independent workers are typically used sporadically and for small, tactical projects. WorkMarket’s 2016 Corporate On-Demand Report, however, found otherwise. In fact, 59% of the businesses we surveyed use on-demand talent for more than 6 months at a time, while almost 42% use the same talent more than half the time. These statistics suggest that on-demand professionals are increasingly becoming a strategic and integral part of a modern workforce, used to fuel innovation and improve the bottom line.
7. Be sure to clearly define your scope of work.
When dealing with on-demand workers, you need to make your expectations crystal-clear — even if the engagement is a short one. Make sure to define what skills and tools are required for the assignment. Let them know what deliverables equal a successfully-completed job. By ensuring everyone is on the same page and all internal and external labor requirements are dealt with, you will avoid problems and challenges down the line.
8. Measure, measure and measure some more.
Gathering and analyzing the right data can mean the difference between an on-demand workforce strategy that succeeds and one that fails. Unfortunately, more than half of businesses (56%) are not using analytics and data to make informed decisions about their on-demand workforce. However, as workforce management systems continue to gain traction and data analytics capabilities become more accessible, we expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of companies using data to uncover important insights about their workforce, their operations and their business.
9. Ask the experts.
Transitioning to an on-demand workforce successfully can be boosted by learning about tried-and-true best practices. You can rely on trusted industry experts who can walk you through the process and prepare your team. They’ll help fine-tune your strategy and shore up vulnerabilities in your process and overall approach, as well as assist with implementing the technology solution that can seamlessly enable a quick, easy and affordable transition.
10. Keep compliance top-of-mind.
Worker classification has become a big deal as the number of on-demand workers has increased. So, if you want your on-demand workforce strategy to stay away from bumps in the road, you’ll need to make sure you are properly distinguishing and classifying your W-2 employees from your 1099 contractors. There are other issues you’ll have to deal with to ensure compliance with state and federal labor guidelines, as well: Do you have proper reporting in place? Will you be able to access up-to-date audit trails should you need them? Today’s workforce management platforms allow you to easily implement compliance controls into your vetting, recruitment and management processes, so you can greatly mitigate your risks.
WorkMarket is helping some of today’s biggest brands embrace an on-demand labor model that’s right for them. Feel free to download our latest research report to learn more about workforce trends driving the on-demand economy or contact me directly if you’d like to learn more about how we can help.