Contingent Workforce Management: What It Is, Why It's Important, and How to Implement Solutions

November 20, 2019
min to read
The Invisible Team
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When it comes to business operations, it can feel like you’re always a man (or four) down. There seems to be an endless to-do list, with too little time - or too little help. Many companies today, across all industries, seem to be stretched thin. With increasing pressure to turn a profit and perform, while also reducing costs and staying agile, more and more companies are looking to alternative methods of getting important tasks done.

That’s where business process outsourcing and a contingent workforce come in.


What is an on demand contingent workforce?

contingent workforce
On demand teams help you execute your business processes without the need for new hires or on-site employees.

You can think of a contingent workforce as your secret weapon. A second line of defense, or your bench that’s eager to be put in the game. Contingent, on demand workers allow you to access (and pay) for skilled digital work only when you need them, and build out a project-based team quickly and easily to work alongside your regular employees. 

The approach is becoming more widely accepted - and needed. With the so-called “gig economy,” consultants and freelancers are being used much more frequently. But an on demand, contingent workforce take the concept of outsourcing work a step further. 

Contingent workers are groups of for-hire virtual assistants who are prescribed very specific sets of actions, and the methods your company uses to execute them. When you can save time and money on staffing solutions to ensure your workflows are completed, even when you have gaps in your staffing capacity, then your business, and your knowledge workers win.


What is business process outsourcing?

You may not even realize it, but your knowledge workers such as marketing and sales staff, HR, and operations team members may be spending up to 41% of their time on repetitive digital tasks. That amounts to an enormous amount of time, energy, and payroll that could be better used for actual growth activities. 

Business process outsourcing is the method by which you can take back this time, by using outsourced workers who can take over these repetitive digital tasks at minimal cost, freeing up your staff to do what they do best.

Contingent workers  are like business process outsourcing super sized. When you simply need more manpower but are unsure of ramp up time, onboarding costs, salaries and associated expenses, or even being able to find the right people for the right tasks, on demand teams can help you avoid all of these issues.

With third party companies such as Invisible Technologies providing operations-as-a-service, you don’t need to go through the process of vetting and hiring contract workers and freelancers, and you don’t need to sift through bids on ad-hoc project hiring sites.


What does a contingent workforce allow you to do?

There are a number of benefits of using a contingent workforce:

1. Focus on deliverables in real-time

When a project lands on your desk, or an opportunity presents itself for a timely marketing campaign for example, you don’t always have the time to spare to put together a team for delivering on time. On demand teams let you worry less about scraping together resources, and more about getting things done when they need to get done.

In large organizations, projects are typically planned out months in advance. It leaves a company potentially vulnerable if things change, budgets are reallocated, or any other number of factors occur that can derail plans. With on demand teams, you don’t need to worry about so much preparation in terms of people resources, because you can quickly adjust as needed in real time.

contingent workers
Business trends fluctuate, but contingent workers can help you to stay agile and evolve with the times.

2. Evolve and adapt business quickly

With the way that the market changes and how business can fluctuate, often the companies we see today will be in some other iteration within the next couple of years. Being able to adapt to changes in the workforce, consumer demand, technology trends, and more, is now more than ever a crucial aspect of staying alive in competitive landscapes. Plus, with Invisible Technologies, you can access recruiting as a service.

Contingent workers can help you be able to more efficiently adapt your business quickly. With a team of varied backgrounds, expertise, and competencies, you can dip into a deeper arsenal when the changes need to be made, rather than only relying on your internal employees to handle change as it comes. Evolving internal processes and goals can sometimes take time, and may need to include entire change management facilitation. On demand teams can prevent this.

3. Leverage a dynamic network of workers

Which brings me to my next point. That deeper arsenal of competencies is one of the greatest assets of a contingent workforce. While internally you may hire some generalists who wear many hats, these on demand teams give you access to those who may have very particular skill sets, or primarily focus on one type of activity. 

If you were to hire for specific areas of expertise for your full time staff, you’d likely wind up with a huge amount of employees working part time. Neither efficient nor cost effective. While your employees can focus on knowledge work, on demand teams can help fill in specific gaps.

4. Take low-risk decisions for organizational growth

Hiring is risky. Especially for growing businesses. What if you get a hire wrong? You spend time and money and energy into onboarding a new hire, only to have it not go the way you planned. Or perhaps you are unsure of your future revenue forecast, but really need to hire to ramp up. But say you do hire, and the revenue just doesn’t come in. 

Business is risky in all kinds of ways, but hiring and scaling staff is a big one. With contingent workers, you can mitigate these risks by limiting the number of full time hires you bring in while you navigate in between growth periods.

Or, by utilizing you prescribed processes, you can have on demand teams only as you need them, meaning you reduce upstart time and can trust your on demand team will handle your workflow.

5. Skip out on extra management tasks

With hiring staff and other miscellaneous operations tasks, you may find yourself spending a lot of time just simply managing and delegating to your staff. But there are likely a number of things that people like HR managers, Marketing and/or sales managers, or operations managers would rather be doing that utilizes their hard skills.

A contingent workforce can help managers actually skip out on some of the management tasks associated with hiring and onboarding staff, and associated repetitive digital tasks. With on demand teams, you set your expectations, process, and deliverables once, and then your outsourced workers take it from there. Especially with companies like Invisible Technologies, who then ensure the execution of these tasks, so that you can focus on other things.

6. Save money

And perhaps most enticing for many organizations, contingent workers can save you a tremendous amount of money. The costs associated with hiring and onboarding is one of the main reasons the US in general has been moving further in the direction of the “gig” economy. 

When you need all hands on deck for a project or would likely hire for multiple positions on a team, the process can be timely and expensive. On demand teams give you a ready made, vetted and vouched for group of skilled workers who can get started immediately. And since these workers do not require the typical salaries of local talent, or come with the full time employment costs such as benefits and employment taxes, you can save costs while still getting the work done. 

It can be an especially great solution for companies that need more manpower to grow the business, but don’t yet have the resources to hire extensively. On demand teams can be an intermediary step.

On demand teams
On demand teams allow you to access a wide talent force to supplement your knowledge workers at a fraction of the cost.

How to approach hybrid teams

Naturally, contingent workers won’t be working entirely alone. Most often, they work together with your full time staff in a way that can be considered “hybrid.” Using contingent workforce management for supplementing parts of your organization, is again a great way to give your team support in their administrative or repetitive digital tasks, freeing them up to work on more technical or skill driven assignments.

Getting started in implementing hybrid teams can of course pose some challenges in the beginning if you aren’t used to using an array of employment solutions or contract workers. But with the right approach, you can create the formula that works best for your organization so that you can repeat success again and again.

Set clear guidelines and expectations

Your on demand team shouldn’t (and likely won’t) guess what it is you need and want from them. Setting a target for tasks ensures that these remote workers can know precisely what it is they need to deliver on. Because of this, your internal team won’t need to worry about what they’ll be receiving from the on demand team, or that they won’t be able to complete their own deliverables.

Define your process

Before you get started with your first on demand team, or outsourcing your business operations in general, you need to define your process for how work should be delivered. What formats and methodology you need your team to use should be specified, so that projects stay cohesive. One of the main fears regarding outsourcing is that the caliber of work or the process aren’t executed in a way that matches your internal team’s. But clearly defining your step by step process in an easy to understand and repeatable way means that no matter when you access an on demand team, it will always live up to expectations.

Have open communication

Any successful organization should have open channels of communication and an emphasis on transparency and accountability. With hybrid teams, you need to ensure that whenever something isn’t working, changes need to be made, or project details have been altered, this can be communicated quickly and clearly.

It also should work both ways. Ensuring that questions can be asked, details be clarified, and expectations can be managed will make the whole process go smoothly.

Take feedback from both sides

Similarly, there should be an opportunity to assess what works and what doesn’t within your hybrid team. In order to prevent miscommunication or future hiccups in the process, make sure your on demand team has a way to feedback if they need more information or support. Your internal team should feedback regarding the quality of work, but also reinforce if there are beneficial time savings and a streamlined workflow.

hybrid teams
Communication is an important part of the success of hybrid teams.

What can you use a contingent workforce for?

So now that you know all about on demand teams for business process outsourcing, what can you use them for? Through Invisible Technologies, there are a few areas that our vetted workers are especially adept at helping with.

1. On demand lead generation for sales

When prospecting for marketing and sales, it can feel like these tasks are entirely their own jobs. Why do you need lead generation? It ensures your customer base is growing, and therefore your revenue. But sales prospecting can leave little opportunity for salespeople to do what they do best: actually making the pitch and procuring the customer. 

On demand teams can remove these repetitive tasks. B2B lead generation outsourcing in particular allow on demand teams to take over these activities from your internal employee’s to-do lists.

With on demand team lead generation outsourcing, you can delegate tasks to outsourced workers such as curating both public and private data sources to deliver organized prospect lists with qualified leads. Set parameters for the kinds of leads you want, document your process, and our vetted workers execute behind the scenes to nurture the leads found, and secure meetings for your sales team. 

2. On demand recruiting

As mentioned previously, recruitment can often be a burden for organizations, and that’s why on demand teams may be so crucial. But on demand teams can even help you with recruitment if you are expanding your staff. Think of it as subscription recruiting. On demand recruiting teams can take over tasks like filling your talent pipeline and schedule candidate interviews on your behalf. 

When you set stipulations for the types of candidates you are looking for, and for which jobs, we can create and manage candidate lists that match your needs. On demand recruiting teams can even reach out to candidates, schedule interviews, and ensure your talent pipeline stays full. 

On demand recruiting
On demand recruiting helps you find the right candidates without any extra strain on your organization.

3. On demand operations

If you’re in management positions, or work with company operations, you likely often get bogged down with recurring tasks that are necessary, but time consuming. On demand teams can allow you to outsource many of these operations processes including everything from uploading files and booking reservations, to onboarding and transcription services. With Invisible Technologies, a digital assembly line for on demand teams uses just the right combination of people and technology to get the job done. 

An intuitive client dashboard lets you know what tasks have been assigned and how many hours they will take to complete. Your deliverables are always completed with your unique brand and company specifications. 

4. On demand leads for insurance agents

The insurance industry in particular is one where many tasks are repetitive and can be duplicated easily. With extra manpower, on demand teams can take over common insurance operations processes which benefit insurance companies in particular by reducing costs and expediting application processing. Just define how to target business leads for insurance agents to your on demand team, and they handle the rest. 

Case in point, Invisible Technologies recently helped an insurance provider tackle a backlog of over 4,000 applications in the span of just a few months, all at a fraction of the cost of using in-house employees to complete the same assignments. The provider was elated and eventually expanded our work into transcriptions and a number of other mission-critical services. 

The company CEO was so impressed with Invisible Technologies security protocols that he asked how to implement them in his own network.

When you need to grow your organization, but don’t always have the time or resources, or know exactly what you need on a project by project basis, on demand teams may be an excellent solution. 

With Invisible Technologies, you can automate your business processes and techniques by outsourcing repetitive menial tasks with simple set up, and fast, professional execution.

Hayley Darden Marketing Invisible Technologies
The Invisible Team
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