Bartech and Guidant Group are delighted to announce our underwriting sponsorship for the Ardent Partners State of Contingent Workforce Management 2016-2017 research. This yearâ€™s report is â€śAdapting to a New World of Work,â€ť which will be the definitive 2016-2017 guide to contingent/non-employee workforce management, the Gig Economy, and the Future of Work.
The survey is now open and we would like to encourage your participation in this highly anticipated thought leadership article. Please note the last survey question which asks if you would be willing to participate in a 15-20 minute interview with the Ardent Partners Research Team. Your discussion may remain completely anonymous.
The first 100 participants to this survey will be invited to an exclusive “early research findings” webinar in mid-September. Additionally, all survey participants will receive a free copy of the report after its scheduled release in October 2016.
Thank you in advance for your contribution to the survey and we appreciate your continued partnership!
In a world ruled by acronyms and abbreviations, I have chosen to add one more to my life: CCWP. What does it mean? Search engine results offer this:
Country Club of Whispering Pines
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Center for Civil War Photography
Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner
Corvette Club of Western Pennsylvania
Customs Cooperation Working Party
Concealed Carry Weapons Permit
Clackamas County Community Wildfire Protection
While some of these spark a few curious ideas, none represents my current focus. The CCWP in my life is a goal Iâ€™ve set to become a Certified Contingent Workforce Professional (CCWP).
I recently spent an intensive two days refining, refreshing and increasing my knowledge of contingent workforce management as a candidate for Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) professional certification.
Why pursue professional certification?
The Contingent Workforce (CW) industry is one that seems to have grown more by a â€śseat of the pantsâ€ť progression than in a formal, disciplined manner. While that may have been true in its early days, the industry does, in fact, have standards, rules of engagement and best practices to drive contingent workforce program excellence. Bartechâ€™s goal in giving my colleagues and me the opportunity to pursue professional certification was to formalize our industry knowledge and build greater domain expertise in support of our clients. Our entire sales team is on deck to pursue certification. Our goal is to significantly strengthen our ability to provide strategic counsel to our clients and to design more effective programs that optimize their use of contingent labor.
What differentiates certified professionals?
The SIA standards for professional certification in contingent workforce management were developed by industry scholars, who infused the coursework with a tremendous amount of expertise in HR, procurement, Managed Service Provider (MSP) solutions, Â contingent staffing and Vendor Managed Service (VMS). Certification candidates received a detailed participant manual, in-person training, instructionalvideo modules and a 1000-page reference guide. Topics covered include:
CW History and Program Strategy
Program Management Data
Managing Staffing Partner Performance and Managing Risks
Understanding Cost and Quality
Managing Change, Implementation and Program Adoption
Contracts, VMS, MSP Â and Global
While certification demonstrates mastery of contingent workforce management best practices, more than gaining command of industry facts, figures and terminology, certified contingent workforce professionals exhibit a deep understanding of the strategy behind the solutions. They can expertly navigate the contingent workforce optimization roadmap and possess a deep understanding of the contingent workforce program maturity model. That makes for better partners in helping clients optimize their workforce management practices, improve business performance and generate new paths to greater productivity and efficiency.
Who should pursue professional certification? The training and certification exam prep would be a great learning experience for anyone in the industry. The class was a mix of professionals representing MSP solutions providers, staffing providers and current and prospective contingent workforce program managers. Experience levels varied from industry veterans to newcomers. While the latter seemed surprising at first, it quickly became apparent that certification prep is a fabulous way to fast track people new to the industryâ€”a much more efficient way to bring someone up to speed faster than learning it all on the job.
How does professional certification serve Bartech and the industry? SIA certification elevates the professionalism of our industry and codifies a wealth of knowledge and best practices. It offers an excellent opportunity for career development and drives a commitment to continuous learning, as recertification requires that the certified professional complete 24 hours of continuing education annually.
That training is already paying off. I have been able to reference two modules since I have been back at my desk. One client asked how we define co-employment (Module 5 â€“ Identifying and Managing Risks) and another one asked us to highlight how communication should work between client/MSP/VMS on a regular basis (Module 11 â€“ General Contingent Workforce Program Management). Having the course material at my fingertips has been very helpful.
Professional certification offers a means to make the best better. At Bartech, it is a way to pursue our pledge to always leading, continuously improve, to relentlessly build our expertise and to always look for ways to accomplish more for our clients tomorrow than we did today.
Access to talent is critical to achieving organizational objectives. In a sellersâ€™ market, with demand for skills far outpacing supply, many employers find themselves struggling to fill key positions. Talent shortages are not new, however. What compounds the challenge of finding talent in todayâ€™s market is a fundamental shift in the nature of the workforce, due in large part to demographics. With the massive exit of Baby Boomers already underway, their majority position has been overtaken by Millennials, whose beliefs and behaviors are quite different from previous generations. To attract these younger workersâ€”born after 1980â€”employers must first understand them and then ensure that their organizational policies and practices align with what these workers want.
What Distinguishes the Millennial Workforce?
The newest generations in the workforce are more highly educated and more tech savvy
They are socially conscious and expect their employer to be as well
They want to understand the big picture and their role in it
They gravitate toward companies that have a clear mission and consistent follow-through on that mission
They are quick to embrace change and completely comfortable working on diverse teams
They welcome challenges and bring a â€ścan doâ€ť attitude to their jobs
They do not thrive in a more traditional, command-and-control or paternalistic structure
They are forward-focused in terms of career mobility and expect an employer to actively support their pursuit of learning and development opportunities
They place a premium on work/life balance
Attracting a New Generation
For the past 40 years or more, young people have followed a familiar path, moving from school to the workforce just as their parents did. They accepted low-level entry jobs, kept their heads down as they put in their time, paid their dues and gained experience before moving up the career ladder. That model no longer seems to work. In fact, some Millennials forgo it altogether, jumping into entrepreneurship straight out of school. In a survey of Millennials by Bentley University, only 13% of respondents said their career goal involves climbing the corporate ladder, while almost two-thirds (67%) expressed a desire to start their own business.
Itâ€™s a new day, and for many employers, that means a willingness to make some adjustments in the way they operate their businesses to ensure they appeal to the newest generation of innovators. Otherwise, the search for talent will take longer, cost more and result in less-than-stellar hires.
Refreshing the Look, the Feel and the Soul of an Organization
When you have been in business for more than 40 years, young and energetic may seem unrealistic labels, but being viewed positively as a potential employer to Millennials has less to do with age and more to do with attitude. At Bartech, that has meant discovering that what appeals to younger workers was already established in our company. We just needed to refresh our brand and repackage it. Let me explain.
This is not about chasing the buzz of the day. It is about being both relevant and consistent. Companies that donâ€™t truly practice what they preach are quickly found out. At Bartech, we wanted the newest generations to know that we truly believe in the same things they do. These workers are very conscious of giving back and seek out companies they feel are responsible in terms of their commitment to quality, to their employees and to the communities they serve. These three tenets happen to be the founding principles of our company: Quality, Fairness and Corporate Citizenship.
So refreshing our brand didnâ€™t require us to revamp our operating philosophy, but we did make a number of subtle changes that support our commitment to transparency, mission and work/life balance.
We moved into a new facility that is designed with transparency in mind. Our offices are bright, colorful and energetic, with lots of open spaces and glass walls
We recognize and are reminded every day of our how we began and how we intend to continueâ€”from the portrait of our founders to the principles emblazoned in our boardroom
We turned our strategic pillars into art to reinforce the values we share with our team and wove these into the design of our work space, naming each of our conference rooms using words that are meaningful to us: agility, integrity, focus, leadership, collaboration, innovation
We encourage employees to work anywhere in the facility that promotes high performance and collaboration, so no one is handcuffed to their desk.
We revamped our systems and processes so a majority of our employees have the ability to work from home on either a full- or part-time basis, creating greater balance in their lives while letting them know that we have a high degree of trust in them
We communicate with greater regularity and openness than ever before, because we want our employees to understand our goals, our strategy and their part in both
We partner with our employees to support the community in ways that are meaningful to them: children, education and people less fortunate
While each of these actions makes us more compatible with Millennial employees, they have met with wide approval across every generation in our workplace.
Revamping How We Engage with Candidates
The advent of social media changed the way employers interact with candidates. We did more than introduce new ways of connecting with candidates; we re-engineered our approach, recognizing that recruiting is a two-way street. There has to be value delivered on both sides. Our goal is to get to know every candidate in a way that goes far beyond hard and soft skills. We want to understand their job goals and their career aspirations. Itâ€™s not just about what they can do for Bartech. Itâ€™s about retaining great talent. In order to nurture a long-term relationship, we both need to meet each otherâ€™s expectations.
Are You Ready for the New Workforce?
Access to talent and being relevant to that talent are significant workforce challenges. Attracting, engaging and retaining Millennials is like fishing in a brand-new pond. It requires new approaches and a new employment value proposition. If you can meet the expectations of this new generation, you will be better able to connect with an increasingly limited supply of high-quality talent. If you would like to learn more about how Bartech is connecting with the best candidates in every generation, please get in touch.
by: Rebecca Blankenship, Vice President Human Resources
Reducing Gray Areas in Co-Employment
Some say there are 101 distinct shades of gray. A computer offers up 256 variations on gray. Scientists say the human eye can actually distinguish more than 500 different shades of gray. If you are responsible for your organizationâ€™s workforce, any gray area can be problematic. One of the biggest gray areas for HR managers is the ambiguityâ€”and the potential riskâ€”around co-employment when part of your workforce is contingent.
Where Is the Ambiguity?
If you are coloring inside the lines, it is easy to lay out who is responsible for what in a contingent workforce scenario:
Â Staffing Agency Employer
Â Joint Responsibility
Wage and Hour
General Work Direction
Pretty clear, right? Yet when staffing agency employees are placed on assignment with a client organization, confusion can arise about who the actual employer is?.
The â€śformalâ€ť relationship between the contingent worker and their employing staffing agency and between the contingent worker and the client they support may be clear as glass, but the more informal, real-world workplace can cloud the picture.
While the workers are employed and paid by the staffing agency, the work they do is for the client. From the very first day on the job, through their on-boarding process and introductions to the client team and the work assignment, they are made to feel welcome in the client workplace. The people with whom they work are client employees. The supervision of their work is usually provided by client managers. They often work onsite at the clientâ€™s facility; they carry a badge with the clientâ€™s logo; they drink the clientâ€™s coffee; they eat in the clientâ€™s employee cafeteria; they receive email via a client email address; they attend meetings with client employees and business leaders. Itâ€™s easy to understand why there is confusion. That lack of clarity can be equally applicable to independent contractors who pay themselves, based on statement of work contracts they enter into with a client.
What Is the Risk?
That is the question painfully answered for Microsoft about a decade ago, when it was fined $100 million over co-employment issues. As the size and strategic value of the contingent workforce has grown in recent years, so too have state and federal resources been expanded to root out co-employment and misclassification issues. Beyond the additional tax dollars that might be captured by various government agencies (estimated several years ago by the Government Accountability Office at nearly $3 billion annually for the federal government alone), a negative ruling in court can carry a hefty price tag. In addition to legal fees and court costs, a company might have to lay out funds for repayment of lost wages, overtime or benefits.
What is most clear about the difference between employee and non-employee is that it is definitely a blurred line, making it important to know when and when not to include contingent workers in client initiatives.
Mitigating the Risk
The need to carefully distinguish who is responsible for what, beyond basics such as wages and workplace safety can help alleviate joint employer responsibility. For example:
Â Staffing Agency Employer
Communicates assignment, reassignment, etc.
Conducts employee orientation
Handles temp worker related issues
Handles performance management, coaching and disciplinary action
Counsels on issues relating to career development
Releases from assignment
Provides Client specific training
Furnishes tools, materials and equipment necessary to perform job
Controls general working conditions
Additional guidelines to cover in any contingent labor contract might include:
Contingent workers cannot act as supervisors who approve contract worker time and expense.
No contingent worker can participate in client-sponsored employee programs.
No contingent worker can be issued a client credit card or business card with the client logo.
Any company announcements or directives that affect contingent workers should be communicated to this population separately from employed staff.
Contingent workers should report anticipated late arrivals and absences to the staffing agency, who should, in turn, inform the client supervisor.
Any reimbursable expenses should be paid to the staffing agency, never directly to contingent workers.
Ensuring Competitive Advantage Rather than Compliance Risk
Keeping all of this straight is a chore when you deal with a single staffing agency or independent contractor. The opportunity for miscues is huge when you partner with multiple staffing agencies and independent contractors, and with many contingent workers reporting to client supervisors in different areas of the businessâ€”all of whom must not only know the rules of engagement but how to apply them appropriately in the everyday workplace. The need to mitigate this potential risk is one of the most compelling reasons that so many businesses partner with a managed service provider (MSP). When an MSP manages your contingent workforce program, rules are clearly and comprehensively communicated and compliance tracked, so that your use of contingent labor creates competitive advantage rather than compliance risk.
Still Have Questions?
Contact Bartech to learn more about contractor risk mitigation, or to explore whether an MSP is right for your organization.
Talent (or the lack thereof) is cited at or near the top of almost every list of current business challenges. Whether it is termed a skills gap, a war on talent or a constricted supply chain, it all points to a severe shortage of the human capital that powers commerce. When you have positions to fill, you need to find individuals with the skills, experience, character and motivation to match your requirements. Quality is critical. Speed is a bonus. Low cost is likely wishful thinking. In fact, focusing solely on standard talent acquisition metrics, such as bill rate or cost of hire, may turn out to be a costly mistake in the long run.
Can Cost Be Ignored?
Absolutely not. Cost continues to be a driving force behind contingent workforce management programs. In fact, in the latest Staffing Industry Analyst (SIA) Buyers Survey, employers cited reducing and controlling costs as the second highest MSP program priority (behind improving internal customer service). What is important to understand is that there are lots of ways that your MSP partner can help you save money, beyond the basics of rate rationalization, process streamlining, program standards, etc. Selecting a staffing supplier based on the lowest pay and bill rates or focusing solely on cost of hire are not necessarily the only or the best solutions to cost control, especially in a market where skills gaps continue to widen and business leaders repeatedly cite the shortage of talent as a critical deterrent to growth. A more sensible approach is to consider the total cost of hire, focusing on quality, value and return on investment.
A Closer Look at Total Cost of Hire
While securing contingent labor does not carry the typical tax and benefit burdens of a direct hire, there are still downstream economic impacts from making the right hire. The highest-quality candidates, most closely matched to your staffing requirements, will potentially deliver greater engagement, higher productivity, better performance and lower turnover (i.e., higher assignment completion). They will ease into your workplace with the least disruption to the rest of your staff and will quickly contribute to advancing your goals. Poor matches, whether defined by skills, experience or cultural affinity, can have the opposite impact. They can negatively impact your ability to execute plans, delay project completion, damage employee morale and require additional supervisory focus. The bottom line is that decisions based on initial price alone can increase other direct and indirect operating costs.
A Case in Point
Bartech developed an innovative total cost of ownership model for one client that captured $12.5 million in hard savings for in-scope spend. Bartech applied its rate management methodology, which employs a proprietary bill rate calculator as part of a competitive bid process. This calculator captures the costs of wages, employment and supplier overhead, providing full visibility into the bill rate. It also applies a benchmarked and acceptable multiplier for selling, general and administrative expenses and profit. We used this tool to establish a gain-share value proposition, generating client savings equal to 8% of spend for skill areas within the bid network in year five of our MSP engagement.
The talent acquisition process incorporates a number of levers that can be adjusted to reduce the overall cost of hire without excluding the marketâ€™s best candidates. Your MSP partner can help you explore innovative ways to save money without negatively impacting the ability of the suppliers in your network to secure the talent you need in a tight labor market.