The Future of Work

A Guide to Managing a Gig Workforce

Discover how organizations like yours are leveraging the gig economy

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Updated January 2022

In This Guide

This is an abridged version of our guide.  To read the full guide, please download the PDF version.  This guide features the following sections:

Section 1 - Future of Work Aspirations

In this section we describe ‘environmental factors’ that shape enterprise demand for talent technology such as Vendor Management Systems.

The Temps are Now Permanent

A Total Talent Management Approach

Hybrid and Remote Workforce

Hyperautomation and AI

Learning and Improvement

Section 2 - Architectural Considerations

In this section we outline the key architectural considerations that underpin the performance, scalability, security, extensibility and usability of a modern Vendor Management System tech-stack.

Embracing Familiarity in User Interfaces

Mobile-First Accessibility

User Group Personalization

Modularity/Embracing Best-in-Class

Ease-of-Use that Leads to Popularity

Section 3 - Functionality

In this section we describe ‘environmental factors’ that shape enterprise demand for talent technology such as Vendor Management Systems.

Dashboard/Reporting

Order Management

Candidate Management

Applicant Tracking

Scheduling

Background Checks and Credentialing

Float Pool

Time/Expense Management

Invoicing

Evaluations and End-of-Term

Direct Sourcing

Statement of Work

Section 4 - Procurement Considerations

In this section we cover some of the more obvious selection decisions based on what today is state-of-the-art in Vendor Management Systems.

Supporting the Lifecycle of Contingent Workforce Sourcing, Management and Exiting

Speed-to-Value

Configuration, Not Customization

Responsiveness and Uptime

Interoperability Standards

Data Security and GDPR Compliance

Internationalization Features

Section 1 – Future of Work Aspirations

If we’ve learned anything from the lockdowns, is that external market forces are unpredictable, and they can swiftly change the make-up of markets.

The Temps are Now Permanent

The term ‘flexible workforce’ can mean a number of things. One perspective is that your permanent employees are granted more flexibility in when and where they work. Another is more fundamental: fostering a workforce capable of adapting to change as and when needed.

These days, when a task or activity needs to be done, there are many mechanisms that can be employed to complete it; including various forms of automation, knowledge markets, crowd sourcing platforms, task portals, freelancers, self-employed contractors and, permanent workers. A flexible workforce should be able to dovetail into work allocation systems to deliver best-fit talent to the right task at the right time.

A Total Talent Management Approach

Total Talent Management (TTM) describes the implementation of a uniform operational behavior to evaluate talent needs and design, operate, and review talent operations in a way that combines all available sourcing options.

Hybrid and Remote Workforce

More than 20% of the workforce could work remotely 3 to 5 days a week as effectively as they could if working from an office. The pandemic has broken through barriers that prevented widespread remote working in the past, setting in motion a structural shift for many workers.

Hyperautomation and AI

Nobody wants employees to waste time on arduous tasks. If machine-to-machine and AI integrations are possible, they should always exist. Hyper-automation recognizes the variety of technological strategies out there that can be applied to improve and automate business and IT processes.

Learning and Improvement

Every business should think about ‘doing better things’ not just ‘doing things better.’ While improvements to how things work today can be useful and bring quick returns, generally richer rewards comes from asking the harder questions like ‘why do we do it that way anyway?’

Section 2 – Architectural Considerations

We’re trained to use modern user interfaces in a particular way. Consumer facing platforms, such asGoogle Maps and Facebook, have educated a generation of people to learn and use applications in a certain way. That’s important knowledge for UX designers, because any system that works in a much different way isn’t ‘innovative and refreshing’ anymore, is just annoying.

Embracing Familiarity in User Interfaces

The quality of user interfaces has come on leaps and bounds over the years. At best, browsers replicated hard-copy forms and documents on a screen. Today, users enjoy the luxuries of transitions, drag-and-drop interfaces, animated charts, and voice interfaces.

Mobile-First Accessibility

Smartphones haven’t been supported by enterprise IT particularly well until fairly recently. It’s no longer acceptable to use desktop formats on mobile. To keep users happy, you need to prioritize mobile-first software architecture.

User Group Personalisation

It is likely stakeholder groups will have differing needs when it comes to their information and data processing demands. To serve these varying aspirational outcomes, your VMS should be equipped to tailor landing pages, features, and user journeys according to the common demands set out by these communities.

Modularity/Embracing Best-in-Class

Software companies often possess a psychology towards building everything themselves using their own coders and software platforms. Your VMS should focus on maintaining ecosystems and outcomes, not tools and coding, means the management team is wholly committed to embracing the best third-party tools in the market.

Ease-of-Use

If, for whatever reason, users don’t like using a VMS, or see no personal productivity dividend from doing so, they can easily revert back to their own self-authored tools, third party apps—or worse still, fail to get tasks done. Usability really does matter.

Section 3 – Functionality

Presented with a PowerPoint filled with program performance stats, QBR participants and bystanders are generally left with a feeling of emptiness and the constant question of ‘so what?’ on their minds.  Does it matter that you’ve hired X-number of people, or that P2P costs have peaked at Y-dollars this quarter?  Without some comparison to previous trading periods, or competitive peers, or market rates, these statistics on their own give up little useful insight.

Dashboard/Reporting

No matter how good a premeditated reporting system design might be, there will always be a need for custom reports to respond to the diverse variations within talent sourcing contracts and supply-chains and deliver the means to respond to new situations as they occur.

Order Management

Hiring talent starts with identifying a requirement and scoping the work to be done. Ordinarily, this happens through discussions between hiring managers and either HR, Procurement, or both. Once a requirement has been formalized, it needs to be written up as a job description and an order created.

Candidate Management

It’s never easy to find good talent. Finding talent that not only fits your competency and experience aspirations, but work ethos and cultural fit demands—available at the right time, in the right place, and at the right time—is even harder.

Applicant Tracking

The task of managing a series of recruitments at the same time can be overwhelming. At any point in a recruitment, Hiring Managers, Candidates and Staffing Vendors need to be kept informed on how things are progressing; a task usually performed by a Program Manager.  An Applicant Tracking Module makes list work of discharging this task. Modern systems will use software robots and email alerts to manage updates and progress escalations.

Float Pool

Float Pool Management creates a constantly updated list of approved providers to fill open shifts. It’s become an important aspect of a strategic staffing plan, particularly in industries like education, retail and healthcare, where large numbers of contingent workers are available to work against shift patterns that vary in terms of resourcing needs.

Evaluations and End-of-Term

A VMS should support features to manage worker evaluations and address end of term activities, such as running an experience interview to learn from the experiences of the placement. 

Scheduling

Anyone who’s tried scheduling a series of meetings with multiple stakeholders know how time consuming such a simple task can be. Modern VMS systems use federated calendaring to allow participants to suggest and confirm dates. Use of automating tooling, then automates confirmation emails and arrival instructions to minimize the administrative overheads of this task.

Time/Expense Management

Timesheet modules capture, track and pay workers for worked hours easily through an application available on multiple platforms seamlessly (mobile phones, desktop, and browser extensions).  There are many ways to implement timesheet systems. They vary in their complexity, but also have to cope with multi-current, multi-disciplinary and multi-locational variations.

Direct Sourcing

Direct sourcing describes the activity of harvesting the talent pool formed by their internal recruiting activities and brand reach to source gig workers. This talent pool might include individuals who’ve approached an organization through its social media presence, former employees, retirees or applications within the company’s own applicant tracking system.

Background Checks and Credentialing

The world of business has never been more unpredictable. To make sure your organization can navigate the bumps in the road, you require a flexible workforce. But with hiring comes risks. As legislators increase compliance to ensure everyone pays their share of the tax burden, it’s important that background checks and compliance are performed to ensure your hires don’t come with undesirable risks. Your VMS should help with this.

Invoicing

Gone are the days when companies were happy with a printed invoice. These days, platforms like LinkedIn, Amazon and Facebook have raised the bar on what to expect when it comes to online account management, billing and access to statements, invoices etc. VMS User companies, vendors and MSP partners will want P2P to be transparent in its operation, but always visible and accessible online.

Statement of Work

A Statement-of-Work (SOW) is a form of contract between a company and a staffing provider or individual that agrees to pay a contract worker for their efforts based on the achievement of pre-determined project outcomes. Typically, these outcomes are formed around project way-points (sometimes called ‘Milestones’).

Section 4 – Procurement Considerations

In this section, we’ve summarized the most common ‘hygiene factors’ that should be included in a procurement.

Supporting the Lifecycle of Contingent Workforce

Your VMS should support all phases of the contingent workforce management lifecycle.  

Speed-to-Value

Achieving economies quickly should always be a target.  For any major tech deployment, it’s important that stakeholders see quick wins materialize to demonstrate a clear early-stage ROI and offer encouragement to project leaders and champions. 

Configuration, Not Customization

In reference to software, there’s a big difference between configuration and customization.  Configuration suggests that software can be tailored to do what you want it to do by choosing some options and ‘flicking switches.’  Customization, on the other hand, means someone is going to have to get their hands dirty coding or scripting.

Responsiveness and Uptime

You’re likely to find all of the modern platforms are deployed as Software-as-a-Service or private-cloud platforms.  In both cases, it’s your provider who is specifying the hosting service underpinning the platform you’re going to be using.  Like any mission-critical enterprise platform, how your platform is maintained; and its performance maximized matters. 

Interoperability Standards

Technology rarely works well in isolation.  Achieving tight integration with best-of-breed applications and back-office systems streamlines workflows.  It means your organization can maximize the productivity of its procurement teams and hiring managers. As the bare minimum, your VMS should support Web Services and a RESTful API.

Data Security and GDPR

Data Privacy features should also be incorporated into the design of the VMS which should be evidenced through regular Data Privacy Assessments.

Internationalization Features

Even if you’re not currently operating overseas, it’s beneficial to future-proof your platform by ensuring it supports popular languages and currencies.

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