It's no secret that the labor market has shifted radically over the last few years. Odds are, it will never be the same. Employers face an entirely different ballgame from the penchant for remote work to retaining talent. Today's workers demand better pay, flexibility that helps strike a work/life balance and employers who are committed to professional advancement. And they won't settle for less. Contingent, seasonal hiring is no exception to the rule, and those who don't respond to the supply-side realities won't win top talent.
Enlist new engagement strategies
Whether it's skilled or unskilled labor or "permanent" or "contingent" work, jobseekers expect their needs and aspirations to be front and center. They want employers dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), concerned with the work culture and mindful of their preferences. That may be nothing new for permanent employees, but it is a significant shift in the contingent workforce.
As of 2021, Staffing Industry Analysts, SIA, estimated 52 million contingent workers in the U.S. That number represents 35% of the nation's workforce and totals $1.3 trillion of revenue. The firm also found that this number is only rising in 2022.
Adding fuel to the fire, a 2020 Success Factors and Oxford Economics report saw 83% of global business leaders turning to "contingent, intermittent, seasonal or consultant employees." That's especially true in industries such as tech, where upwards of 50% of the workforce is contingent and largely content with it, as they rely heavily on their knowledge, skills and expertise.
Given this shift, organizations need to rethink their perspectives and approaches managerially and engagement-wise by:
- Enhancing worker engagement
- Retooling the contingent employee experience
- Taking a more personalized approach
- Seeing the value in and cultivating gig work
- Widening their contingent talent pools
Respond to contingent workers' expectations
Gone are the days when gig workers could be viewed and treated as throwaways, commodities or fill-ins. Instead, they must be integrated into the workplace and considered crucial to operational success. They need to be ingrained in organizations' operational strategies.
Enlisting talent acquisition technology that leverages deep-learning AI is an essential place to start since it personalizes the candidate experience and matches jobseekers to roles that capitalize on their experience, interests and skills.
These days, hiring contingent talent is about so much more than procurement. Organizations need to rely on a chief people officer or chief human resources officer (CHRO) when it comes to contingent workers' strategic management and oversight. Someone needs to own the responsibility of enhancing the gig worker experience and benefits, not to mention streamline communications, track metrics and manage workplace programs to boost engagement and overall satisfaction. That same person needs to ensure gig workers are an integrated part of their organization's workforce as well as:
- Educate managers to avoid hiring biases
- Foster a sense of belonging in the workplace
- Track metrics and effectively respond to them
Reenvision what captures temp talent
Nowadays, contingent workers put a much greater emphasis on company culture, opportunities for growth and professional stability, perhaps even more so than pay and benefits. Organizations need to meet them where they're at.
As threats of a recession loom, job seekers need to align themselves with organizations with staying power. Meanwhile, employers must build long-term relationships with "temporary" talent, whom they may need to rely on repeatedly. By making flexibility, higher pay and career advancement central to the contingent worker experience, you position yourself as professionally appealing and reduce the risk of being passed by for appealing opportunities elsewhere.