We've been interviewing senior HR execs, HR industry analysts, consultants and others to try to understand if the use of contingent workers is considered a strategic part of their talent acquisition and talent management plans.
We've gotten a clear no from the vast majority of folks we've talked to.
To be honest, this surprised us. We figured that with the growth of the contingent workforce - and the growing number of key, contingent contributors at many firms - companies would be thinking strategically about how to find and retain these assets.
But this attitude may quickly change. Preparing for a New Era of Knowledge Work is article from the strategy consulting giant McKinsey (registration required, but well worth the effort). In it they discuss the growing need for a flexible workforce. Key quote:
By breaking some jobs into components and using technology to virtualize others, employers can engage labor far more efficiently. Some companies are already exploring a spectrum of mix-and-match work arrangements: traditional full-time workers in the office, part-time or temporary workers, and contingent, remote workers who can help meet spikes in demand. Companies that optimize such configurations and manage them effectively can begin engaging talent as needed, thereby lowering overhead costs and improving response times.
McKinsey is the largest of the Big 3 strategy consulting firms (the others are Bain and BCG). These firms have the ear of large company CEOs and corporate boards. If these firms are starting see the contingent workforce as a strategic issue, corporations are sure to follow.