Survey Shows How Little Leaders Know About Their Temps

His elves may be the most depended-on workers in the world. But how does Santa Claus keep track of them all to achieve maximum productivity? If he’s anything like other highly effective operations leaders, Santa looks to the cloud for digital solutions to help manage his dedicated, if diminutive, workforce.

Santa relies on a flexible workforce, supplementing his traditional, full-time staff at the North Pole with specialized, contingent worker elves (making today’s electronic toys requires a new, digital skill set, after all!) and even some gig worker elves who are needed for last-minute list-checking.

Of course, jolly Saint Nick is hardly alone. Amid the dual pressures of economic uncertainty and a tight labor market, businesses are turning increasingly to contingent, non-payroll labor to get work done. Throughout the year, these external workers perform mission-critical tasks for businesses large and small, spanning every industry.

Maximize value, minimize risk

Unlike Santa, many business leaders fail to manage their contingent workforce to maximize value and minimize risk. According to new research from SAP Fieldglass and Oxford Economics, the lack of adequate management rigor prevents organizations from realizing the full value of contingent labor and poses risks to security, compliance and the smooth flow of operations. The report — Contingent Workforce Insights 2019: Expertise in Full Force — indicates that the external workforce, comprising both contingent workers and services providers, is key to helping enterprises accomplish a broad range of goals, from boosting organizational agility, cited by 63% of executive respondents, to increasing speed to market, mentioned by 61%.

It also is particularly vital in meeting business needs for specialized IT and digital skills, according to 62%.

The research confirms that contingent workers play critical, high-value roles operating at the heart of the enterprise to deliver value to customers and drive business success. But it also points to a significant need to improve visibility over this sizable workforce segment to optimize productivity and performance. For example, the findings reveal that only 47% of executives are highly informed about non-payroll workers’ contract terms, and just 31% are knowledgeable about the quality of their work. With such limited insight into the contingent workforce, executives lack the information needed to manage it effectively and derive full value from this powerful resource.

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Moreover, insufficient visibility prompts concerns about security and compliance. According to the research, 47% of executives report that digital security breaches by non-payroll workers occur either sometimes, frequently, or with nearly every engagement. 40% say the same for compliance issues.

How can business leaders sharpen their focus on these workers, reap the full value they offer, and reduce attendant risk? Organizations can accomplish all these objectives, while bolstering a nimble, recession-proof workforce, with the aid of cloud-based solutions that help companies strategically scale up and down during periods of volatility while managing IT costs. The intelligence and contextual insights gleaned from these AI-enabled applications help to ensure flexibility and responsiveness to unpredictable market conditions while also extending competitive advantage by unleashing the tremendous potential that contingent workers bring with them every single day to the organizations they serve.

The modern, flexible workforce is here to stay. Companies must adopt sophisticated workforce management practices to optimize outcomes and harness enduring value.

Whether you manage your contingent workforce with the legendary efficiency of Santa’s polar operations or you could benefit from cloud-based solutions to fine-tune your own, let’s all remember to pause, give thanks, and recharge during this season of joy. Happy holidays!

Arun is the General Manager of SAP Fieldglass and has been with the company for eight years, focused on ensuring the success of SAP Fieldglass customers. Arun has more than 20 years of experience helping global corporations design and deploy enterprise software solutions. Prior to joining SAP Fieldglass, Arun held positions in general management, development, marketing and product management while working at ClickCommerce, Elance and Oracle. He holds a master's degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Science and a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Madras, India.

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