We all have great ideas on how to manage our contingent workforce programs and improve them but ultimately the test of any CW program is adoption. Time and time again, program managers have asked me, “We have built it; why won’t they come?” The simple answer is that the devil is in the details. Successful program adoption is driven by executive championship and key stakeholder buy-in, process clarity and usability. Here are some tips for engaging those drivers to promote better adoption (and compliance) for your program.
Buy-in. Your executive champions and key stakeholders are typically those who are there from the beginning. They have recognized the need for the change and have been integral in creating the business case and ROI for the organization. Their operations may be directly affected by the CW program change and they are vested in program adoption. They may have the authority to mandate change and their messaging and sponsorship carries enough weight to spur adoption (or at the very least pique interest and participation).
Executives and key stakeholders who were not part of the planning can be persuaded to support your initiatives if you communicate clear program features and benefits of the change that will enhance quality, reduce cost, promote efficiency and mitigate risk for the business. Some examples might be controlling rogue spend to drive efficiency and cost savings; managing independent contractors and SOW engagements to mitigate risk and cost;supplier management to drive efficiency, cost and quality. Persuading an executive or key stakeholder who is not onboard initially can also create some of your best advocacy and communication tools to overcome objections and create better alliances.
Process clarity. Successful adoption is governed by knowing the needs of the end users and addressing those needs with clear, defined, easily understood processes. Because different business groups have various priorities when it comes to CW engagement, you need to make sure you are communicating based on those needs. IT and engineering may be screaming for better quality at any price, so show them how participating in the program will get them better talent faster at controlled rates. Manufacturing needs are typically volume dictated, with tight turnarounds and little rate negotiation, so demonstrate how the program will address that, perhaps with a before and after scenario. Maybe you can show finance or procurement departments how they will have better visibility through approval matrixes and centralized oversight. Most important, get their buy-in at the beginning by asking the right questions as to how a change might affect them — negatively and positively — and work to create a framework that will include their input and make it easy for them to drive adoption. Early adopters are critical and create ambassadors for your CW program.
Usability. If you are launching a new technology with your solution, make sure you have adequate time and resources to have a small, vested group of end users test the system before your official launch to ensure any bugs or problems are addressed. First impressions matter. You need to be successful right out of the gate. The engagement process needs to be easy, fluid, but most of all, it needs to work. Offer training through and be mindful of cultural norms and critical delivery dates for the business. Use departmental meetings, company events, manager orientation materials and your intranet. Spread the word. As long as your messaging is clear, concise and your program change makes sense to those who need it, you can drive adoption.