CWS 3.0: March 14, 2012

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Heard on the Street: “Contingent” May Be Better Option

“The trend is about placing the best person in the job regardless of classifications. And our job is to educate hiring managers that though they may have traditionally filled that job with a full-time worker, today their best option may be a contingent worker.”
 — Rebecca Callahan, president of SourceRight Solutions,a Randstad company.

What the recession has taught companies is that there is no longer a stigma attached to hiring a contingent. In fact, you might be better off with a contingent worker. Headcount issues aside, the worker could be the best person for the job. However, while they may not think poorly of hiring contingents, some employers are not there yet with regard to rethinking their long-time job classifications. So suppliers of contingent workers have to continue to educate managers.

At their end, “managers need to evolve their brand as employers,” says Callahan. “They need to sharpen their employee value proposition.” Simply put, contingent or contract workers need to feel as welcome and as valuable as a full-time worker. “If employees can help themselves to free Diet Cokes, so should contingent workers,” says Callahan.

Allowing such equality will not result in employers being hauled off to court for co-employment. The trick is to have air-tight contracts and efficient suppliers. Legal issues notwithstanding, varied worker classifications don’t need to be looked at negatively. Companies need to partner with vendors that have access to quality candidates and are at the cutting edge of talent acquisition. They need to look for providers with career sites and talent portals that welcome a wide variety of workers.

“IT professionals are a good example of today’s in-demand worker. They choose what project they want to work on, and how long they want to work on it,” says Callahan. And managers who use them are happy with their services and want them back for more. In fact, they would hire them full time if they could. “And healthcare initiatives would also mean that benefits are becoming more portable and there’s less and less value in becoming a full-time equivalent employee,” Callahan says.

As a result, companies have to take proactive steps to make their brand attractive to contingents. Firms want quality candidates at competitive prices. Suppliers are the gateway to this world. They can bring both full-time and contingent workers to your door, but employers have to position themselves as welcoming and as best places to work regardless of the type of worker.

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