Keep Improving: Avoid Common Contingent Workforce Program Pitfalls
Today’s guest post is by Arjun Dutt, Business Intelligence Solutions.
Last week I presented on my first webinar. A summary of the presentation was covered in a previous post. It was a bit of an interesting experience, as most webinars are, considering the format. You know there are quite a few people listening, but you can’t see them or gauge their reactions, so you just keep presenting and assume (more like hope) the message resonates. It is a bit unusual, but I digress. Based on the level of feedback we received (click here if you’d like to view our post-event attendee Q&A) we felt this would be a great opportunity to follow up with a few blog posts to keep the conversation going.
To recap a little, the question we addressed in our webinar was why should continuous improvement be important for you? Well, for those of you familiar with the complexities in managing a contingent workforce, you’re aware there are a lot of moving pieces to any given program, and it can be quite difficult to sort through the puzzle. Allow me to illustrate:
As you can see, it can be a challenge to identify and improve specific areas of your program, even for large, mature programs. What we know to be true is that over time there is a gradual misalignment of your initial business objectives and what they are today. Since your operational activities were defined by the former, when the latter occurs, you begin to see a plateau of the value derived from your program, and, in some cases, diminished value. I’d like to present three common program scenarios:
With smaller or even newer programs, odds are there probably hasn’t been enough investment in the PMO (Program Management Office) team responsible for administering the program. As such, there is a small team of coordinators who are probably conducting a lot of the work manually. Over time, the work that the PMO does is disproportionately distributed towards managing back-end functions and less on enabling managers to make the right decisions up front. This can potentially lead to less than ideal hiring decisions, a large variation in the quality of the workers being hired and decreased cost savings. So, the challenge in this scenario is: how do I ensure that my PMO team is focused on the right things, so that I am getting the most bang for my buck, while still ensuring high user satisfaction and meeting my business objectives?
As larger or mature programs grows, especially when expanding globally, there are more and more stakeholders, spanning a variety of business areas. This variety of users will inevitably complicate the established processes, workflows and supplier interaction. This will challenge the program to meet these unique needs, while at the same time maintaining the established organizational procurement process. Much of the program measurement is reliant upon reporting and analytics, which is dependent on the ability to report across these various business units. So, how do you maintain consistency and drive high user satisfaction, while at the same time meeting the unique needs of different aspects of the business?
Quality is an important metric for all, but few programs know how to measure this accurately. Typically, quality metrics are measured with one or two inputs and are very subjective. Many times programs find that there are “exceptions” and/or quality metrics have to be explained in the context of specific scenarios. This makes it very difficult to report back to the business about ongoing and/or historical quality. Often, when quality metrics are defined, the program is not able to easily correlate those metrics back to specific actions that it needs to take to improve, creating an obvious disconnect. So the challenge for programs is: how do I effectively measure the quality component and implement corrective change in my program to drive better quality?
Do any of these scenarios ring true with you? If so, feel free to reach out to me directly and I’d be happy to discuss some of the solutions we’ve recommended for similar programs. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: continuous improvement