Companies around the world are feeling various effects of the virus when it comes to managing their workforces. With there still being uncertainty on how it will all play out there is one thing that is for certain, the future of work is changing. One solution can be contingent workforces.
Contingent workers or casual workers are people who are not on the company payroll, thus offer organizations the flexibility in times of need and adaptability when it comes to an evolving economy.
Businesses have dramatically increased their use of contingent workers over the past decade as they struggle with rising labour costs and the need for a workforce that can quickly adapt to market conditions.
Nine HR Trends that will affect the future of work
According to a recent study by Gartner it was revealed that an expansion of the use of contingent workers will be seen throughout the rest of 2020 and beyond. “32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure. Utilizing more gig workers provides employers with greater workforce management flexibility.” While some industries are furloughing employees such as the hospitality and travel industry, others are increasing demand. Some of these roles include distribution, fulfilling, and customer support positions in sectors such as financial services and retail giants.
With an increase in the use of casual workers, HR professionals must be cognizant of factors around benefits, communication and performance management.
Amongst the increase of contingent workers, Gartner outlined eight other trends to watch out for:
- Increased in remote work
- Expanded data collection
- Employer as a social safety net
- Separation of critical skills and roles
- Humanization and Dehumizatin of workers
- Emergence of new top tier employers
- Shift from designing for efficiency to designing for resilience
- Increase in organization complexity
The importance of scalability
The quick take over of COVID-19 has shown the importance of a scalable work model is one of the main benefits of contingent workforces. With a varied response across industries, we see some extremely high increases in the use of contingent workforces in some areas, while others that have previously relied on them dwindle to almost nothing. The businesses that were able to efficiently scale have proven to be leaders in this new economy. The current situation with lockdown measures and the virus has proved that adaptability in times of crisis is vital.
Contingent Workers Rights
Since the beginning of 2008 contingent workers have grown by over 36% creating a workforce of over 1.91 million in the UK. The biggest challenges that we see coming out of this are an increasing focus on workers’ rights, income tax compliance, and employment law requirements.
Contingent workers have historically lost out rights to things such as minimum wage, holiday pay, pension plans, and sick leave. Some of these workers are currently executing some of the most dangerous jobs in modern history. Cleaning and maintaining overrun hospital wards, working in care homes, and on the front lines of manufacturing medical supplies. Without contingent workers the UK and the world might have a completely different look.
Contingent Workers in hospitality
Britain’s hospitality sector with about 3.2 million workers will be one of last to relaunch following the COVID-19 lockdown. While there is still uncertainty around the restrictions, the industry needs to prepare for reopening.
To ensure that the social distancing requirements are met, a 2m rule would mean 30% of normal revenues, however, a 1m rule could mean an increase to 70% of normal revenues. These rules need to be flexible enough to apply to various areas across the industry but also restrictive enough to curb the spread of the virus as a failure to reopen the hospitality sector could result in a loss of 2 million jobs. Next to that, uncertainty around customer confidence and acceptance makes workforce planning more complex and complicated.
Those uncertainties will, therefore, require flexibility from management and employees, quickly being able to increase or decrease staff on-call or agency workers who allow for a smoother transition back into normal life.
What to do next?
With the reliance on temporary workforces only increasing in the future it is important to organize your company to be able to efficiently work alongside them. Having a versatile workforce management software that allows you to manage internal staff and contingent workforces is the first step in the right direction. Make sure that you have a backup of recommended agencies to fill in where and when needed. A quick onboarding and training process will instil stability and increase quality performance amongst staff.
Out of COVID-19 the lessons we can take are that preparing for the worst is always a good idea and scaling with a fast-changing economy will only help your business.