Workers at every level and in every industry are looking for new opportunities, and this constant ebb and flow of talent is happening faster than ever before. There are huge positives in this story — with new, often more flexible career paths opening up around the world — but this state of constant flux presents a stumbling block for organizations that are struggling to find and retain the skills they need. In the face of the great employee churn, a powerful contingent workforce strategy is key to navigating the storm.

Recently, I had the pleasure of taking part in CWS Europe, and it struck me that many of the names I recognized on the attendee list — perhaps 40% — had switched organizations since last year. And this is a story I see repeated inside the teams of the clients I work with every day. Employee churn is not a challenge that’s happening outside our industry or in one specific sector; it’s happening everywhere all at the same time, and it can feel overwhelming. In our recent KellyOCG Global Workforce Report, Re:work, 72% of executives said that they plan to leave their current employer within the next two years.

What’s the answer? Do you try and replace roles in the same way you have always done? Or do you rethink your approach to access the skills you need more flexibly?

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Choose flexibility to ride change and solve challenges. One of my clients wasn’t facing so much as a battle for talent as an all-out bidding war, with workers hopping from local company to company as each offered more and more in terms of benefits. We worked with them to deploy a contingent worker program that would help them engage remote contingent workers from a lower-cost location where the skills they needed were abundant. By pivoting their hiring strategy and engaging a greater number of contingent workers, they not only solved issues created by talent churn but opened up new opportunities to grow. This is just one example of the ways a robust contingent strategy can empower you to pivot faster, whatever the barrier or opportunity.

Leading organizations are focusing on contingent solutions. Sometimes, to find out which trends are shaping workforce strategy, we need to look to the organizations that are leading the way. In our Global Workforce Report, Re:work, the Vanguards were the most successful companies for profitability and customer satisfaction. It’s telling then that 40% of Vanguards said they were encouraging the use of contingent talent compared to just 26% of other companies, while 52% of these industry leaders reported having a clearly developed strategy for use of contingent talent.

Developing your contingent workforce can future-proof your business. How do you plan for a future that may require skill sets that don’t exist yet? I have been consulting with an organization that has gone from recruiting mechanical engineers to software engineers almost overnight, as the technology in their industry has fundamentally shifted. To quickly fill this skills gap, they have turned to contingent workers who have not only brought in impressive know-how, but have helped to grow confidence and expertise in their existing permanent workforce.

A robust and targeted contingent strategy is an essential part of talent planning for forward-thinking businesses, and it’s how leading organizations are maintaining a competitive advantage. How are you shaping contingent strategy to meet your biggest talent challenges?

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