The Invisible Workforce in the Contingent Era

In the dynamic modern business world, the use of ‘non-employees’, contingent workers of contractors, is growing. Predictions are that in the next few years, ‘non-employees’ will comprise up to 40% of the modern workforce. Yet, amid this growth, the visibility of these vital contributors needs to improve – significantly. We repeatedly witness organisations with substantial contingent workers operating in financial obscurity and exposed to significant risks. The cost of this invisibility is staggering, encompassing vast overspending and unnoticed inefficiencies. The risks relating to this workforce are also alarming – imagine not knowing who is in your workforce daily. Are they protected? Is your organisation protected? The number of Executives we speak to who cannot confidently answer these questions is very concerning.

With a collective experience of 65 years in contingent workforce strategy and operations, our team has witnessed success stories and cautionary tales. We have seen businesses effectively mobilise contingent workers with their niche skillsets and flexibility, and, on the other hand, we have seen companies lose sight of their contingent workforce and overspend on staff they no longer need or hire people with skills they already have.

We live in an era of so much visibility – with social media, our phones, AI, and the internet – but the lack of visibility companies have of their ‘non-employee’ workforce is vastly out of date.

Over the past two years in particular, we partnered with leading businesses, including Optus, to bring visibility to their 8,000 non-employee workers across Australia, one of Australia’s largest energy companies, to support the design of their Contingent Workforce strategy, model and 5-year business plan; Big-4 consulting firm to support their strategy on ensuring they have a stand-out user experience and to accelerate their speed to productivity.

Our Discover, Design, and Deploy approach examines user experiences, spend management, talent quality assurance, risk profile, operational efficiency, and technology.

With Optus, we stabilised what was initially a rocky implementation of their Vendor Management System (VMS) technology, assessed current risks and opportunities and assisted them in establishing a market-leading contingent workforce model. As a way forward, we also left them with a 12-month roadmap to drive the maturity and optimisation of the model.  

Regardless of the organisation’s size, the common problems concerning the’ non-employees’ remain the same. You need to recognise the importance of visibility over one’s contingent workforce to avoid overspending and carrying significant business risks. The cost of invisibility is too high. 

The Human Collaborative are seasoned experts in Contingent workforce strategy and operations. We are proud to have worked with many companies across multiple industries over the last 20 years and are excited about what 2024 has in store. If you have an invisible workforce challenge, we would love to offer you a complimentary 1-hour initial meeting to discuss your business needs and help you unlock your talent to reach their full potential; book some time here.