The global pandemic has transformed the world of talent acquisition, forcing people and businesses to adapt through new and creative ways of working, managing, and acquiring talent, particularly contingent workers.
The demand for labour in Australia continues to outstrip talent supply, especially in sectors like resources and mining, construction and engineering, manufacturing, and trades. In a recent study between SAP Fieldglass and Oxford Economics, 45 per cent of procurement executives reported frequent digital security breaches with their contingent workforce. Thirty-five per cent of respondents experienced unauthorised spend, and 34 percent experienced compliance issues.
Intelligent tech creates connected talent ecosystem
As the complexity and digitalisation of workforces increased during the pandemic, the ability to manage remote workforces throughout the employee lifecycle has become critical. Compounded by the restrictions Australian businesses face with offshore talent during the global pandemic, organisations must devote the same attention, rigor, and focus on talent supply chains as any other supply chain or asset-driven commodity.
Intelligent technology solutions are offering businesses new avenues to reconsider talent acquisition and management, creating an interconnected ecosystem for managing adaptive talent supply chains.
Benefits of talent supply chain digitalisation
In the not too distance past, companies could manage talent supply chain as complex, disconnected, and lengthy processes with numerous teams working in silos across the business without real visibility or centralisation. Now companies that rely on contingent workers and service providers in substantial numbers are turning to vendor management systems (VMS) that streamline and centralise talent sourcing, procurement, and oversight.
An intelligent VMS can consolidate operations, acquisitions, and management, on a unified platform, reducing the cost of staffing while increasing process efficiency and workforce quality. Providing a single source of truth and control is critical for compliance and efficiency.
For example, SAP Fieldglass runs a global value realisation assessment program for all of our key customers, and in the last analysis of customer outcomes we saw an annualised 60 per cent improvement in worker quality since implementation, and an average of three per cent savings through improved compliance alone. This was only possible with increased visibility and access across each organisation’s talent supply chain processes.
External workforce success metrics
To manage an external workforce program successfully, leaders need to look at how they manage full-time employees today, putting equal weight and importance on how teams measure success through processes across four value drivers: cost control, compliance, quality, and efficiency.
Each value driver is directly impacted by the provision of visibility across the external workforce. To measure success, it is important to understand these drivers and how they fit into the overall strategy and direction for the organisation.
An external workforce program can mature over time. Initially, it makes the most business sense to focus on organizational and team priorities and quick wins for the quickest return-on-investment while preventing change fatigue. Consider cost control which can translate to a variety of strategies and tactics, quickly becoming overwhelming from a change management perspective, and potentially no longer obtainable. Leaders need to break this value driver down into smaller, more easily achievable goals.
For example, one organisation set a goal to streamline invoicing processes and reduced FTE (full-time equivalent) talent costs. After implementing SAP Fieldglass, the business completely automated invoice reconciliation, saving $22M AUD in the first year. By simplifying, standardising, and automating processes, the organisation also reduce headcount in its accounts payable team by three FTE.
In setting small reachable goals and KPIs, businesses can quickly see improvements. However, as organisations constantly change, it’s important to regularly refresh goals and ensure alignment to the overarching business strategy. This needs active and continuous management, whether manually or through intelligent technology solutions.
As organisations innovate how they manage and connect with employees, technology will continue to play a significant role in how businesses adapt to and anticipate change. The ‘new normal’ that continues to evolve in response to the global pandemic has highlighted the importance of operating safely yet with flexibility. Organisations need the right technology in place to support these robust and ever-shifting work arrangements.
This article also appeared on SAPBrandVoice on Forbes.