When putting forward a case for implementing a Contingent Workforce solution, Talent and Procurement leaders today are in a challenging position.
Financial benefits, cost savings, reducing budgets – music to many, especially for those operating in the corporate world, are no longer enough to please. Stakeholders are demanding more and they want to see how these new practices can go beyond monetary savings and help to achieve something beyond the tangible goals of the business.
So how can you persuade your bosses to get onboard your Contingent Workforce programme? What can you do to help them understand the complexities of the future workforce and enable them to see that a blended workforce model is the best way forward?
Nathan Delbridge is one of the managers in the Contingent Workforce Team at KPMG Australia where he drives the quality and effectiveness of contractor resource utilisation across the professional services firm. He has some unique insights into the Contingent Workforce recruitment cycle and he will be sharing them in a presentation at the Contingent Workforce Conference 2017 in September.
But before that, Nathan has offered us a sneak peek of what he is about to say at the conference. Here we go!
Hi Nathan! We know KPMG Australia rely on contractor resources heavily, can you describe the firm’s Contingent Workforce Solution?
A Contingent Workforce solution needs to be more than an IT management platform or a means of acquiring talent. KPMG’s approach, to date, has been internally focused and our solution is about creating a common mind-set, set of values, and culture. As the saying goes, you can’t preach what you haven’t experienced.
Our mind-set, is one of effectiveness that is adaptive to the business requirements and the needs of society. It takes complexity, makes it simple and then the simple, compelling to our stakeholders. The values are focused on achieving outcomes over traditions while enhancing a high performance culture.
Ultimately, it looks at the social and business demands of a sector, then creates a business solution specific to that ecosystem of people – one that is engaged, fulfilled and delivers to our clients.
Has this solution made any impact on the KPMG business?
Our impact to date has been to create a contingent workforce that enables agility and provides surge capacity for projects as well as the ability to easily augment our existing workforce. The results of this speak for themselves. Last year, in one sector alone, the solution doubled its impact, enabling in no small part 40 percent year-on-year growth of the sector.
Essentially, the impact of looking at both the internal and external systems of a business – sector and society – then adapting the solution to achieve an outcome, has meant the solution is becoming more and more part of the discussion from the start of considering a delivery opportunity.
This is why the principles of the solution are of the most importance. If the solution is seen as only a process or a means of hiring, then the impact is far less. But with a coordinated view of how the solution should work, the effect will definitely be much more pronounced.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
There are two major challenges, so far.
The first challenge is to avoid delivering a one-size-fits-all solution because KPMG doesn’t operate the same in all areas. This means we have to be adaptive to the needs of each KPMG business while maintaining responsiveness. The key to overcoming this is to keep an open mindset and be flexible when working with stakeholders and key influencers to ensure that they understand the risks, systems and processes.
The second challenge has been for us to take the lead in the conversations between stakeholders, key influencers and helping them understand how a contingent workforce can help them. People are pivotal to the solution, but not everyone has the same level insight or knowledge of what a contingent workforce means for and to them. So, the ability for us to lead the discussions on risks, systems and processes effectively is crucial to shaping the future of KPMG.
So how did you persuade your stakeholders to jump on board and use the service?
It might seem like an odd word to use, but grit, has been and is key.
My definition of grit is “passion and perseverance” and when used in the context of this question, it refers to having the courage and determination to keep moving the business towards a highly blended workforce model without losing sight of our long term goals in the face of adversity and pushbacks.
It takes grit to help others understand the complexities of the future workforce when the issues presented, are today issues which require delivery now. You have to know that the potential financial benefits, social demands and client requirements, on their own, are no longer compelling enough propositions in trying to convince stakeholders to jump on board the Contingent Workforce train. You will need to be able to combine these tangible outcomes with a greater purpose and goal that will allow them to understand what the future is going to look like, especially if you are aiming to be a workforce leader based on culture.
What next for KPMG’s Contingent Workforce programme?
Couple of things. Understanding how we lead, utilise and create high quality engagement levels with Contingent workers within the construct of the current legislative and internal compliance requirements, while maintaining our culture, is part of the next major step.
We are also looking at the total workforce component, not just the contingent. To do this, we have implemented feedback mechanism to enhance the Contingent experience and learning how we can mobilise workers between sectors, services lines and business units. We are visualising the workforce usage so leaders can understand the true makeup of their workforce and enable them to make informed decisions about the look and shape of their future workforce.
Nathan will be sharing more practical Contingent Workforce management solutions during the upcoming Contingent Workforce Conference 2017 on 12-13 Sept. Tickets are limited, don’t miss out!
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