What is Workforce Optimization and Why Does It Matter?

By MBO Partners |

Updated Thursday, April 16, 2020


Today’s organizations are struggling to do more with less in the face of COVID-19. In response to this widespread challenge, forward-thinking companies are leveraging new technologies and experimenting with modes of working, such as virtual meetings and remote work.    This new paradigm has highlighted the vast chasm between the traditional business model and the emerging modern one.  One model will be able to adapt to the new reality and thrive, and the other will struggle to survive.  Modern organizations increasingly have come to see the value in an integrative workforce strategy, one that relies on highly-skilled, independent workforce to remain agile and competitive. The 2019 State of Independence in America, (SOI) the longest-running and deepest dive statistical analysis of the independent workforce shows over that over 41 million Americans today work independently. That number is expected to rise significantly in the coming years. This study also shows that by 2024, more than half of all Americans will have worked independently at some point in their careers.

Businesses are realizing that they need to think differently, and independent talent can give them a competitive advantage and access to in-demand skills. With a more flexible workforce, organizations can quickly respond to project demands, client expectations, more easily meet budget constraints, and remain open to innovation.  Put simply in the future the way a company leverages talent resources can for the first time create true competitive advantage.

Today, we discuss four ways workforce optimization can help your enterprise gain a competitive edge.

1. Transform Access to Talent

Organizations today need a way to easily access high-value talent. Independent talent, by nature, is not easily found in a single place. Research shows on average independent professionals have 3-5 clients at a time, so it is incredibly important to make sure these resources work for you and not the competition. To be a client of choice, forward-thinking companies are using modern technology to change where, when, and how work gets done. By shifting focus from hiring for a specific job that focuses on the role to engaging talent for a project focused on a specific outcome, companies can decrease operating costs and solidify a competitive foothold in the modern marketplace.

For example, technology like online marketplaces enables a transaction between the client and independent professional directly online, eliminating the need for a third-party staffing agency or consulting firm. A freelancer or independent contractor can fill out a profile and then apply to or be matched with projects that fit their skill set. On the other end, enterprise managers can post opportunities for available talent, and then evaluate and engage the right person.

2. Digitize the Talent Lifecycle

Today’s technology combines tools, services, data, and processes to create a seamless end-to-end experience for independent talent and managers alike. Digital platforms bring together contingent talent with skills that run the gamut from graphic design, project management, and coding, to engineering and marketing. These platforms facilitate project-based work, allowing companies to efficiently deploy talent when and where they need it most.

In addition to finding skilled talent, managers can also use this technology to facilitate onboarding and engagement processes. Once engaged, they can easily manage contractor time and expenses, process invoices, resolve issues, and track performance. With a consistent process in place to manage the talent lifecycle, it becomes easier for organizations and independent talent to work together and build strong, lasting relationships.

3. Ensure Compliance and Control

Companies must remain compliant when engaging independent contractors, ensuring all tax, labor, and other statutory requirements are met. Technology increases transparency into independent workers, minimizing the risks and costs embedded in legacy practice such as managers using their own networks to find talent, or payrolling all independent contractors regardless of their background.

Practices such as requiring up-to-date qualification documentation and offering flexible engagement options minimize compliance risk. Many companies choose to partner with an organization like MBO Partners, which specializes in independent workforce engagement and compliance to further ensure compliance measures are met. Part of MBO’s compliance process, for example, involves collecting and storing qualification documents for each independent professional an organization engages to minimize risk and build a defense file to bolster compliance.

4. Enhance Talent Well-being

The ability to engage independent talent is increasingly desirable, and, as such, the competition to attract, engage, and retain this talent is becoming more of a challenge. Independent professionals have skills that are in-demand and they have a big say in the clients they decide to work with. Organizations must balance meeting the needs of this pool of talent in order to remain an attractive place to work.

Top satisfaction factors include a clear onboarding process and project scope, quick and fair compensation, and reasonable processes and procedures. Prioritizing these needs helps companies stand out from their competition and make them a more desirable choice for top independent talent. Again, technology plays a big role here creating a simple, clear, and streamlined work experience for independent contractors you engage.

By strategically leveraging independent talent who can bring the right capabilities on-demand, organizations can achieve critical objectives on schedule, reduce costs, close staffing gaps, and boost efficiency.

For more information on how independent talent can optimize your workforce, reach out to our team of experts.