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Contingent Workforce Model... Building the Business Case

"Better and faster results with lower costs and headcount"

This is often the goal that managers across industries are expected to achieve on an ongoing basis. If you add faster hiring turnaround and high retention metrics to it, it starts becoming a tough goal to achieve. As improving productivity has always been leveraged, they now need to look at new answers to solve the problems. This is exactly why leaders are now realising the value of a contingent workforce.

So is contingent workforce only a ‘just-in-time hiring’ that will delay fixed costs? Given the state of the economy, there is a vast pool of talent available that is ready for deployment. Therefore, companies are not staffing up in anticipation and often resort to ‘off-campus’ hiring from organisations like TalentSprint. This is what makes the TalentSprint’s model of skill development successful. However, there is a difference.

How do industries such as healthcare, medical, technology and e-commerce access high quality talent that can make research projects scalable? They need to reach out to the millions of brains waiting to be tapped to improve productivity, increase cost efficiency and impact the way business is done. The answer is in contractual hiring of independent consultants. Globally, in countries such as US, hiring independent consultants has become popular. It is a win-win situation for both the individuals and organisations.

India too, is slowly but surely moving in this direction with the availability of a very large group of educated professionals. The independent consultants are either the confident experts who know that they can command their time and price or the respected contributors who value the flexibility it brings. This could be senior executives who have retired or on sabbatical, or in between jobs, or women professionals who wish to work at a pace different from what a corporate job demands. Hence, instead of opting out of the workforce totally, they make themselves available to companies at an affordable cost. In all these cases, they understand that complacency or unprofessionalism is not an option, so quality becomes a key area.

One industry which has already been taking advantage of this concept is the education industry. At TalentSprint, we often collaborate with working professionals, people restarting their careers, retired senior executives or even doctoral students who still have the willpower to contribute to skill upgradation of those who wish to learn more. There is also a pool of freelance trainers who are willing to join hands but only on a project basis. This model works very well for us, not only economically, but surprisingly also in quality and dependability. These professionals have a high drive and they want to prove a point. The added advantages are that they do not take too much for granted, do not have an ‘entitlement mindset’ and do not come with the overhead costs, which makes the deal sweeter.

Many companies that have received time bound or quick turnaround projects that need infusion of certain domain experts also find it easy to harness the expertise of these professionals to complete the project on time.

As in all business situations, there are downsides as well. Accountability, permanency, predictability and confidentiality may become casualties. Since there is nothing to bind this professional down, the company has to tread carefully. There is no guarantee that the resource will be available as per the organisation’s convenience or that he will be a good fit.

But given the advantages, we may be fast moving into an era of fewer employees on the payroll and more contingent workers. This compliments other emerging trends such as crowd sourcing which help reach out to large talent pools. All these trends will ensure that Indian organisations remain globally competitive.


By Gurpreet Bhatia

Gurpreet Bhatia is Head - HR at Talent Sprint.





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