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How Technology Is Impacting Management of the Independent Workforce

Technology is reshaping talent acquisition and the staffing industry as a whole. Today, we can access business intelligence tools, develop data-driven strategies, enhance automated sourcing, and optimize efficiencies better than we ever have before.  

This greater access to, and reliance on technology, is critical for organizations to manage their increased dependence on independent workers.  

Nearly 40% of the U.S. workforce consists of contingent workers, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The growth of independent workers has exploded, transforming organizations and the way they attract, hire, and retain people to meet business goals. 

In the past, much of the management of independent workers was done in-house, by hand, and tracked in rudimentary documents that weren’t easily accessible, shared, or understood. Now, it’s estimated that many employment transitions involve a third party such as a staffing firm, a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) company, or a managed service provider (MSP). These parties all require great technology to meet employers’ high-volume needs efficiently and effectively.  

Technology automates talent sourcing and acquisition 

Not too long ago, hiring and recruiting workers involved a lot of hands-on labor – and some guesswork. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) tools are becoming more prevalent. In the past five years, there has been growing automation of the match task connecting companies and candidates. AI-driven sourcing and qualifying of candidates helps automate processes at scale. Machine learning models identify and screen candidates to help businesses make smart hires—and just as important, not make bad ones. This helps ensure the quality of talent. It also saves human time and manual work by hiring teams. 

Today, we are seeing more advanced AI in applicant tracking systems (ATS) and more sophisticated services and features in matching platforms.  As more companies use these platforms to find talent, more contract workers are also using them to choose where they go next.  

With AI helping source and qualify candidates, talent acquisition teams can focus on improving the candidate experience. They can spend more time and energy engaging with potential workers from the first touchpoint through onboarding. But tech tools can also help ensure a better experience by helping nurture candidates with communication streams that meet them at every stage of their journey. This can help make the process quicker and also more satisfying for talent. 

Technology enhances talent management 

Talent management also gets a boost from technology. With the rise of remote work, technology enables people to work from anywhere, at any time, and for any length of time. Today, teams can include talent from all over the world, and technology helps connect them. It also enables pay for a global distributed workforce. 

From onboarding to offboarding, technology can help streamline recruiting and staffing processes, creating efficiency and consistency across an organization. Managers can see how long it’s taking to hire contractors. They can review feedback and access information to inform and guide performance. With enhanced data transparency, they can increase reutilization rates. Using talent at a higher rate saves costs and leads to more profitability.  

Often, we turn to technology to make things easier and faster. But now, the transaction is not about trading time for money. Today, we are trading capability or competence for money. 

Technology provides valuable insights 

Data analytics is becoming an essential component of talent acquisition. In a 2018 LinkedIn survey of recruiters, 64% of the respondents said they currently use data in their recruitment process, with 79% predicting they would do so in the next two years, and 76% believing artificial intelligence “will have a significant impact on recruiting.” 

Data deepens our knowledge of the workforce. With the right data, we can make strong predictions for future behaviors. We can analyze individual and team traits, determining ideal profiles. We can track performance data to see who is successful and then find more candidates like them. We can examine recruiter performance and maximize output. 

We can also use tech tools to measure and track worker sentiment, learning and understanding how people feel about an organization and how they feel about their jobs. Now, companies can get real-time data on a continuous basis, a shift from the traditional annual review model. This kind of business intelligence data helps organizations understand their workers and take action, boosting productivity and morale. 

With great technology comes great responsibility 

Tech tools are more accessible than ever and the barriers to entry are disappearing. The invention of low code/no code platforms allows more organizations to develop and deploy automation tools, integrating business processes. Now, an organization’s ATS can be integrated with a workforce platform or background check company. 

But AI and automation can’t solve all our problems. If there is a bad process to begin with, automation won’t fix it; it will only make that bad process happen faster.  

Technology must also be trusted by those tasked with using it. If AI and automation frequently lead to unethical or questionable practices, teams will resist it. Some AI screening and interviewing tools have come under attack for ruling out diverse candidates

While technology can guide data-driven strategies and help improve efficiency, it can’t replace the human element. It all comes down to this: If you don’t have great people it doesn’t matter how good your tech stack is. 

We are only scratching the surface of what tech and AI can do for HR teams and recruiters. The expansion of tools and capabilities will continue to transform the industry and how companies attract and engage their independent workforce. 

People2.0 can help you leverage technology to manage your workforce. Contact us today. 

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