There are now over 1.6 million contingent employees in the UK. This includes consultants, contractors, freelancers and temporary workers who provide services from accounting to PA work; from cleaning to IT leadership.
Contingent workers play a vital role in supporting UK organisations, but they are often overlooked when it comes to an organisations Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Here, we look at why being an of choice should apply to your contingent workers, too.
EVP, EDI and your CVP
We’ve discussed the importance of EVPs previously, but to recap: your EVP should describe what you, as an organisation, both stand for and can offer your employees, particularly in relation to the needs and aspirations of a diverse workforce.
High on the ‘most wanted’ list for many employees is EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) – the concept of fair treatment and opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual identity, with the goal of ultimately creating a fairer and more inclusive workforce and society.
When you’re thinking about your EVP, it’s not just permanent employees whose needs should be considered. Contingent workers, whose numbers are on the rise, may have chosen the ‘freelance life’ because of the flexibility it can offer to them as individuals, or they might have had the option presented to them as the only way to get into a role that they desired. But they also play a massive role in supporting organisations in the current climate of recruitment difficulties and widening skills gaps.
Contingent workforces offer organisations flexibility, the opportunity to source highly-skilled people for short-term, specific projects, cover busy periods, reduce short or long-term absentee gaps, and can even be a way for organisations to offer employment on a trial basis. They also save employers money on office space, as well as other associated employment costs.
So, in order to retain the services of contingent workers, many organisations are now extending their thinking to include them in Contingent Value Proposition (CVP) programs that reinforce and highlight skills that can be enhanced on projects and put it at the heart of their overall EVP.
What do contingent workers want?
As the demographics of the UK workforce changes, so do people’s wants and needs. It’s easy to stereotype millennials as entitled and Gen Z as too sensitive, but as previous generations age and new values become more prevalent, the old ‘hierarchical’ structure of the workplace has been replaced by a more caring and inclusive attitude, ready to welcome new ideas that put respect and different expectations first.
Millennials’ top priority in the workplace is flexibility, and for Gen Z, it’s working relationships that are valued most highly. As future projections indicate that 62% of millennials and 63% of Gen Z will undertake contingent work at some point in their working lives, these values must be taken into consideration when organisations are planning their CVP.
However, contingent workers also want variety and interest in their work, as well as the opportunity to learn and develop their own skills. They want honesty from the organisations that they contract for, and have a strong commitment to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). They also want organisations to be genuinely committed to the wellbeing of their employees and contractors, as well as having a duty of care to wider society. And in a country in which their millennial colleagues from ethnic minorities are 47% more likely to be employed on a zero-hours contract, they also want fairness and equality.
Converting EDI into CVP
Not extending an organisation’s EDI for instance to its contingent workforce is a bit like inviting your friends and family to a party but only serving refreshments to your relatives. The people left out might have a nice time, but they won’t enjoy themselves as much as those who are offered a drink and a selection of tasty canapes.
Employers are now beginning to recognise that to attract contingent talent to their organisations, they have to be inclusive with regards to those employees who are filling important gaps in their organisations – not treat them as ‘others’. This starts with onboarding and continues through to offering a range of benefits that might not normally be extended to permanent employees, in order to maximise engagement and retain vital talent.
The specific CVP offering may not be exactly the same as that available for permanent employees, but it should reference:
- The importance of financial security & terms of the contract (i.e. value, length of contract and what’s expected of the contingent worker)
- The factors of a particular high value or priority project can bring for exposure and experience
- The learning and growth opportunities that are available
- The association of working with the end organisation
- Risk management (in terms of data security)
- Future opportunities in the organisation contract or perm
- Any training required or provided,
It should also have a strong focus on EDI and ESG, in particular the simple act of acknowledging differences in order to move forward. Other actions employers can take is to offer implicit bias training for both full time and contingent employees, providing mentors, encouraging people to learn by doing, and supporting personal reflection.
Omni can help you develop your CVP
It’s well documented that an organisation’s EVP can have many positive benefits including reduced hiring costs, an enhanced talent pipeline, more effective succession planning, increased employee engagement and a better corporate reputation, ultimately impacting positively on ROI.
However, those benefits can also be achieved by offering a great CVP to employees and to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of contingent recruitment strategies.
Find out more about Resource in Motion, resource management for an agile workforce, here.