Challenges and Opportunities of Managing a Global Contingent Workforce

Alex Margolin April 16, 2018

As your company anticipates entering new markets, your organization will require a workforce that can quickly adapt to changing market conditions. One way to ensure your company optimizes the talent pool is by engaging and embracing a global contingent workforce.

What is a Global Contingent Workforce

The term ‘global contingent workforce’ refers to the increasing number of workers who are engaged by organizations on a non-permanent basis, such as consultants, freelancers or temporary contract workers. A global contingent workforce enables companies to utilize foreign workers and to tap into specialized remote workers who are not necessarily available in their domestic markets.

In today’s globalized business environment, having a global contingent workforce as part of a workforce is becoming the norm. Up to 40% of the US workforce is classified as contingent, a 10% increase from a decade ago. This rise in global contingency can the attributed to a number of factors including

  • Direct access to local payroll suppliers
  • Adequate technology to support managing a global contingent workforce.
  • Trusted engagement thanks to verified suppliers and safe transactions.

Using service providers to handle a global contingent workforce is no longer a luxury for fortune or enterprise companies. Today, even small companies can benefit from a large range of global suppliers with the right platform. Still, the use of contingency workers creates its own  problems including: transparency, labor compliance, data protection, intellectual property risks and the management of a global payroll.

Transparency and Visibility

Tracking a global contingent workforce can be challenging for the planning, forecasting and budgeting of any company. Many organisations without a centralized system find their data is scattered and complicated to analyse.

Similarly, whilst managed service providers can arrange local payroll suppliers, they will often choose their preferred local payroll supplier, taking away your ability to determine for yourself who the best local suppliers are, according to your own standards of quality, credibility and costs.

In contrast, organisations that utilise a central global workforce management system have visibility and transparency at their fingertips, allowing them to make instant decisions when hiring workers, expanding or reducing the scope of work.

Managing a Global Payroll

Payroll is one of the most complex challenges for a global contingent workforce. International payroll encompasses many factors. People need to be paid on time, while adhering to domestic and international compliance regulations. Managing global payroll in-house requires many resources and an intricate knowledge of local laws, customs and languages. Incorrect payroll not only results in an unsatisfied workforce, but also leaves risk for non-compliance and heavy financial penalties from the host state that can damage your company’s reputation.

Employing the use of an automated payroll system enables your company to perform all the payroll functions that would otherwise have to be completed manually and audited by an accountant. All documentation is stored and issued centrally and always compliant regardless the country and the language.

Data Security Considerations

Working with local suppliers either directly or via managed service providers involves inefficient and insecure manual processes using email and excel. Not only are such processes error prone, but in an age of GDRP compliance they are no longer sufficient to meet even minimal data security requirements

Managing Your Global Contingent Workforce, The Easy Way

Contingent workers are playing an increasingly larger and more important part in a company’s staffing strategies. When managed correctly, they offer lower labor costs, increased organizational flexibility, better informed staffing decisions and an improved operational performance. Advanced centralized global workforce management platforms though provide a much stronger alignment between HR and your overall business goals. Such platforms give your company the tools needed to not only meet the challenges a global contingent workforce presents, but to thrive on them.