Workforce engagement is a term you will hear and read more about in the future. In today’s business environment the role of the contingent employee has changed as companies leverage freelancers and contractors at an accelerated rate. This creates new opportunities and challenges for HR departments to change their strategy when planning and creating recognition, incentive and reward programs. Focusing on engagement of only direct employees excludes an increasing percentage of the company workforce. Here are five realities you should know as you approach this trend toward workforce engagement.
Workforce Engagement Description
Workforce engagement is similar to employee engagement, but extends beyond just the employees your organization directly employs to include contractors, freelancers or even partners who work with the company.
Contingent Workforce Hires are on the Rise
The reality of today’s business environment is that contingency workforce hires are on the rise, particularly amongst mid to large size companies. A research report conducted by Tower Lane Consulting, commissioned by online platform company Elance indicates that in 2014, 60% of enterprises are planning to increase hiring of freelancers. Fox Business addresses this change, in the scope of “just-in-time hiring”. The hiring of contractors is no longer being seen as a tactical business move, but a strategic one. The contingent workforce can help fill talent gaps when special skills are required for a short term initiative or when critical talent is needed quickly. But the need to engage on all levels still remains.
Customization is Key
Workforce engagement can be difficult when it comes to personalization. You might not know everyone as well, because they may not work in the same office or even the same state. It can be tough to reach the level of connection required to fully understand how to properly engage all parties. Technology tools can help make customized programs easier to develop and manage.
Global Workforce Engagement
Workforce engagement, similar to employee engagement, can be implemented globally. As the world gets larger in population, it gets smaller in the sense of communication and engagement. Companies are expanding into different markets all across the globe, with very few limitations or restrictions. It isn’t uncommon to have a workforce in multiple countries and even continents. Workforce engagement is still needed and valued anywhere in the world, but the different cultures can also affect the personalization needed for success.
Communication is Critical
Make sure communication doesn’t stop with employees only, but includes the entire workforce. If your organization is similar to most, it’s likely that strategies have been changed or adjusted at least once in the past twelve months. It can therefore be critical that everyone, starting with leaders and filtering all the way through your workforce, is clear on what the organization values and its mission. Additionally, having clear and transparent policies and procedures to follow can help your workforce be confident in how to approach their work, and confidence can boost morale, thus improving organizational output, bottom line improvements and overall success.
Employee engagement is not a new topic, but the addition and growing trend of contingent employee hiring is challenging HR departments to rethink this important strategy. The Recognition Council recognizes this challenge in a white paper on this topic, The Recognition Revolution. They state that in the not so distant future, “Human Resource leaders will, of necessity, play a more influential role than ever in creating organizational strategy, constructing answers to tomorrow’s questions, and bridging the strategy and execution that rely on human talent for success.” To remain competitive, companies are changing their approach when it comes to HR, organizational strategy, and the new workforce community.
Are you considering including contingent employees in your employee engagement program? We’d like to hear how you are approaching this new trend. Leave your comments below.