There is no college degree offered to support contingent workforce operations and strategies. And those in the workforce solutions ecosystem hail from hugely disparate backgrounds — some from disciplines such as journalism, others from the fashion industry, many from business school, still others from the medical field. But we all are here, committed to making the world of work a better place.
How do we do that? Collaboration. As an SIA analyst and a former continent workforce program manager, I have seen firsthand the value of collaboration in our industry.
Each of us at some point has learned from others through collaboration. While SIA does offer industry certification, beyond that, people tend to learn from each other’s experiences and ideas. Why is this so important? Because together we are stronger and together we will continue to find better and faster ways to put people to work.
The entire workforce solution ecosystem is flourishing because of the success we have had as an industry in putting people to work. This is largely due to the willingness of like-minded individuals and companies to work together to be the best we can be. Professionals in this industry are quick to share best practices and thought leadership. Staffing firms share their knowledge with other staffing firms and with their clients. Buyers rely on that guidance from their key providers but also turn to other program owners for expertise and ideas.
SIA supports such collaboration through our membership programs and in-person conferences — we held our North America CWS Symposium Live and Collaboration in the Gig Economy events just last month. The spontaneous interactions that occur at such events are quite heart-warming. It is common to see buyer organizations connecting with suppliers, MSPs, VMSs and other ancillary providers to discuss challenges their programs may be facing or discuss ways to achieve program goals. What happens at these conferences are often the foundations of new products and solutions that enables a path forward to get better at putting people to work. Meanwhile, CWS Council membership provides recurring opportunities for buyer organizations to discuss challenges, share ideas and learn.
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The industry is continually evolving largely because its professionals do seek out others’ expertise and look for ways to challenge the status quo. If your program is facing a particular challenge or if you have recently overcome one, I encourage you to reach out to your suppliers and your peers to discuss what you need or what you have learned. It is through these interactions that the industry continues to serve its ultimate purpose: to put people to work.
But your discussion does not have to be based on challenges alone. Topics of collaboration are wide-ranging. What might a contingent workforce manager want to collaborate with a provider or a peer on? Perhaps you’re considering implementing the latest AI technology to test the skills of your candidates. Or you’re just beginning to look into the possibility of establishing a direct-sourcing program for your organization and you want to know what others’ experiences have been. Maybe you’re stymied on how to extend your company’s DE&I initiatives to your contingent workforce and are not sure what’s the best approach in your particular location. From topics like these to building a business case for a proposed change to understanding the evolved MSP model to developing vaccine policies, your suppliers and industry peers can be a valuable assets.
The workforce solutions ecosystem is by all accounts a very well-connected community; but what is motivating is the willingness of competitors, in many cases, to share ideas and challenges. Through this give and take, there is an underlying code of ethics that represents respect and, yes, collaboration to be the best we can be.