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KPIs to measure in a successful contingent workforce program

Whether your organization is currently operating a mature contingent workforce program, is planning to engage contingent workers or your efforts are currently somewhere in between, leveraging workforce data will take time and experience. However, the keys to successfully managing contingent workforce performance will require KPIs that include cost, quality, efficiency, customer feedback and risk.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure – says the old business axiom, and most successful organizations.
As you examine the performance of your contingent workforce, it’s important to know exactly what it is you should be  measuring and the factors that drive a successful program.

It is very common for organizations to make the mistake of evaluating their contingent workforce program based solely on cost savings and speed, but in today’s era of talent scarcity those metrics only tell part of the story.

KPIs: How do you measure the success of your contingent workforce program?

It’s critical to be aware of what, exactly, it is you should measure and the factors that drive a successful program. While performance indicators surrounding cost savings and time to fill are common metrics most companies are measuring, contingent workforce management is much more complex than that.

There are many different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) companies can use to track and measure success; however, it’s imperative that the ones you choose directly reflect the goals your organization has set for its contingent worker program.

Top 5 Contingent Workforce KPIs to measure in your program 

Regardless of whether you’re operating your contingent workforce internally or  your organization has engaged a managed services provider (MSP) to implement a new program, here is a list of KPIs you should be thinking about regarding when it comes to contingent workers and contingent workforce management:

1. Cost

Saving on costs is a consistent factor in contingent workforce management, with organizations ranking contingent workforce costs as a top five spend category. However, cost management does’t just include bill rate and governance — but the total costs of the overall program. This means tracking things such as:

• Competitive candidate pay rates
• Percentage of rate-card compliant workers vs. non-compliant workers
• Talent acquisition and turnover
• Program tools and resources
• Software
• Data management and analysis
• Office resources and supplies
• Uncontained risks/non-compliance fines and penalties
• Vendor rates
• Overtime costs
• Conversion fees
• Spend forecast

Inconsistencies in these areas lead to a lack of visibility that could be costing a business thousands if not millions in avoidable contingent spend.

2. Quality

Fifty-three per cent of organizations list quality as a top factor in their contract workforce program, and 78 per cent select it as one of their top three considerations. Typically, these objectives can be broken down and measured in three categories:

i.  Program operations
ii. Talent services
iii. Vendor services

i. Program operations
Acquiring and managing contingent talent can be a time consuming and very rewarding process. Even for organizations with a solid program; it’s good to track things such as:

Job descriptions and submission rates
• Number of applicants
• Placed talent vs. rejected candidates
• Number of times a job description has been re-written
• Changes made to skills and qualifications sections

Supervisor or manager performance
• Time to fill
• Retention
• Which manager is the best at spotting and developing talent and which ones fall short?
• Manager evaluation  

ii. Talent services
Thirty-eight per cent of organizations list service quality as one of their top three considerations. Yet many still aren’t measuring it. Talent quality can be measured by tracking things like:

• Manager satisfaction
• Percentage of completed assignments on time and on budget
• Early contract terminations
• Contract extensions
• Worker evaluations
• Diversity
• Would you re-hire and use this worker or recommend for another role

iii. Vendor services
Whether your organization has been operating a contingent worker program for years or you’ve recently been engaged a Managed Service Provider (MSP), it’s important to track the factors that drive a successful program. You should be tracking things like:

• Requisition inquiries
• Responsiveness
• Fill rate
• Time to hire
• Resume to job opening and resume to interview rate
• Talent
• Worker dis-engagement
• Percentage of candidates that complete pre-assignment documentation, background checks, drug screenings and other required documentation
• Rate card adherence
• Results of audits

3. Efficiency

Measuring the efficiency of your contingent worker program involves tracking the speed, accuracy and success rates of various processes and establishing accountability among the parties responsible. Typically, these parties include: hiring managers, vendors and talent.

Hiring managers
• Time to fill
• Time to respond or approve
• Worker evaluations: Are they being completed? How often and how long  do they take?
• Worker onboarding and offboarding

• Candidate quality and speed of submittal
• Accuracy of candidate qualifications
• Candidate engagement
• Onboarding and offboarding
• Compliance
• Invoicing and payment
• Financial/transaction reporting

• Early contract terminations
• Contract extensions
• Percentage of completed assignments on time and on budget
• Manager satisfaction rates

4. Risk

Identifying and mitigating areas of risk in your contingent worker program is critical to avoiding the unforgiving fines and penalties of non-compliance. To keep compliant, it’s important to track things like:

• Worker misclassification
• Criminal behavior
• Counterparty risk
• Employer standards compliance
• Code of Conduct
• Financial irregularities
• Co-employment

5. Satisfaction Surveys

In today’s talent market, it’s important to measure not only hiring manager satisfaction but also supplier satisfaction and perhaps most importantly, candidate satisfaction to ensure a quality contingent workforce program. Sending quarterly surveys to measure your NPS score will also lend to an your organization’s continuous improvements efforts. 

If your organizations isn’t viewed as a client-of-choice, and your program is experiencing more challenges than advantages, it’s likely talent and vendors will choose to to do business with another company.

The role of a Vendor Management System

The complex nature of managing a contingent workforce means the use of a Vendor Management System (VMS) is crucial to gaining complete visibility into the performance of your program.

A Vendor Management System (VMS) will help organizations manage their contingent workforce far more efficiently and cost effectively. The technology will automate talent acquisition, onboarding, offboarding and payroll workflows for greater control and visibility into data. It’s estimated that organizations that implement a VMS reduce contingent workforce costs by 10 to 25 per cent.

However, technology and human capabilities must work together in order to achieve a successful contingent workforce program. As the workforce and compliance legislations continue to evolve, and your company along with it, a Vendor Management System will not only help measure performance, but will also have the flexibility to adapt to the way your company’s workforce operates now and in the future.  

Mitigating risk

Identifying Independent Contractor risk is an important but tricky issue in contingent workforce programs. Effectively managing contingent program risk requires a collaborative approach between client stakeholders, ranging from procurement, legal, HR and business managers.

Get deeper insights into managing risk in your program by downloading our whitepaper: Checklist for Contingent Worker Risk:

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KPIs to measure in a successful contingent workforce program

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