Benefits of an Omni-channel Experience

By Brad Martin, Senior Director of Product Marketing, PRO Unlimited

The workforce continues to evolve. About 40 percent of the U.S. workforce is comprised of contingent workers, which consists of temporary contract workers, freelancers, independent professionals, and independent contractors. This percentage is forecasted to expand in the short-term. In fact, 42 percent of U.S. executives expect to use more contingent workers in the next three to five years.

Corporations are using temporary workers in more significant roles across the enterprise and realize that it’s more effective to incorporate contingent workers into their culture similar to full time employees. To turn to the perspective of the worker, these career paths are becoming an increasingly attractive option, particularly for the best workers. No longer are they tied to one position for multiple years. They now have the freedom and flexibility to choose who they work for and for how long. Corporations thus can make themselves attractive to these in-demand individuals—and thus gain a competitive advantage in the war for talent.

Contingent Workforce Management

One primary way organizations are changing the contingent workforce landscape and optimizing their operations is through cloud technology; specifically creating an omni-channel experience. The "mobile workforce" is growing at a rapid rate and relies on the power and flexibility of cloud technology to deliver a robust and comprehensive omni-channel experience. And like many other industries, mobility is penetrating the contingent workforce management space; specifically, Vendor Management Systems (VMS).

More than ever, it is critical that VMS software is designed for an omni-channel experience. The concept of this experience is simple, effective, and required for the workforce. Users need to access major functions of the VMS from the web, mobile, tablet, and/or wearable. For example, workers can quickly review and approve timecards, expenses, statement-of-work (SOW) billing, among various other notifications and requests. Providing users with the capability to access their account remotely is more than just a convenience. It is the opportunity for users to access information that drives the right behaviors and efficiencies, and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the program.

Additionally, managers are increasingly mobile. Binding management to one channel— including their laptop often creates disruption. For example, consider a vice president of procurement who requires a unique position to fill. However, while in a meeting, he receives a notification for a candidate interview. Rather than wait until he returns to his desk to review the candidate’s resume, he can schedule the interview with merely a swipe, tap, and click, all in a matter of seconds.

Faster execution is also important for many contingent workers. A worker’s ability to easily access their VMS application to submit a timecard is not only required, but convenient. Through the power of the cloud, the workers have the freedom to complete a task from any device that would otherwise require access to a computer. Now, add the ability to push notifications to a workers’ smart phone or wearable that informs them they have outstanding timecards. This capability influences workers’ to submit them on time. Mobility removes the friction around these traditional processes and increases speed of execution.

These examples represent a number of benefits to both the manager and workers. Faster execution can mean the difference between identifying, interviewing, and securing a highly sought-after candidate or losing her or him to the competition. Faster decision-making is also important for many managers as it expedites processes. Lastly, the freedom to perform tasks from a device results in faster adoption of an omni-channel platform. Mobility enables on-the-go managers to better manage their contingent workforce and workers to optimize their tasks. In today’s contingent workforce space, these benefits represent the difference of winning or losing.