Optimizing Your Contingent Labor Program in Today’s Economy

Posted by Alicia Morris

As the candidate’s market continues, insurers are adapting their talent plans to best meet the needs of their employees and customers. A low unemployment rate and high number of open insurance roles have given candidates the upper hand in terms of recruitment, with job seekers often receiving strong offers from multiple companies. As organizations recalibrate their total rewards packages to accommodate shifting employee expectations around flexibility, work environments and compensation, contingent labor programs are also being impacted. Here are a few areas to consider as you optimize your contingent labor plans for the current environment.

CWS Blog-05-1Increasing Demand
CWS Blog-04-2In our Q1 2022 Insurance Labor Market Study, conducted in partnership with Aon plc, nearly 20% of insurers shared they plan to increase their use of temporary employees in 2022. This is a record high for the study, and 6 percentage points higher than recorded in our pre-pandemic January 2020 study. The current demand is a result of multiple factors, including the resurgence of modernization efforts and other projects that were put on hold during the height of the pandemic, continued economic uncertainty, and attrition during “the Great Resignation.”

Additionally, the vast majority of insurers plan to grow their full-time headcounts this year, primarily due to increases in business volume and areas that are currently understaffed, according to our Q1 2022 Insurance Labor Market Study. However, recruiting difficulty is at its highest in the study’s 13-year history, further fueling the already existing need for temporary workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May report found temporary job numbers increased by nearly 13% year-over-year, with the addition of 390,000 new positions. To meet impending needs, it’s important for organizations to plan early regarding needs and staffing partners, while moving quickly throughout the hiring process and fostering a positive candidate experience.

Shifting Expectations
Inflation and changing employee expectations are also impacting insurers’ contingent workforces. Across the industry, we’re seeing inflated rate requests and individuals receiving multiple offers for projects. Even for temporary positions, professionals are seeking out opportunities that meet their personal needs and preferred work styles, while also providing competitive pay.

Make your assignments most desirable by offering enhanced flexibility when possible. Additionally, be clear and transparent regarding a project’s duration – often, individuals are looking for several months of work, and providing a definite schedule will help them feel more secure in accepting a position.

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Expanding Talent Pools
Unemployment within the insurance industry remains low, at 2.3%, prompting many insurers to expand their talent pools. Depending on the need, this may include looking for individuals with experience in other departments or even outside the larger insurance industry. Skills such as customer service, attention to detail, project management and many more are easily transferable, opening organizations up to additional qualified individuals. At the same time, offering work from home opportunities, when possible, can remove geographic boundaries and provide an even wider array of potential talent.

CWS Blog-02Enhanced Onboarding Processes
Onboarding has become even more vital to an individual’s satisfaction with a role and a project’s overall success. Reevaluate your onboarding processes to ensure they are efficient and streamlined, while providing the necessary information and resources. Plan for IT needs and equipment ahead of time and ensure individuals are able to quickly get up and running with minimal technical difficulties – especially those who are working in a remote capacity.

A strong understanding of individuals’ strengths and capabilities prior to a project enables you to tailor onboarding and training to supplement their existing knowledge base. This may include training around specific systems, tools and databases or more project- or organization-specific knowledge. In many cases, technical skills are more easily taught than innate skills and attributes. Keep this in mind and be strategic on the front end of an assignment to ensure individuals are working up to their full potential.

As the insurance labor market evolves, temporary employees are vital for maintaining service levels and implementing larger scale projects. For more insight, view our posts on building a best-in-class contingent labor program and measuring your program’s effectiveness.