The Cost of Doing Nothing

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Case Study

The Cost of Doing Nothing

With a challenging first quarter of 2023 for the recruitment sector across most industries, it is becoming increasingly clear that the contingent workforce can help businesses stay lean and, importantly, ahead of the competition. Flexibility, cost effectiveness and niche key skills are only some of the reasons.

As a recruitment solutions provider specialised in contingent workforce solutions, at Rethink we know first-hand the benefits of working with freelancers, consultants, temporary workers, and gig workers. These professionals offer a unique blend of expertise, experience, and flexibility that can help your business thrive in today's dynamic market. You are likely to fall behind without engaging this sector of talent…

But who engages the talent?

The responsibility for the contingent workforce has flip-flopped in recent years. Traditionally we saw procurement leaders and even CIO’s/Department leads take ownership of the MSP or contractor services. Post the implementation of IR35, we saw a period of transition where HR/Talent leaders started taking accountability for Total Talent within their organisations.

However, despite the experience/education gap, we experienced some brilliant conversations with HR/Talent leaders, as owning the contingent workforce enabled holistic workforce planning, exciting new DE&I initiatives for this space, and a microscope on the complete talent acquisition process. All market changing projects that were truly needed at the time.

However,  a LOT of organisations haven’t embraced the change. Many organisations have kept the contingent workforce with procurement to drive cost initiatives and looked to improve the quality of the talent coming through the door. Some, smart strategic decisions and some brought forward by the vast differences between talent acquisition across permanent employment and the contractor world. Of course, there's the complicated tax system in the UK, let alone the rest of the world that differs by country and the uncertainty around the correct onboarding procedures.

But there are also questions like- "Am I getting the best talent for the right cost?" and thoughts, such as - "These costs look expensive as a day rate"... And finally, the magical question: "What about the employers' National Insurance?"

What’s with all the acronyms?

The period of change associated with shifting accountability to HR/Talent leaders clearly required some learning as the acronyms must have been overwhelming…. AWR, ECM, EA Regs, IR35 to name just a few…

Most of them are a bit boring, complex and governance-focused. This is where the headline comes in. The compliance and taxation of the contingent workforce is not a typical Talent Acquisition or HR activity and I have seen the knowledge, risk and cost gap growing in this space over the last 3 years.

It is, however, to easy to overlook all of these acronyms and move on to another more exciting project. The value is in ensuring your contractor workforce is engaged correctly, managed compliantly and is very easy to onboard. This is what we do at Rethink.

Cost of doing nothing…you said?

The cost of doing nothing is growing in a lot of organisations! One common scenario we find is running a “not so watertight” IR35 process. In this case, workers are deemed “outside” based the hiring manager’s opinion. Another such scenario relates to business leaders turning to Statements of Work (SoW) to avoid HR/talent engagement and the dreaded acronyms.

Let's all be clear: SoW is a very dangerous game to play if you are not transparent on engagement process, set clear accountabilities and ensure you know who is working in your business and on what contractual grounds.

Our advice? Don’t let risk in the door by doing nothing to implement great onboarding processes.

The bottom line

In the next 5 years, over 28% of the specialist workforce is predicted to move into freelancing, temporary assignments, and other types of contingent workforce facets. This is set to enable even more access to top talent from around the world and decreased overhead costs…as long as companies find the key to opening this door.

The great part is we’re already doing this with the likes of Boots, Shell, Warner Bros. Discovery, Eurosport, Hilton, N Brown, Chelsea FC, and Warner Music. Simply put – we help our customers manage the gap. We do all the boring stuff 😊 and allow Talent/HR/Procurement teams to get on with the exciting stuff. We manage full workforce compliance, IR35 risk, audit, and governance. We also do great talent acquisition, embed market leading DE&I solutions, and give you brilliant MI for every metric you could imagine.

The cost of doing nothing is too high and you will get left behind if you do not have a strategy to manage this workforce… Let's talk!

Authored by
Lee Stebbings
Operations Director - MSP

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