21 January 2022 — A holistic workforce does not just refer to the employees on your payroll, it also includes the external workforce who play a pivotal role in your organisation’s success. Industry research suggests that 58% of total workforce spend is on employees with 42% spent on the external workforce. As your organisation grows, it becomes increasingly demanding to track and manage your total workforce and their engagements effectively.
In our client conversations, we learn that many leaders find it challenging to track the progress of Statement of Work (SoW) engagements often due to poorly constructed or conceived SoWs. This leads to buyer's expectations not being met, missed delivery dates/milestones, budget overrun, excessive change orders and scope creep. What if there is a way for you to optimise all your SoW engagements?
Only 33% of leaders effectively track service providers’ progress against milestones & deliverables. Are you one of them?
If you’re struggling to get started, you’re not alone.
According to the SIA MSP 'Global Landscape and Differentiators' report 2021, SoW accounts for 88-93% of total external workforce spend, with the majority of industry insight suggesting the external workforce will continue to grow in size and importance. Our expectations is there will be increased alignment and understanding of SoW in the next 12 months, — along with the technology advancements we are seeing — we expect a marked increase SoW spend under management within Contingent Workforce programs over the next two years.
Gaining visibility of your SoW workforce will enable you to truly leverage the strategic advantage an external workforce offers. It is the critical first step in ensuring you can articulate the business case to evolve the management of your SoW engagements.
Not sure what your holistic workforce really is? Let’s take a closer look.
Here are some tips to help you embark on that journey of visibility:
- Establish benefits. Be clear on the organisational benefit you are looking to achieve through gaining visibility of your SoW population. Being able to clearly articulate the ability to manage risk, reduce cost, maximise ROI or support strategic decisions will help you get buy in from key stakeholders.
- Define. Align the definition of SoW in your organisation. Does this refer to time- and materials-based workers provided via a third party as well as those on deliverables-based contracts? Does this include or exclude your consultancy spend and your strategic outsourced deals? Are there clear worker definitions to enable categorisation of workers into the correct engagement type?
- Collaborate. Recognise that collaboration across procurement, finance and talent acquisition/HR is pivotal to successfully identifying your total workforce. This tripartite approach will ensure consistent messaging to business users and provide a more holistic picture of SoW workers/spend and the level of control you have in your organisation today.
- Analyse your data. Never underestimate the varying sets of data that requires analysis. Accounts payable data, lists of suppliers, to workers with access to buildings and/or systems are just a few examples of the types of datasets you may want to consider when trying to consolidate the hidden SoW workers.
- Set data review timeframes. Determine a set window of time for data analysis as SoW is a constantly moving beast.
- Track requirements. Ensure you have a mechanism for tracking net new requirements during the analysis phase, otherwise, your dataset will likely be outdated from 'day one'.
- Data management. Consider when you have the data, where you are going to store it, who is going to own it and how will you refresh it, before you commence your analysis. Do you have a technology platform to track workers and associated spend in the future?
- Be realistic. Don’t set out on this activity expecting to achieve 100% visibility of your entire external workforce. Remember that SoW management is a journey, and every journey begins with a single step.
- Align your resources. Ensure you have the right resources aligned to this journey. It is not always obvious from looking at the data, how you should categorise resources and determine the strategic direction to apply moving forward. It is crucial to involve subject matter experts to help navigate the nuances!
With an increasing reliance on SoW engagements, fragmented workforce management processes can be a significant stumbling block for organisations to leverage the strategic value of their holistic workforce. Research shows that companies with a highly aligned SoW strategy grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable than those with a fragmented approach! It’s time to evolve the management of your SoW workforce for successful business outcomes.
If you are struggling to gain visibility and control of your SoW engagements, we can partner with you to tailor and scale our solutions according to your needs. If you would like to learn more about SoW, please get in touch with me.