Workforce Strategies - Delivering efficiency & results

2 minutes

Workforce Strategies - Delivering efficiency & results

Drawing from our research and expertise, our latest report delves into workforce solutions designed to help you manage costs and build a better business. 

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Organisations are feeling the effects of a fiercely competitive market and evolving candidate expectations. Simultaneously, the workforce and talent solutions industry is navigating huge changes accelerated by global economic forces and digital transformation.

Here at Impellam, customer centricity is our North Star. To deepen our understanding and make sure we are delivering exactly what our customers need, we spoke to more than one hundred of our biggest clients from around the world and some key themes emerged:

·         Perhaps unsurprisingly, 50% told us that cost efficiency combined with cost transparency is their key concern for 2024 - cost savings, cost avoidance and budgetary control are king.

·         As a result of the changing markets and ever-evolving tech there is an increasing need for workforce solutions to be agile and able to react quickly, as well as a steely focus on finding the best talent in the market.

·         Then there is the ‘tech factor’ – how tech can be used to improve efficiencies and how organisations can find the talent needed to implement the latest developments that will provide a competitive advantage.

Based on these findings, here are some important workforce solutions designed to help you to manage costs and build better a business.


1. Exploring more ways to manage costs with expert delivery

The rapidity of technological change (including increases in cyber threats) means that many organisations have had to face an inconvenient truth: they don’t have the skills to drive the technology changes needed to compete, or survive, in the new normal. For smaller organisations that can pivot quickly, the outlook isn’t so sobering. But larger organisations, that are struggling to adapt their legacy tech to rapid change, are feeling the urgency – especially when it comes to competing with those disruptive startups. This means that finding more ways to attract the skills needed to get work done – especially change and transformation work – is now front and centre for many organisations.

“The hunt is on for delivery partners who can support organisations in this time of need – and what organisations are looking for has changed. For many businesses the ‘hire and hope’ solution of contractors is becoming too risky – both in terms of cost and performance. This is why we’re seeing a shift to buying outcomes, or deliverables, gaining momentum globally.” — Steve Corbett, Client Services Director, Impellam UK’s Science, Technology, and Engineering (STEM) brands.

Outcome-driven projects (or deliverables-based Statements of Work) with a trusted partner can provide a more competitive process for buying services, potentially offering far better value for money. Businesses get a team of experts who are experienced in delivering similar projects, along with the agility to pivot left or right mid-project. Clients get a skilled tech team with the horsepower needed to get the project done properly, along with experienced project managers. Crucially, they have the peace of mind thanks to knowing that if a partner doesn’t deliver as agreed, they don’t get paid.


2. The rise of Direct Sourcing

While many organisations have strong supplier partnerships, they are also looking to increase the proportion of direct hires to gain greater control of their talent pool. As a result, Advanced Direct Sourcing by Managed Service Providers (MSPs), is set to become a key trend.

Direct Sourcing involves leveraging your employer brand to attract, curate and engage exclusive talent pools to support contingent hiring needs and the easy re-deployment of valuable workers. Alongside the wish for greater control of the talent pool, and the ongoing need to make cost savings, there are other factors contributing to this trend. One is data. Hiring and talent data can be too cumbersome to interpret or leverage, but a Direct Sourcing partner can give organisations the data they need, in a way that’s simple and actionable, helping keep talent communities buoyant and engaged. This boosts the efficiency, agility and speed of hiring processes – without sacrificing the quality of hires – so helping address talent shortages in this increasingly tight labour market.

“We expect more organisations will leverage their employer brand to attract and engage contingent labour through technology-enabled talent communities and direct sourcing. This will pave the way for a more integrated approach to workforce solutions.” — Sara Gordon, SVP Client Relationships, Guidant Global.

The right MSP will offer a cutting-edge CRM and recruitment automation technology to reduce admin and drive efficiency when it comes to identifying and nurturing communities of talent. This technology leverages AI and Machine Learning for superior candidate matching and personalised automation at scale, while providing a single platform to manage the complete lifecycle of a candidate, from engagement and placement to offboarding and redeployment. Crucially, it frees up time for recruiters to work on all important elements like relationship building. For many organisations, the optimum approach is to mix recruitment supply chain and Direct Sourcing. However, this can lead to complexity. Again, this is where an expert MSP partner can add value by managing suppliers – especially in the realm of technology hiring where the competition is fierce.

“The trend towards a blended workforce can create complexity, which needs to be supported and solved. We recommend finding a trusted advisor to guide you in achieving the optimal mix of fulfilment – a mix that combines supply chain and Direct Sourcing. And a specialist MSP can be invaluable when it comes to providing STEM expertise. It’s the smarter, faster, better approach to building a custom and scalable talent pipeline. And don’t forget to flex your EVP!” — Alexa Bradbury, Global Marketing Director, Impellam Global Managed Services.

Last but not least, a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is crucial in attracting a contingent workforce, especially given that around 40% of today’s global workforce is non-permanent. We recommend approaching your EVP as a framework, not a fixed entity. Create numerous pillars for competitive differentiation, such as project-based work, diversity or innovation. And to be really thorough, carry out voice of the candidate work to understand the experience of people in these roles. This feeds back into personal development and then into effective talent marketing campaigns.


3. Closer HR and Procurement alignment to deliver strategic workforce management

HR and Procurement, having been traditionally siloed, are having to come closer together, aligning their strategies to respond to talent shortages, skills gaps and the need for greater organisational agility and cost savings. This is fuelling a move towards strategic alignment, the bringing together of attraction and strategic and agile management of both the contingent and permanent workforce. The key reasons are talent and cost; in a tighter market with economic uncertainty, organisations need to gain better control of their entire workforce so that they can identify and leverage the skills they have at their disposal, and they are increasingly looking for new opportunities for more aggressive cost avoidance and cost savings.

“HR and Procurement together have a full view of organisational needs and strategy. When you combine that with the specialist knowledge from influential leadership and expertise from specialist workforce and talent solutions providers, it is a powerful combination that delivers meaningful, cost-efficient results.” — Claire Marsh, CEO, Impellam North America.

We’re talking to customers about how they can create better alignment to enable visibility and control. Because until they’ve got control and alignment, the issues remain: squeeze here and expenditure increases there – across permanent and contingent talent. Without gaining control, businesses are often moving problems from the most cost-effective to the least cost-effective solutions.

A successful strategic workforce management approach needs buy in from HR and Procurement leads, as well as other key leadership, such as the CIO/CTO who have oversight of the strategy and its implementation. It needs open conversations about pinch points and talent challenges, consistent sharing and analysis of workforce data between the functions, and strategic alignment on how to attract a workforce that can deliver on the organisation’s objectives. When this is done well, it gives businesses greater control and oversight of their talent ecosystems and transforms a reactive approach to a proactive one, which in the current market we’re seeing can be a key competitive differentiator.

“With the trend towards a more holistic approach to talent landscapes, organisations can certainly benefit from working with an expert and flexible workforce solutions partner to help them navigate the internal complexities that may arise as a result of the shift in approach. There’s no one size fits all, so partners need to provide bespoke solutions along with the expertise to advise on adapting nimbly to changing market conditions.” — Annelise Smith, Managing Director, Lorien Managed Solutions.


4. The importance of Social Impact and working with hard-to-reach communities

Another factor feeding into finding the right talent is the trend for increasingly purpose driven candidates getting more selective about where they want to work. In a recent survey, 87% of employees in North America and 68% in the UK, France, Germany and Ireland said they prioritise organisations that share their values, and in Gen Z that is more pronounced, with 90% saying they would leave their current job for one that better matches their values. It’s a positive trend, but one that has implications for hiring and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion practises.

For all the talk of skills shortages, there are still groups of people who are under-represented in the workforce and/or overlooked by employers, from women in tech to the over-50s. Dig deeper and you’ll find barriers to employment that range from living with a disability to having a criminal conviction. Lack of confidence and connections on the part of candidates, and lack of flexibility on the part of employers, can restrict access and even exclude diverse communities from an organisation – and when competition for talent is fierce, it can make finding and keeping great people harder than it needs to be.

“These talent shortages are an opportunity to look at more diverse talent pools and organisations are beginning to prioritise Social Impact, locally or nationally, as part of their CSR or ESG agendas. I’d urge companies to get on board with that now and look at how social value can help drive their people and talent strategies. It’s not just doing the right thing, it is imperative and will be crucial in maintaining an engaged workforce and to gaining the trust of your customers.” — Chris Blackburn, STEM ambassador and Head of CSR, Impellam.

Many businesses are already working to drive social mobility in deprived areas by collaborating with schools, colleges, prisons and community groups. It’s great for communities and it’s excellent for forging and nurturing new talent pipelines. Increasingly, organisations are realising the value of work experience, apprenticeship and degree apprenticeship programmes too, which have the added effect of boosting the labour pool – a win-win for young people and for industry.

Ann Bookout heads up ED&I at Impellam. Looking at Social Impact through the lens of technology, she believes that advancements in tech will increasingly drive Social Impact.

“Given that AI will increasingly cover hard skills, opportunities are growing forthose with strong soft skills. This means that candidates from different backgrounds, with diverse perspectives, can progress with a less formulaic career route. A growing number of organisations have already developed programmes for learning on the job – and are making a strong Social Impact in the process.” — Ann Bookout, Global Head of Culture and Fulfillment, Impellam.

We recommend partnering with a workforce and talent solutions specialist that understands how best to tap into and nurture diverse talent pools – and can help with training and leadership programmes so that candidates from diverse backgrounds are ready to add value from day one.


As a Global company we recognise there are some regional market differences:

“It’s fair to say, the UK market is showing caution but resilience. We’re seeing customers being shrewd in their approach to talent and workforce strategies and welcoming of new solutions with demonstrable results. As a result, in the coming months I expect to be having even more conversations around important solutions like Advanced Direct Sourcing, services procurement and deliverables-based SOW, as well as increased interest from all industries for the specialist STEM talent needed to futureproof businesses.” — Simon Blockley, CEO, Impellam UK & Europe.


Brian Salkowski, Chief Experience Officer, Impellam takes an optimistic view.

“For North America, predictions for 2024 suggest an economic soft landing. And with consumer spending up, more capital projects are resuming, which bodes well for a bounce back across the workforce solutions market. However, competition will remain fierce, so I predict that this bounce back will see even more organisations being very careful about the kind of workforce solution partners they select.” — Brian Salkowski, Chief Experience Officer, Impellam.


Mark Coyle, CEO, Impellam APAC recognises the need for agility in workforce solutions.

“With unemployment at just 4%, Australia’s candidate shortages mean a lot of organisations are struggling to find skilled staff – especially in IT and healthcare. This has led to a growing trend for offshore recruitment, set to continue. I’d recommend partnering with an organisation that has the flex and expertise to deliver high-quality offshore talent where and when it’s needed.” — Mark Coyle, CEO, Impellam APAC.


Further Information

There are cost-efficient workforce and specialist talent solutions available to solve your most complex challenges. If you want to build a better business and would like some help navigating the market, get in touch -