Improving Quality Across Your Contingent Workforce Program

Welcome to the Conexis VMS guide where we look at everything you need to know to measure and improve quality across your organization's contingent workforce program. We hope it helps you drive improved ROI! 

The importance of the contingent workforce has increased significantly in recent years. In fact, according Ardent Partners, two percent of businesses now perceive contingent workers as a vital component of their overall workforce.  As a result, businesses spend a huge amount of their workforce budget on contingent workers.  

Yet despite the ever-increasing spend and utilization of contingent workers, the vast majority of organizations are still struggling to improve the quality of contingent workers that they source. 

That’s why Conexis VMS has created this guide, where we discuss everything you need to know to effectively measure and improve the quality of your contingent workforce program. We hope this helps you build a higher-quality contingent workforce that helps your business better meet its overarching goals.

Visibility is the Primary Challenge Holding Back Contingent Workforce Quality

So, why are businesses struggling to improve the quality of their contingent workforce programs? 

It comes down to one primary factor. Visibility.

Working on spreadsheet

The vast majority of businesses, particularly those with smaller contingent workforce volumes and lower spend, don’t have management practices, technology and standardized processes in place to gain visibility into, and control of, their contingent workforce program.

Ardent Partners estimates that a staggering 60 percent of all contingent spend is unaccounted for in financial, planning, forecasting and budgeting within the average organization.

Unfortunately, most businesses don’t see the ROI in investing in proper contingent workforce management processes. Instead, they allow their departments to manage their contingent workforce often using manual spreadsheets or internally built solutions. 

These spreadsheets and in-house solutions are the main culprit when it comes to lack of visibility into contingent workforce program performance. Spreadsheets are vulnerable to human error, they get saved in multiple locations across different departments leading to inaccurate figures, inefficient processes and staffing agency rates that are not standardized. 

Even worse, spreadsheets and in-house solutions aren’t often used at all. Contingent workforce data is saved in emails and never even entered into a centralized database.

As a result of these inefficient management methods, nobody across the organization knows which spreadsheet to use and what the right data is. 

This brings a huge number of challenges to a company’s contingent workforce management program, primarily a complete lack of visibility and control over two important success factors: 

  • contingent workforce spend;
  • and contingent workforce quality. 

That’s Why the Implementation of a Strategic Contingent Workforce Program is Necessary

Setting up contingent workforce program is complex, time-consuming and scary. Just the mere thought of building an actual program sends business executives, procurement leaders and HR professionals running for the hills.

But the thing is, it’s necessary. 

Employees working

When you manage contingent workers and staffing agencies with a strategic contingent workforce management program in place, your business is able to:

  • Improve the quality of your contingent workers
  • Mitigate risks within your contingent workforce program
  • Reduce program costs
  • Optimize the management of your staffing agencies and ensure they are performing as expected.
  • Gain complete visibility and control over your contingent workforce.

That’s because a contingent workforce program is a strategic process that is designed, planned and implemented to improve the management process of every step in your contingent workforce program, and to ensure the program is helping your organization meet its business objectives. 

A contingent workforce program will ensure that processes and rates are mandated across all hiring managers in your organization, that spend visibility is centralized in one location, and that internal efficiencies are being improved through automation. 

Most importantly, you’ll have visibility into how staffing agencies are performing and which contingent workers your business has engaged. This gives you unique insights into the quality of your contingent workers. 

A VMS Should Underpin Your Contingent Workforce Program

To better manage your contingent workforce program and improve contingent worker quality, it’s crucial that your business uses a vendor management system to centralize and standardize the entire process. 

Employees working on a VMS

A vendor management system, also known as a VMS or VMS software, is a software application that enables businesses to manage and procure contingent workers and manage the staffing agencies they source them from.

A VMS centralizes, automates and consolidates all contingent workforce program processes into one platform, ensuring that contingent workforce management is a company-wide, standardized strategy that focuses on program ROI.

Through the use of a vendor management system, organizations can address common contingent workforce challenges such as poor staffing agency partnerships, inconsistent contingent hiring processes, rogue spend, inefficient processes and low-quality talent.

Vendor management systems can help dramatically improve how you manage your contingent workforce program. And can you guess what that means? You’ll be able to significantly improve workforce quality as a result.

A vendor management system gives your business unique insight into staffing agency performance and contingent workforce quality, giving you the visibility you need to evaluate whether the program is meeting your contingent workforce quality requirements. 

Ensure You Are Partnering With the Right Staffing Agencies

A huge part of landing high-quality contingent talent for your organization is the ability to partner with the right staffing agencies. 

Business handshake

While it might seem like a simple solution to just partner with the “best” staffing agency or the one you’ve heard about the most, that doesn’t always mean that your business is partnering with the right staffing agency. 

Remember that a staffing agency acts as an extension of your business. They will source and engage talent on your behalf, so it’s important that you are working with a staffing agency that is experienced and specialized in finding high-quality talent for your specific industry.

Some companies may be able to just partner with one staffing agency to fulfill their contingent workforce needs, while others may need to partner with a wide range of agencies with experience and specialization in different locations and different skills. 

Either way, partnering with the right agency will help you make dramatic strides in ensuring you source high-quality talent. 

With that in mind, here are a few of the top questions to ask when partnering with a staffing agency:

  • Is the staffing agency experienced in your industry?
  • Does the staffing agency understand, and have experience in sourcing, the unique skills that my business requires?
  • What is the staffing agency’s response time? 
  • What is included in the staffing agencies bill rate?
  • What guarantees does the staffing agency offer when placing workers?
  • What will the staffing agency do if the contingent worker source isn’t a good fit? 
  • How fast can the staffing agency send your business contingent workers? What is a typical hiring timeline?

Learn more… 

How to Choose a Staffing Agency for Your Company’s Unique Requirements

Are You Measuring Contingent Workforce Program Quality?

Measuring contingent workforce quality may seem like a bit of an abstract concept that can’t be defined, but what it really comes down to is evaluating how your staffing agencies are performing. This will give you a good indication of the quality of your contingent workers.

VMS metrics

The data and staffing agency performing reporting that you can gain from the use of a vendor management system can give you insights into whether staging agencies are meeting your workforce requirements and the quality of the contingent workers they are sourcing. 

You can use this data to address areas within your contingent workforce program that need improvement, as well as discover new opportunities where you can improve the quality of your talent acquisition.

There are a few key things that will give you insight into contingent worker quality, including:


How many contingent workers are leaving your organization before their project or contract is up? High turnover is usually an indication that your staffing agencies are sourcing candidates that don’t have the quality to undertake the role that you are trying to fill. 

✔️Interviews to Hires ratios

This recruitment metric calculates the percentage of candidates submitted by a staffing agency that is ultimate hired by the business. This is a great measure of how well your contingent workforce program is doing in regards to sourcing and screening candidates. The fewer number of interviews you need for a hire, the better effective your business is at placing contingent workers into your organization - as long as your talent quality isn’t declining.

✔️Contingent worker feedback

Feedback from contingent workers can give you crucial insights into the quality of your contingent workforce program. If feedback is positive, it’s clear that you are acquiring contingent talent that’s meeting your needs. If feedback is negative, your business will need to look into whether that’s down to your contingent experience or if candidates just aren’t matched up appropriately to the right roles.

✔️Fill rate

This is the number of position orders received by your staffing agencies during a specific time period, compared with the number of job orders they actually filled. If your staffing agency isn’t close to the fill rate number set by your organization, there might be some underlying issues that need to be addressed.

✔️Contract extensions

Regular contract or project extensions are a good indicator that the contingent workers you sourced are doing their job well, and that means they are high-quality workers. If, on the other hand, your business isn’t extended contracts and projects then you either might be sourcing low-quality talent or you’re letting high-quality talent go. You need to find out which one it is.


The number of calendar days it takes staffing agencies to fill open positions will give a good indication of how qualified they are to source quality talent for your business. The longer it takes them to fill open positions, the more likely your business is to miss out on top talent to your competitors. 

When you better manage your staffing agencies and gain insights into how well they are performing, you’ll be able to dramatically improve the quality of your contingent talent. 

Learn more… 

Using Vendor Management Software to Measure Staffing Agency Performance

About Conexis VMS

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