Today’s workforce is more complex and multi-faceted than at any other time in history. More types of working arrangements are being filled by a widening array of worker classifications, while regulatory policy and business rules struggle to keep apace of the change. With internet-enabled remote work capabilities driving the ongoing decentralization of the traditional workplace, it is not at all surprising that large, geographically sprawling companies are finding it more and more difficult to keep tabs on the diasporic workforce and this has some potentially risky consequences. Here’s what employers can do to mitigate the risk.
First, understand the challenge. What risks face an organization that cannot easily identify the location of any given contractor resource in a timely fashion? Here are a few:
- IC classification risk
- Co-employment risks
- Benefits administration risks
- Intellectual property vulnerability risk
- Physical plant security risks
- Workplace/occupational safety risks
Each of the above risks is already inherent in the utilization of a contingent workforce, particularly if proper controls and practices are not in place to ensure clearly defined business rules are enacted and enforced. How can such rules be effective for an organization if basic information such as the location of all non-employee workers is not easily accessible and accurate?
One procurement professional recently spoke with nextSource about this challenge, referring to it as “identity asset management.” In the conversation, nextSource urged this executive to press his organization’s Managed Service Provider provider (MSP) on their practices regarding the tracking and monitoring of the workers the program delivers. Next, the nextSource representative outlined the steps for engaging an MSP to ensure these location-based risks are fully met.
A strong MSP should have practices in place to coordinate with internal departments for the purposes of achieving visibility into the disposition of every single asset. There should, for example, be a process during onboarding to assign locations and provide location-specific badging, recorded in the VMS or (if no technology is utilized by the employer) within the records of the MSP. This helps to at least ensure contractors are situated in appropriate locations and can be easily identified.
There should be detailed policies governing the issue of employer-owned equipment—computers or otherwise. The policies should clearly dictate the process for issuing equipment upon engagement and for recovering it at the end of the engagement. This helps guard against the loss or theft of critical intellectual property as well as costly hardware.
The MSP should collaborate with the employer to issue a clear set of rules dictating an organization’s policies with respect to the use and utilization of ICs, making sure that any independent contractors working on site are not in violation of DOL regulations.
For more wisdom on keeping track of your contingent workforce, ask your nextSource rep for input.