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Outcomes, not chair time: How to get the best results from your contingent workforce

As we move closer towards the Gig economy and more freelance ways of working, you have probably noticed a growing trend towards working and engaging with your contingent talent in a more agile and flexible way.   


Moreover, since the Covid-19 pandemic you’ll have become increasingly aware that this trend has accelerated, as the demand from talent for a more remote / hybrid approach to work has increased.   


Perhaps this change in the way people work has created a need in your organisation for better utilisation of expertise, more accountability, and more validity of successful completion of tasks, which in turn has introduced more demand for reporting and a more defined way of governing quality? 


You may even have discovered that working in this environment is less about managing the individual and worker output, and more about ensuring defined outcomes, which is the real measure.   


Therefore, your focus is shifting away from what your contingent workers are doing and how they do it and moving towards the quality and result of what they are producing.   


Whether you are familiar with the term yet or not, this way of working is known as outcome-based working and refers to how you intend for tasks and work to be measured and delivered.   


The beauty of outcome-based working is that it provides you with more measurable, accurate, and trackable ways of working and rewarding your contingent workers.  


With outcome-based working, the reward is in a job well done, not in how long it takes to get the job done. This does not, however, necessarily mean a significant increase in time or cost to deliver the desired outcome.   


So how does it work? 

The future of work is evolving and changing, and a more definitive, measurable, and accountable method of ensuring success is increasingly required. It’s no longer about finding the right skills; it’s about you measuring those skills.   


It will come as no surprise, therefore, that as the notion of hiring people against a defined set of targeted goals is gaining popularity, businesses just like yours are beginning to change how they recruit and engage with contingent workers and talent providers.   


A Statement of Work (SOW) will normally underpin any outcome-based work undertaken as they are intrinsically designed to define what needs to be provided based on outcome, and not skills. The SOW essentially acts as the framework for defining the necessary deliverables, and as such outcome-based workers tend to be contracted through a more structured service level agreement. The SOW will also define how the outcome is measured, tracked, and rewarded.   


To ensure a SOW is done correctly, assessing, and defining exactly what you want to achieve before undertaking any work is crucial. Once this has been achieved, SOWs are extremely effective at driving behaviours across the entire supply chain.   


Once the outcomes to be delivered have been determined, the next step is to define the quality metrics and performance indicators. This is all done through the SOW and service level agreement. You must take governance into account, how you will measure and track deliverables, the quality / validity and progress, as well as commercial reporting and budget.   


This can either be done manually, using your existing internal processes and people, or it can be done using cloud-based project management tools to simplify, improve and automate your process of governing outcomes, including capturing and creating accurate contracts of service and SOWs across your entire supply chain.   


Regardless of how you choose to go about implementing an outcome-based strategy, this new way of working is here to stay. It’s about outcomes and results, not hours.   


Furthermore, the conversation is no longer simply about how to manage a remote or even hybrid contingent workforce. From unlimited vacation policies to asynchronous schedules, companies and their employees are having to adopt increasingly more flexible ways of working across the board. With these dramatic shifts, it is essential for you to rethink how success is evaluated in your organisation and to implement a worker performance model that is focused on outcomes and results, not chair time.   




Ready to adapt to the future of work with outcome-based solutions? Contact us today to explore how we can help your organisation thrive in the gig economy.