Skip to main content
Contingent Workforce Radio

Contingent Workforce Radio

By Utmost
Interviews and actionable advice on contingent workforce program management and HR operations.

Hosted by Erika Novak, Head of Client Services at Utmost, and formerly leading and evolving contingent workforce programs at LinkedIn, eBay, and Brightfield Strategies.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo


Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


The Role and Focus of Contingent Workforce Business Partners feat. Facebook's Julianna Sanchez
Contingent Workforce programs at companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google are pioneering a role known as Contingent Workforce Business Partners. Somewhat similar to HR business partners, they work directly with the business on workforce needs, issues, and planning except the focus is on external talent. In this conversation, Erika Novak, Head of Client Services at Utmost, will discuss with Julianna Sanchez, Contingent Workforce Business Partner at Facebook, how this role differs from purely operational contingent workforce program roles, the relationship with the business, and challenges such as total talent. This casual Q&A will cover questions such as: What are the day-to-day activities of a contingent workforce business partner? What types of insights does this role bring to the business? What’s the relationship between an HR Business partner and a CW Business partner? Learn more about Utmost.
October 14, 2020
How to find talent to resource your company's contingent workforce program
Few people train to be contingent workforce program leads. It's not something you major in during college. And there aren't specialist recruiters focused on finding people for this role. So how do you uncover and nurture talent to staff your team? Erika Novak, Head of Client Services at Utmost, shares her perspective on what enterprises can do to prepare more people for this role.
October 10, 2020
What to consider when creating policies for your contingent workforce program
Your contingent workforce program is built on policies that ensure alignment with the law and corporate rules. This episode dives into how to best create new policies or guidelines. Do you have a preference for the term policy or guidelines? What's the difference? What are the considerations when creating policies? How does the program maturity factor into policymaking? Unintended consequences of creating policies?
October 2, 2020
The Complexities of D&I for your Contingent Workforce Program feat. Uber's Sr. Global Contingent Workforce Program Manager
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) within your workforce is no longer a nice-to-have in today’s environment. Not only is it a valuable social goal, but a Boston Consulting Group study also found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. Yet most discussion around D&I centers around an organization’s employee workforce and not the contingent workers who typically comprise 40% of the workforce. To be fair, there are different challenges to D&I within the contingent workforce. And the same systems that support diversity for employee hiring often fail to consider consultants, contractors, SOW workers, and others. In this live episode of Contingent Workforce Radio, we will chat with Jen Coe, Sr. Global Contingent Workforce Program Manager at Uber, to better understand some of the challenges and how we can find potential solutions to support D&I. How have the goals of diversity and inclusion evolved? What is the role of technology in diversity and inclusion for contingent workers? Which country requirements can make diversity and inclusion difficult?
September 25, 2020
CWS Summit & GigE 2020 Recap
Summary and analysis of the trends from the 2020 Contingent Workforce Strategies Summit and Collaboration in the Gig Economy conference. Erika Novak, Head of Client Services at Utmost, and Saad Asad, Sr. Product Marketer at Utmost, discuss: Mutiny against the MSPs Why did SOW management go missing? Have we aligned on.a definition of Direct Sourcing? What is the future of total talent? Why Diversity & Inclusion, the focus on skills, and talent brand mandate HR involvement in CW programs? PLUS, Utmost wins the Shark Tank award, and other happenings at GigE
September 18, 2020
What are the cost components of a contingent workforce program?
Contingent workforce programs obviously include your MPS and VMS fees, but what are the many other fees that add up to support your program. What are the hidden costs and where can you find price breaks? And more importantly, when should you invest in quality instead of cost-savings?
September 10, 2020
Why do we need separate categories of contingent workers?
Contingent staff, contractors, service providers, outsourced services, etc. Every company has a different set of categories for all the different types of non-employees that work for them. There's no global standard to arrive at these classifications so how do we even figure out the differences? In this episode, Erika Novak, Head of Client Services at Utmost, dives into how to arrive at categories for your non-employee workforce including what's a good starting point. You can expect to learn about: Which teams need to be involved to create the categories? Is there a right set of worker types to monitor? How much should managers care about the differences? Why can't I just classify them all as non-employees?
September 2, 2020
Best Practices for Implementing Contingent Workforce Programs Globally feat. Workday Sr. Program Manager
The natural evolution of many contingent workforce (CW) programs is to expand globally and include workers in multiple geographies. In fact, in Staffing Industry Analysts’ 2019 Buyer Survey, 32% of enterprises said they already had a global CW program, and another 49% planned to have one within two years. To better understand some of the challenges in implementing an international program, Kerry Kiley, Sr. Program Manager at Workday will share both best practices and pitfalls to avoid. Below are a few questions that we plan to discuss: What are the common difficulties of a global implementation? Are there cultural challenges for US-centric programs? How much needs to be localized vs. taking established frameworks? What other stakeholders should be involved?
August 24, 2020
The Headcount Shell Game: Why Managers Hide Contractors in SOWs feat. BP's Former Head of CW
Hiring managers just want to get work done. And long approval processes or eager staffing suppliers can lead to managers hiding contingent workers into larger service contracts. In managing a billion-dollar contingent workforce program at BP, Linc Markham, former head of Contingent Workforce, will chat through the real costs of hiding headcount and a few processes that enable all teams from HR to Procurement to the hiring manager to succeed. This casual Q&A will cover questions such as: Why do managers hide contingent workers in services contracts? What are the real costs of adding workers this way? What processes encourage this behavior? How can contingent workforce program leads support hiring managers? Which stakeholders need to be involved in the process?
August 17, 2020
Why do we need total talent management?
Why is total workforce management polarizing? Is there a case against it? Is there a time when it is a bad idea? In this episode, we chat with Erika Novak, Head of Client Services at Utmost, on why businesses need to adopt a total workforce mindset. A few of the questions that we chat through include: Does this current crisis advance the need for total workforce management? 70 % of HR leaders state that access to top-tier skillsets and expertise are the core reason for contingent workforce growth. Does total talent management need to fall under HR? What is’ HR’s role? First among equals? Or the leader of this initiative? Only 17% of businesses have integrated total talent data functionality today. But about 75% expect to have them by 2022. What is best-in-class total talent intelligence? Show Notes Blog: What are the Benefits of Total Talent Management? Report: HR Executive's Strategic Agenda for the Blended Workforce
July 30, 2020
Special: The HR Executive's Strategic Agenda for the Blended Workforce
Latest survey of HR executives and goals for the contingent workforce. Featuring COO and Co-founder of Utmost, Dan Beck, and VP of Research at Ardent Partners, Chris Dwyer. This is the audio fo webinar recording discussing this report: HR Executive's Strategic Agenda for the Blended Workforce Topic Areas include: Why total workforce management/total talent management can be a reality, not just a theory A strategic outlook on the criticality of real-time intelligence in managing the contingent workforce.  The core and advanced capabilities required for effectively managing the visibility, intelligence, workforce management, and tactical components of total workforce management, and; The four core items on the HR executive’s strategic agenda for 2020 (and beyond)
July 23, 2020
Process or Technology Changes? Don’t Forget About the External Workforce
A casual discussion with Wendy Stenger, Global Lead of External Workforce Programs at Thomson Reuters. Whether it’s a crisis like COVID-19 or a merger or a rollout of a new technology, these changes will drive new processes that your company will need to adopt. Usually, businesses invest significant time for change management with their employee workforce but forget about external workers like contractors or temporary staff that provide key support. In this discussion, Wendy will share why it’s important to include contingent workers in planning for new process changes and how to communicate those changes. Below are a few more questions that will guide the chat: How can you include contingent workers in process change discussions? What’s the role of the Contingent Workforce program team? How do you get process changes to the right parties (e.g. suppliers, workers, MSP, etc.)? What are some tactical examples of new protocols that you implemented?
July 16, 2020
How to Create a Strategy for Your Contingent Workforce Program
Erika Novak, Head of Client Services, at Utmost discusses how to create a vision, mission, and strategy for your contingent workforce program. We touch upon the following questions: -What is a contingent workforce program strategy? -How should this strategy align with your department's or overall business' strategy? -What are the different types of strategies a business can pursue? -Are there wrong strategies? -How can you figure out the right one to pursue?
July 9, 2020
Special: Is HR Ignoring Half the Workforce?
Listen in on a special episode featuring Jason Averbook (CEO at Leapgen) and Thomas Otter (Founder, Otter Advisory), two of the biggest thought leaders in HR technology. They’ll challenge HR buzzwords and get into the meat of how HR can’t ignore almost half the workforce anymore. This is especially true now that Gartner identified the growth of the contingent workforce as one of the nine trends facing HR leaders post-pandemic. Whether its the hiring manager experience or the archaic technologies used to manage contingent workers, Jason and Thomas will pinpoint what’s broken and share potential strategies for HR leaders to adopt. What you’ll learn: -What’s wrong with current HR processes for the extended workforce -Why ‘employee experience’ needs to become ‘people experience’ -How HR can better support managers’ relationship with external workers -Why talent management leaders need new success metrics for the total workforce
June 30, 2020
ProcureCon Contingent Staffing 2020 Recap
COVID-19, supplier management, and direct sourcing. ProcureCon Contingent Staffing 2020 Virtual featured a variety of topics. This episode will cover a few of the highlights and dive deeper into specific subjects with actionable advice for contingent workforce program leads. What should be the relationship between the MSP and the enterprise? Is there a new wave of more in-depth supplier due diligence? How can you make sure the CW program has a seat at the table during crises and other major business decisions?
June 18, 2020
HR Strategies for Workforce Recovery feat. Danielle White, VP at Collaborative Solutions
In this session, we plan to explore what strategic workforce planning looks like in the recovery phase of this crisis. This includes your workforce composition but also talent acquisition, job redesign, reskilling, digital adoption, and employer brand. Our special guest is Danielle White, VP of Global Customer Engagement at Collaborative Solutions You can expect us to cover questions such as: How can organizations scale their workforce in the recovery? What are the talent strategies that need to adapt within HR? What are the implications of strategic workforce planning for the contingent workforce?
June 4, 2020
Frustrations and Realities of Incorporating SOW feat. Steven Kekich
Statement of Work (SOW) management is considered the next frontier for contingent workforce (CW) programs. Third-party consulting firms or professional services can be a large source of external workers for a business, but many companies have not integrated them into their traditional CW program management yet.    While the benefits are bringing greater visibility, more control, and overall efficiency over the extended workforce, there are struggles with implementation. Problems vary from the business viewing every SOW as unique, technology obstacles, and program designs with conflicting objectives.   To better understand the challenges, we are inviting special guest, Steven Kekich, to discuss some of the ins-and-outs of SOW management based on his previous experience at organizations such as Amazon, Uber, eBay, and PayPal.   Below is a preview of the questions that we’ll be discussing:   -What has been your experience implementing VMS Statement-of-Work modules?  -As a contracts professional, what are you looking to create in a program?  -What would you advise people to consider before moving forward with SOW incorporation?
May 21, 2020
Improving Onboarding for the Contingent Workforce feat. David Sun, Strategic Sourcing at Salesforce
This deprioritization of the extended workforce frequently leads to higher turnover or productivity loss. Instituting structured onboarding, regular communication, and socialization with other employees can be simple steps to make contingent workers feel at home. To dive deeper on this topic, Erika Novak, Head of Client Services at Utmost, will chat with David Sun, Strategic Sourcing Manager at Salesforce, on questions such as:    -Why is the onboarding experience overlooked? -If you had a magic wand, how would you design the onboarding experience? -How can you better engage workers in your contingent workforce program?
May 7, 2020
Your Extended Workforce: Avoiding Short-Sighted Crisis Responses
Everyone and their mother is doing a show on how to respond to COVID-19. Some of the suggested strategies for organizations with extended workforces are great, a few of the strategies are obvious, and many of the strategies are short-sighted.   Crisis response and business continuity planning are essential, but it shouldn’t harm the long-term viability of major projects that you’re focusing on and key business goals.  When it comes to your contingent workforce, focus on cost reduction without any thought into the long-term viability of your program can be damaging.  For example, close-fisted pricing guidelines and payment terms may end up taking your suppliers out of business. Or perhaps across-the-board cuts and price reductions may not be in the best interests of the program owner.  We’re going to be chatting with Erika Novak, Head of Client Services at Utmost, on why some of the suggested strategies out there may be poor ideas or why you need to think closely about your own situation before you begin applying some of the potential tactics.   Below is a preview of some of the questions you can expect us to answer:  -What strategies regarding your contingent workers in a crisis might be short-sighted? -How can you ensure your external workforce program remains viable over the long-term? -What are some investments you can make in your program right now that will yield results later on?
April 23, 2020
What's Changing with the Contingent Workforce
For the average company, contingent workers make up about a third of the entire workforce, according to the Sierra-Cedar 2020 HR Systems Survey. Yet, they are often forgotten or deprioritized from our HR systems and processes.   To better understand this part of the workforce, we’ll have a casual chat next week with the always lively and insightful Erika Novak, who has over 15 years of experience in contingent workforce management at companies such as LinkedIn, eBay, and Brightfield Strategies.   Here are a few questions we’ll be focusing on, but the Q&A will be open so we’d love to get your thoughts in too:   -Why global contingent workforce management should be important to HR? -What needs to change and what is changing in contingent workforce management?  -What to consider during crises such as COVID-19 specific to your contingent workers? Read the full transcript and takeaways here:
April 9, 2020