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The 2015 CWS Summit Europe took place in Amsterdam on Tuesday 21 April and Wednesday 22 April, 2015. The CWS Summit is an annual conference where international companies, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Vendor Management System (VMS) providers discuss the latest trends in contingent workforce management.
Van Nguyen, Operations Director at Pauwels Consulting, and Jan Fyens, Key Account Director at Pauwels Consulting, represented Pauwels Consulting at the CWS Summit. We had a brief interview with Jan Fyens about one of the most important trends in contingent workforce management: the increasing number of contractors, consultants and temporary workers in companies and the implications for talent management.
CWS Summit: “Excellent for sharing best practices.”
Jan, how did you experience the 2015 CWS Summit Europe?
Jan: The CWS Summit was very interesting. Just like last year’s summit in London, the 2015 CWS Summit was well organized. Participants came from various sectors from all over the world.
I have exchanged ideas, insights and best practices with many interesting participants. Time really flies when you’re having fun and when you can discuss ideas with interesting people all day long.
That’s good to hear Jan. What did you find most interesting at the summit?
Jan: That is hard to say because I have met a lot of interesting people and I have attended many inspiring presentations. René Carayol’s presentation about ‘Collaboration is the new leadership’, in particular, made a lasting impression.
When it comes to management and leadership, René Carayol is a true authority. His ‘inspirational leadership’ approach really appeals to me.
What do you think is the most important trend in contingent workforce management right now?
Jan: It is hard to name one predominant trend, but it is clear that companies increasingly count on contractors, consultants and temporary workers to complement their internal workforce. This trend will continue to grow.
And if the dynamics of the working population changes, the business world has to adapt accordingly. That is why conferences such as the 2015 CWS Summit are so important. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel time and again. It is more efficient to discuss the latest trends and to learn from one another.
CWS Summit: “Still unclear who will manage the external workforce.”
What else did you learn during the 2015 CWS Summit?
Jan: I have learned that for many companies it is still not clear who should be managing contingent workers such as contractors, consultants and temporary workers.
Some companies entrust their contingent workforce management to procurement, others to their HR department, and other companies to both departments.
Having said this, the majority of our HR and procurement relations confirmed they now have programs for contingent workforce management in place. Some companies manage contingent workers themselves, others manage suppliers (and their consultants and temporary workers) through Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and the use of powerful and efficient Vendor Management Systems (VMS).
Which brings us to the topic of talent management. Management is one thing, but who’s going to take responsibility for the personal and professional development of contingent workers?
Jan: Talent management was a major issue during the CWS Summit. On the one hand, companies want their external workers to develop in the same way as their own employees. On the other hand, it is hard for companies to invest in the continuous development of their contemporary workers.
So, what is the answer to this challenge?
Jan: The answer lies in a close partnership between companies and their suppliers. Suppliers such as Pauwels Consulting have to find the right people with the right knowledge and experience for the right project or task. Every time again. Furthermore, we need to invest in the continued development of our consultants.
As a supplier, we need to make sure that our consultants are able to adapt quickly to the culture and working environment of the teams they will join. We at Pauwels Consulting find this very important. That is why we devote a lot of energy and focus on:
1) The intuitive match between the values and vision of our clients, their specific project(s) and the consultant(s) we propose for these projects;
2) The development of our consultants at and with our clients.
This approach works like a charm.
CWS Summit: “Personal development and acknowledgement are crucial.”
How does this work in practice?
Jan: We at Pauwels Consulting only present consultants to clients when we are absolutely sure that our consultants will match the company culture and the teams they will join. We also make sure that our consultants can provide real added value to their projects and that they can and will be appreciated by our clients.
Opportunities for personal development and acknowledgement from our clients are crucial to make any contingent worker feel at ease. This in turn has a huge impact on the performance levels.
How does Pauwels Consulting stimulate the development of its consultants?
Jan: We stimulate the personal and professional development of our consultants as much as possible. If our consultants work on many short projects, they learn ‘automatically’. Every situation, every project and every new client provides new opportunities for learning.
If our consultants take on longer projects, we investigate their learning opportunities. We try to find ways for them to deepen their knowledge and to take on more responsibilities in their projects.
And – of course – we also focus on knowledge sharing between our consultants. The Pauwels Consulting Academy is still in its infancy, but from September 2015 onwards, our consultants will start sharing their knowledge and experience with their peers in a structured way. This knowledge sharing will be beneficial to our consultants, Pauwels Consulting and all our clients.
Have you met any other suppliers or companies who manage their talent in a different way?
Jan: Not really, but I did notice that our approach appealed to other companies and MSPs. We are on the right track, but in an ever changing world there is always room for improvement!
Well said, Jan. Thanks for the interview!
More information on contingent workforce management?
Do you want more information on contingent workforce management or talent management? Please send an email to Jan Fyens at [email protected] or fill out your contact details below. We will contact you shortly.
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