CWS Summit 2023 - Three Takeaways from Day 2

2 min | Robert Moffat | Article | | Workforce management

On the background there's a banner with the words: Empowering you to get work done better. In front of it there's a table with grey water bottles with the Hays logo and a paper stand with a QR code.

Day two of the Contingent Workforce Strategies Summit in Dallas brought a full and diverse agenda from analytics and supplier diversity to benchmarking and talent platforms, but the leading theme was workforce strategies and transformation.

Getting Work Done  

The “Workforce Transformation” panel discussed the change from the historic approach of hiring for a “job spec” to the near future where we “Don’t think about a job, (but) think about the work.” 

Many managers demand that they “need a SoW” or “need a contractor” rather than outlining  the “work to be done.” These requests are often influenced by the previous experiences of the manager and predetermine the answers, potentially limiting the options considered and skills available. 

If you can objectively break down the work, you may discover a different or better way of “getting the work done”. Could, and should, that work delivered by a freelancer, outsourcer, a robot, the human cloud or split between any combination of these. 

However, to achieve this new way of thinking about, and engaging, skills and expertise will require a change in behaviour and the panel agreed there are two primary enablers required:

  • Expertise - advice and insights to lead the manager through the journey of better defining the work and outlining the options. 
  • Sponsorship and support - “You have to have buy in from the C suite from the highest level (to implement change)” but when you succeed, stakeholders are soon asking “why is this not everywhere yet?”

The change in how we view the “work to be done” is coming but we are early in the journey.

Make It Simpler Not Harder

One of the questions posed in the “Reimagining Your Talent Strategy” session was why we “create a complex relationship between work and the workers” at a time when skills in many areas are at a premium.

While some legislation is outside the control of a contingent workforce program, the policies, processes and technology can often be streamlined. One contingent leader openly admitted to focusing on ”How do I spend less time doing the things that keep me away from my family,” and applying this same approach to streamlining the contingent workforce process. 

The later session on the “Holistic approach to becoming an employer of choice,” also looked at the same challenge but from the lens of worker experience and how technology can be used to “engage with talent in meaningful way” 

With the proliferation of technologies and services and increase in regulations, the challenge is how we make this a seamless, easy and engaging experience for all stakeholders.

Change is Hard

The success of all the plans laid out in the strategies and transformation sessions were dependent on effective change management and, as one panellist freely admitted, “change is hard.”

Another leader when asked about the implementation stated that “If I had to go back and do it again, I would have been more vocal about the need for external support.” 

The panellist agreed that whether it’s a new technology, provider or whole program, the keys to success are:

  • Early identification and management of key stakeholders. 
  • Selling the vision and benefits. 
  • Ensuring you have the right change and project managers expertise engaged.


Overall, a number of exciting opportunities in how we view “getting work done” and the technologies that will enable it, but also challenge in actioning that change.


About this author

Robert Moffat
Global and Americas Head of Solutions, Enterprise Solutions at Hays

As Global and Americas Head of Solutions Robert is part of the global leadership team responsible for innovation and product development. Having lived and worked for Hays in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas he has been instrumental in a number of Hays’ global projects including the roll out of a Global Operating Method, Supplier Engagement Strategy, the evolution of our direct sourcing approach and a quick deploy RPO service for start-up and high growth companies.

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