CWS Summit 2015 Day 1

Where we are going we don’t need roads, or HR

Reflections on day 1 of the Contingent workforce strategies summit, Europe 2015

Bryan Pena from Staffing Industry Analysts kicked off CWS Summit 2015 in Amsterdam this week with a passionate keynote address to an expectant delegate and vendor audience. He massaged a few egos and complimented the industry at large but made it very clear that the war for talent and its impact on contingent worker programmes, new and mature, has just got a whole lot harder.

Bryan conveyed a real opportunity that the work the industry puts in now will define the broader world of work for generations. The key to it being that as gen y, gen x, millennials and baby boomers move in and out of the total workforce, strategic planning has to be adapt to remain relevant. Younger generations of workers aren’t so motivated by cash and brand. They are interested in flexibility and skills that will secure their next assignment. From talent attraction to engagement and compliance, has a company taken the right strategy to make sure the right tech, partners and processes are in place to give the business what it needs?

My other major take away from the keynote is that a fascination with saving money and driving costs down is only a short term measure of success. If companies continue to define strategy by saving money they will fail. This seemed a bold statement and does depend on what you’re measuring but given a few hours to reflect makes perfect sense. You can’t keep driving costs down forever but you can focus efforts on quality, engagement and utilisation to provide value within a cw programme.

As a vendor delegate I have been lucky enough to drop into a couple of really interesting sessions on the first day. Kieran Brady from IQNavigator alongside Matt Jessop from Brightfield Strategies and Jeroen Droppers from Heinz painted a compelling argument for why the VMS is the obvious hub from where to build an Eco system to service cw programmes.

Ok so there maybe other logical places to integrate systems but with VMS providing control of spend, workflow and tracking of applicants, strong MI and now direct sourcing and other value ad through existing partner integrations the reasoning makes sense. I wonder what HR would have to say on that????

Bruce Morton from Allegis gave us his take on potential impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on the broader world of work. According to the 1985 movie ‘Back to the Future’ 2015 is the future and we are lucky enough to be living it. We have seen the mobile phones and now the hover boards from the movie come to reality but what of our expectation of work in the future?

Automation of jobs is a real threat to the middle layer of knowledge based workers and is being seen in a lot of industries already. Unlikely areas such as journalism are under threat. Forbes and other media companies have already implemented Narrative Science to provide computer generated stories, we saw boiler plate examples of financial service reports and a sports result both of which a human had been nowhere near.  Driverless cars and self-service checkouts are here but surely not journalism, if an AI writes the back page story on my football teams famous victory it will be rubbish right? Time will tell.

Back to the keynote. Bryan had data telling us that only 10% of delegates were from HR this year. So we don’t need drivers or journalists but I would have expected we need HR at a contingent worker conference. This is my biggest surprise from day one. If you’re wondering how day 2 panned out, check out our blog shortley.

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