Managing External Workforce Needs with DocuSign

Organizations across many industries rely on external workforces to meet ever-changing staffing needs. Seasonal hiring is common for retail stores, financial service providers and any organization that experiences periodic surges in transactions. A contingent workforce is an integral part of industries with decentralized facilities and regular maintenance needs, such as industrial manufacturers and oil companies. For these companies to operate smoothly, there has to be an effective way to manage the never-ending workforce expansion and contraction.

The responsibility to make these workers productive often falls on HR and procurement teams. Hiring, onboarding, training and communicating with additional employees is critical to business success. If these workflows are not managed efficiently, it can create a series of new administrative headaches. Without the right tools and technologies to streamline this work, HR and procurement professionals might waste hours of their time on redundant manual tasks. These inefficiencies can limit the productivity of those teams and also reduce the value of contract employees, delaying their productivity.

Effectively managing a contingent workforce during a global pandemic has its own new set of challenges. It’s never been more important to prioritize employee health and safety. Hiring, onboarding, training and communication processes need to be entirely digital to accommodate an employee base that is either entirely or predominantly remote. If established correctly, these digital processes can help ensure that new employees are added to the workforce in a fast, safe and compliant manner.

Modern drivers of external workforce additions

Under standard circumstances, there are several industries that frequently utilize external or contingent workers. In today’s uncertain business landscape, staffing needs are unpredictable and organizations need flexible processes to keep up with labor demands. Here’s an overview of some of the most common reasons today’s organizations need to bring in new employees to succeed in the modern economy.

Hiring during COVID-19

To manage a pandemic appropriately, it takes essential workers. Some healthcare organizations need to ramp up their workforce to manage the increased number of patients and ensure that patients are properly treated. Besides healthcare organizations, new shelter-in-place orders and new social distancing guidelines completely restructured the economy. Essential businesses in multiple industries have streamlined the hiring of contract workers to keep their customers supplied and safe during the pandemic. 

As more brick-and-mortar business locations begin to open up again, there’s a need to hire (or rehire) employees in industries like restaurants, retail and entertainment. The businesses that will emerge as the most successful during this period will be the ones that hire and onboard employees the most efficiently. There’s also a need to communicate effectively with the employee base about new safety procedures and updates. 

Contractors and contingent workers

As part of day-to-day operations, some manufacturers routinely hire and manage a workforce that’s largely contractors. The number of contractors needed depends on maintenance needs and the demand for the items being manufactured. Organizations in industrial/chemical manufacturing, oil & gas, automotive and construction companies all have to rapidly adjust staffing to match demand.

The same workforce flexibility is critical for businesses that fulfill maintenance or service requests for customers. Staffing needs are determined by the volume of requests, so a disruptive event like a global pandemic can cause procurement and HR teams to shift into overdrive to fulfill customer needs. Organizations in industries like telecommunications, utilities and staffing have to be agile in order to keep customers satisfied and maximize service uptime.

Ongoing gig economy

Today’s business landscape is undergoing an incredible shift, with spend on employees decreasing and spend on external resources increasing. In fact, employees now represent only 58% of workforce spend, with the other 42% going to external resources. Modern organizations are focusing on flexibility by ramping up the usage of independent contractors, freelance workers, service providers and consulting firms. Increased utilization of these outside workers requires HR and procurement teams to develop digital solutions for staffing workflows.

How DocuSign helps manage an external workforce

Modern HR and procurement teams rely on DocuSign to manage several important processes related to the external workforce. Below are some of the common issues associated with remote workers and the DocuSign products that can help.

  • Remote hiring/rehiring: eSignature is a fast, easy and secure way to hire external workers remotely. It can also be useful for organizations looking to rehire furloughed employees by sending recall offer letters using prebuilt employee templates.
  • Digital onboarding: New employees can sign onboarding paperwork quickly with eSignature and companies can use DocuSign ID Verification to create a digital experience to complete additional paperwork. HR teams can utilize DocuSign’s prebuilt templates to remotely manage W-4, I-9 and other important forms.
  • Communication about policy updates: As organizations evolve to make a safe, productive remote work environment, employees need constant updates. DocuSign offers bulk send functionality to send and track ongoing company communications and Click to capture and track employee clickwrap agreements, which will be useful for employees returning to a physical office.
  • Contract negotiation and management: To manage the volume of work done with external workforce, organizations need to be able to analyze incoming contracts quickly to understand which liabilities and protections are in place.
  • Partner integrations: To make external workforce agreement as simple as possible, DocuSign offers more than 350 integrations with popular business tools like Microsoft, Oracleand SAP, SuccessFactors and Fieldglass. 

Today, DocuSign customers are revolutionizing agreement processes to streamline external workforce activities. Professional services firm Aon hires over 150 seasonal contract workers to assist with annual open enrollment periods. To make those hires, Aon must send personalized offer letters to each contractor with information about compensation, dates of employment and more. DocuSign’s bulk send and PowerForms features make contract preparation much easier. The agreements can be signed by the contractors using eSignature and key information is routed to other business systems using integrations. The automated process eliminates manual data entry, ensures accuracy and relieves administrative headaches.

To learn more about how organizations in all industries manage members of a contingent workforce, join DocuSign and SAP experts at SIGnature Event: Transformation and Talent Optimization on Thursday, November 5. You’ll hear examples of how today’s leaders leverage digital tools to negotiate and manage employment contracts, conduct remote hiring, onboarding and policy communications.