Back Office Operations: Contingent Staffing Model Implementation

Client Project

  • PPI was asked to perform an assessment on the use of a client-developed Contingent Staffing Model ("the Model"). The Model was a developed as an alternative to using temporary personnel to help smooth out workload peaks and valleys that occur during the year.

  • The Model shifted client personnel between functional groups based on workload determinations, skill sets, job rotation preferences and excess/under staff utilization formulas.

  • The Client sought to shore-up Model shortcomings by leveraging PPI expertise prior to trying to apply the Model across a broader section of the Company.
Business Challenges
  • Back Office business processes experience seasonally based customer cycles, driving process peaks and valleys of activity. Individual departments within Back Office Operations have attempted to address this staffing issue independently with temporary personnel with the following results:

    • Inefficient allocation of staff.
    • Higher staff levels than necessary ("just in case" staffing).
    • Higher expenditures on staff than necessary.

  • Historically functional groups have predominantly staffed to their own peak capacity. Departments with Staff capacity remain within their groups and are not leveraged across the organization.

  • The Model was piloted within the group on more of a trial basis than a Structured Pilot basis. Errors, missteps and lessons learned contributed to a skeptical undercurrent throughout the Group that such an idea could work effectively.
Specific Recommendations
  • PPI performed a detailed analysis on the Model in comparison to best practices garnered through similar work on other clients in the industry.

  • The results were summarized in a SWOT fashion and discussed with Client management in depth.

  • Recommendations on improvement were evaluated, prioritized, mapped on an implementation plan and instituted.

  • Sample recommendations included:

    • Formation of a Steering Committee of key functional managers across business units within the Group was formed to increase commitment, utilization and effectiveness.
    • Increase scalability. The current Contingent Staff model and processes are neither scalable nor sufficiently robust enough to support an implementation of the Contingent Staff model on a sufficient scale to achieve real savings, improved quality and significant throughout improvement.
    • Reflect a more granular assessment of process and task to increase effectiveness.
    • Rebrand related communications to erase prior baggage and enhance implementation success.
    • Align the Model with Client's HR and Performance Management processes.
    • Broaden program flexibility via a "SWOT Team" component.
    • Build-out key elements of the Model more before initiating a broader roll-out.
    • The build out of the CS model will be a multi-year effort.

      • This effort will involve different phases of sophistication and development and progress through different maturity models as structures, processes and components are revised and amplified.
      • At the completion of Phase Three, which is the full implementation estimated to include 80 to 120 FTE's and save annually between roughly $7.5M and $9.5M, the Benefit Services organization will incorporate a fully-developed Contingent Staffing model into its operating structure as standard operating procedure.
Outcomes and Benefits to Date
  • Build-out of a more robust Model nears completion.

  • The Model enabled the Group to cross-leverage available resources by reallocating underutilized staff to areas that require them on a just-in-time basis.

  • The Model also allows work units to staff to low/normal capacity and have additional staff come in as needed to meet seasonal demand.

  • Numerous "hard and soft" benefits have been realized to date, including:

    • Reductions in temporary personnel costs.
    • Identification of outsourcing opportunities.
    • Reductions in staffing levels across departments.
    • Increased formal communications to leverage staff amongst departments.
    • Recognized value to utilizing a flexible staffing model.
    • Enhanced cross-training for staff.
    • Development of more "bench depth" for talent.
    • Greater transparency into operational processes.
    • Material financial gains.

  • Unanimous management consensus that the program has value and should be expanded.