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Workforce Ecosystem Orchestration: The Perfect Platform

Organizations today increasingly depend on external contributors to meet their objectives. This is why workforce tech platforms have gone from being nice-to-have, to must-have

Table of contents

Key Takeaways

  1. As technology enables new, more efficient forms of work, workforces are evolving into workforce ecosystems, consisting of both internal and external contributors.
  2. Adopting the workforce ecosystem perspective requires orchestration, i.e., coordinating groups of internal and external contributors to create an aligned effort.
  3. Various technologies support and shape workforce ecosystems, with workforce tech platforms serving as the basis for orchestration.
  4. Papaya Global, the world's leading workforce tech, offers the best enterprise-grade solution for managing contractors at scale.

Leveraging external contributors requires an enterprise-grade contractor management solution.

In customer relationship management (CRM), orchestration allows marketers to execute high-quality campaigns that increase retention rates. CRM platforms ensure that all resources – data, content, workflows, and channels – work harmoniously to improve the customer journey. Successful orchestration reduces friction, boosts customer satisfaction, and generates higher revenues.

In recent years, the workforce management space seems to have taken a page from CRM marketing’s playbook. As technology enables new, more efficient forms of work, and unexpected employment and engagement models keep emerging, workforces are evolving into workforce ecosystems – which, much like retention marketing campaigns, require orchestration.

A workforce ecosystem consists of both internal and external contributors. Organizations today increasingly depend on external contributors – such as long-term contractors, freelancers/gig workers, and service providers – to meet their objectives. External workers produce at least 30% of the work in roughly half of the organizations. In some industries, like tech, external workers account for up to 50% of an organization’s workforce.

Unfortunately, accessing and engaging with internal and external contributors remains challenging for many organizations. In an effort to help leaders meet this challenge, MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte developed the workforce ecosystem orchestration framework. The framework urges leaders to recognize that the composition and boundaries of workforces have changed, promoting a more holistic approach to managing contributors.

Advantage orchestrators

The traditional approach to workforce management is all about control. Adopting the workforce ecosystems perspective means relinquishing control, as a big chunk of your contributors have agency over their time and tasks. This is where orchestration – defined in the framework as “coordinating groups of internal and external contributors to create an aligned effort toward achieving organizational (and individual) goals” – comes into play.

New research suggests that workforce orchestration can drive enterprise success. In late 2022, MIT Sloan and Deloitte surveyed more than 3,700 managers and leaders across the globe. Based on how broadly they define their workforces and how they manage them, the respondents were divided into three maturity categories: intentional orchestrators (12% of all respondents), partial orchestrators (74%), and non-orchestrators (14%).

According to the research, intentional orchestrators outperform non-orchestrators in the following aspects:

  • Intentional orchestrators are 5x more effective than non-orchestrators at aligning workforce needs with strategic goals and objectives.
  • 89% of intentional orchestrators – compared to 15% of non-orchestrators – feel that their organizations take the right approach to allocating work among internal and external workers.
  • Intentional orchestrators are over 6x more likely than non-orchestrators to integrate external contributors into their culture.
  • 85% of intentional orchestrators – compared to 35% of non-orchestrators – measure their workforce’s productivity.
  • 81% of intentional orchestrators – compared to only 6% of non-orchestrators – utilize data and technology systems that support managing both employees and the extended workforce in a holistic or integrated way.

One platform to orchestrate them all

Technology’s role in workforce orchestration cannot be overstated. Various technologies support and shape workforce ecosystems, with workforce tech platforms serving as the basis for orchestration. Historically, workforce platforms were designed to manage only internal contributors, but as the modern workforce’s makeup has shifted, they’ve been expanding to address external contributors as well.

One of these platforms is Papaya Global, whose offering includes an end-to-end solution for contractor management. It starts with invoices. Collecting and processing hundreds of invoices in different languages, currencies, and formats every month can be overwhelming and prone to error. Papaya’s tech enables contractors to submit invoices to the platform, validates and processes them, and delivers cross-border payments in 160+ countries.

Another crucial aspect of managing external contributors is compliance; specifically, employee misclassification. Avoiding employee misclassification can be challenging, as regulations regarding contractors vary from country to country. With local labor laws in more than 160 jurisdictions baked into its system, Papaya’s platform can determine the correct classification of every contractor, eliminating the risk of fines and potential litigation.

Finally, Papaya’s contractor management solution allows enterprises to analyze their spending on external contributors. Since our platform consolidates all workforce data into one dashboard, finance managers can gauge the cost of contractors with a click of a button. They can see contractor spending per country, team, or project, compare them across periods, and determine which employment option is the most cost-efficient in each location.

Higher profit margins (through cost efficiency), reduced friction (through ensured compliance), and improved contributor satisfaction. Just like a well-oiled CRM platform.