ADP Gets Agile: Acquires WorkMarket

On January 22, 2018, ADP announced its acquisition of WorkMarket for an undisclosed fee (Release). WorkMarket, a TSC Customer, has been developing and offering the OS for Work for organizations to manage and support their on-demand labor strategies. Most organizations work with WorkMarket to enable the management of their contingent workforces comprising primarily of freelancers. Other organizations rely on the WorkOS to develop an overview of their entire workforce, whether full-time employee, contractor, or otherwise.

ADP provides comprehensive HCM solutions in payroll, talent, time, tax, and benefits administration. By their numbers, they support the payroll of 26 million employees in the US and 13 million employees outside the US. The company’s solutions are tapped by large global enterprises but are also used by over 400,000 small business owners.

This move marks the first major step by ADP into the gig or freelance economy, something confirmed by ADP during a recent conversation with the TSC research team. Entrance into the space in this manner makes a lot of sense given the:

  • Increased interest in the freelance work model by both employees and employers
  • Need to adapt systems to manage multiple workforce types
  • Attention that needs to be paid to compliance and regulatory needs when managing multiple workforce categories

By every measure, the interest in freelancing and contract work is increasing and raises the reality that organizations will have to manage multiple workforce types in the future. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital report, 66% of companies indicated that their reliance on off balance sheet talent will grow significantly in the coming 3-5 years. Deloitte refers to the blended workforce model as the Augmented Workforce. From a workforce supply side, up to 35% of the US population (as per a 2016 study commissioned the Freelancers Union) is now choosing to freelance due to the agility and flexibility offered. And companies are happy with their freelance workers. In another major research initiative conducted by the Aspen Institute on the Workforce of the Future, 60% of 800 organizations polled cited the use of independent contractors in some capacity. These organizations indicated a 95% or higher level of satisfaction with their use of independent contractors and 70% reported that they were likely to increase their reliance on an on-demand and flexible labor model.

TSC sees a greater use of an ‘augmented workforce’ (we prefer the term agile workforce) in field service in the coming years. Field service is an arena where WorkMarket has a strong presence, bolstered by its acquisition of OnForce in 2017. Organizations are facing the need to ramp up their field capacity while struggling to find and train new talent. This coupled with an aging workforce issue is leading to organizations:

  • Leveraging technology tools to enhance the capacity of their existing workers
  • Investigating flexible labor models to manage work that cannot or should not be supported by highly skilled and expensive service employees

In our recently completed 2018 trends research of over 70 service leaders, 51% indicated that the workforce and talent shortage was a major external challenge impacting their business in 2018. As seen in figure 1 below, we see that this leads to internal concerns of being able to meet service demand with existing service resources. More so, service leaders are also thinking about the work allocation to their highly skilled service workforce and augmenting this workforce with a more flexible labor pool.

In our 2016 research on field service outsourcing, 52% of organizations indicated that they were looking to increase their reliance on contractors in the coming 3-5 years. That said, organizations indicated that they expected approximately 30-35% of work to be managed by third-parties, thereby indicating the continued use of multiple labor models.

Organizations continue to remain concerned about the brand and quality impact of a partner or contractor field service technician, especially when the service delivered is poor and not up to the standards of the service organization. Hence leading organizations have taken greater steps to further support their field service partners with:

  • Increased access to product support knowledge and training content
  • Better visibility into service demand forecasts and allocation plans
  • Increased knowledge of direct customer feedback to prioritize service business process improvements

This more integrated approach requires a set of tools to match service work with the available service workforce. The ADP acquisition of WorkMarket is a step in this direction. Those using WorkMarket’s tools to manage their contingent workforces will now have the ability to rely on ADP’s broader solutions for workforce administration and management. ADP’s traditional customers will now have the ability to leverage WorkMarket’s experience and technology to integrate the needs of a freelance or contingent workforce. In addition, WorkMarket’s integrations with the likes of Salesforce and ServiceNow will also allow for improved matching between created work and available workers. This is vital in field service.

We’ve published content on the agile field service workforce (Link) or steps that organizations can take to address the retiring workforce crisis (Link). In both of these research projects we highlight the growing reliance on multiple worker types, a trend that we expect to continue in the arena of field service.

Work sourced in this post:

  1. Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report 2017 –
  2. The Aspen Institute Workforce of the Future Survey 2016 –
  3. Upwork Global Inc., Freelancing in America 2016 –
Tags: Cost of service operations, Diversity Inclusion & Belonging, Employee engagement, Employee retention, Global service strategy, Hiring, Service IT, Talent development, Talent management, Workforce analytics
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