Many program managers, especially those that reside in procurement, are growing to see that HR should be involved in the contingent workforce management process. Each group brings certain expertise that complement the program. Procurement can focus on the supplier side, managing processes such as agreement negotiations, pricing and contract adherence, while HR can work the people angle, having the right role filled by the right person with the right skills. Although this may sound logical; many program managers have shared with us recently that they struggle to get HR on board.

According to our most recent Workforce Solutions Buyers Survey, 22% of the average organization’s workforce is contingent. With almost a quarter of a company’s work being completed and delivered by nonemployees, it’s baffling that HR does not seem to want to have some oversight or input for such a large percentage of their workforce.

To get them on board, you need to have a conversation. Ask them why they do not want to be involved and then based on their feedback determine if you can provide additional information, data, statistics or education to help sway them.

Here are some of the main reasons we typically hear, and how you might respond.

Too Risky

Argument. HR is concerned any involvement on their part with nonemployee labor raises the company’s risk of co-employment. One HR representative was concerned about whether simply housing data for contingents and FTEs in the same technology platform would post a legal risk.

Rebuttal. Educate them, perhaps with the aid of your labor legal team, about accurate co-employment risks. Share how their involvement could actually reduce some risks, especially when it comes to processes around onboarding and offboarding.

Just FTEs, please

Argument. They may say that full-time employees are their only concern.

Rebuttal. Show them the numbers. They may not be aware of the number of CWs that are currently filling roles and providing skills to the organization, so they may not realize just how critical these resources are to the company. Providing data or reports that show the types of skills and projects being worked on and criticality of the work can be very eye-opening to them.

It can also be very enlightening if you can point to specific roles that are critical to the company currently being filled by contingents. Having HR realize a role that has no succession plan and that the individual has no “ties” to the company can cause them to pause and rethink the part they themselves play in managing this workforce.

Argument. They are temporary and will eventually go away, so why should we get involved?

Rebuttal. Although this is a true statement a lot of the time, there are a couple of important facts you can point out. The first — and easiest — is around conversions. Does your company ever convert a CW to an FTE? Based on our Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey, the median respondents convert an average of 10% of their contingents to FTE status; 25% of the respondents convert 11% to 30%! This can be a huge number that are not temps that eventually go away.

Then there’s the company brand when it comes to the employee experience. Depending on your industry, the CWs can also be your customer/client. Knowing that they were treated properly and had a good experience as a temp can make them a brand ambassador for the organization.

Other Points

Here are some other key reasons why HR should be involved:

  1. HR is responsible for the talent pool of an organization. The talent pool is comprised of not only FTEs but also the CWs.
  2. HR knows the Talent Strategy for the organization. Having roles classified correctly and choosing talent based on their skills, expertise and cultural fit are part of that.
  3. Contingent labor is becoming a critical part of the talent pool for many organizations and is many times the feeding pool for FTE’s.
  4. Risk can be minimized with consistent processes, procedures and legal and regulatory expertise that reside in HR.

When it comes to the management of the CW program, the most successful programs partner procurement and HR, enabling each to focus on their respective areas of expertise.