A contingent labor program is defined in many ways by who owns it — its champion, who drives adoption and aligns the program to the goals of the company. Where this champion sits within an organization — typically either HR or procurement — often determines the resources available to support it and the key drivers that define success. Historically, procurement-run programs tend to focus on savings and partner management, whereas HR-led programs tend to think more about the talent being engaged and creating fair and equitable processes.
Organizations often pick one of these paths to start their journey, but programs that have mastered the fundamentals of their business area and eye the total workforce utopia are looking for ways to bridge the gaps between these areas to create a more balanced set of business drivers and propel their companies into the future of work.
The task might be daunting, but there are approaches organizations can take to break down these traditional silos. This helps with starting to build a more cohesive contingent labor program that is ready to tackle total talent. Here are some ideas.
Trading places. One of the first approaches to blend the mentalities of these two distinct areas is through cross training or a labor exchange program. There is no better way to get a procurement professional to understand HR than letting them experience it first hand or by arming them with the same training and toolkit that an HR professional may utilize. Organizations that see the opportunity in a more harmonious approach are thinking outside of the box by creating a buddy system, trading employee resources/leadership across these areas, or even creating crowds of resources from both areas that are positioned to help solve problems collectively.
Steering committee. Another approach is creating or leveraging an executive steering committee. Regardless of where your program resides, it’s important to understand your stakeholders and partners in success. A committee comprising HR, procurement, IT, finance, high-volume business constituents and even legal can help to create a balanced roadmap of initiatives. This group can often find opportunities through the diversity-of-thought approach that may have been otherwise missed. The committee can also help to ensure visibility and adoption to future projects and changes while also providing strategic direction that aligns with all areas of an organization.
Shared service. If you are still struggling with how to get HR and procurement to think more collectively, maybe the approach is more direct, like housing a program in the middle. There has been an emergence of programs being built as a shared service or center of excellence. This approach helps to remove the drivers and mentality that come with a program’s upbringing in a traditional HR/procurement program by making the focus more holistic on serving the businesses workforce needs and aligning to the direction of a company as opposed to aligning to a single area of the business. Creating a hub-like program may help triage business needs and help determine the most appropriate way to get the job done.
Regardless of the method used, it is becoming clear that organizations are looking for ways to help break down siloed thinking and work toward a sustainable model built on a total talent framework. As programs grow their maturity in a specific sourcing channel like staff augmentation, it becomes natural for them to look for the next area to mature like SOW. These approaches will help give your organization a forward-looking model ready to tackle all of your workforce challenges.