From the early days of contingent workforce management, procurement, already adept at contracting and negotiating with outside vendors for other products and services, took the rein. Today, although the majority of CW programs are still managed by procurement, there has been an increase in the number of programs being led by HR. According to results of SIA’s annual Workforce Solutions Buyers survey procurement manages 54% of CW programs and HR manages 35%, which is up from the previous three year’s surveys.

For the first time in a very long time, there are more job openings than there are candidates. “With such competition for talent, it makes sense that HR should and would want to be involved in such a critical part of their organization’s workforce,” said Dawn McCartney, Staffing Industry Analysts’ senior director of contingent workforce strategies and research.

HR can provide insight in many areas that are outside procurement’s area of expertise. “Candidate quality and the candidate experience are becoming more important than just the negotiated rate or markup that once were top priorities for procurement,”McCartney said. HR keeps abreast of legal and regulatory changes pertaining to the workforce, such as various locales’ paid sick leave laws or bans on criminal history or even salary history queries. HR is also more adept at incorporating company vision into the employee search process.

After all, HR is responsible for engaging employees, getting them on board and then managing their tenure. and workers who experience issues reach out to HR, not procurement. Thus, if HR is responsible for managing employees, it’s only natural that they do the same for contingents, argue those in favor of HR ownership of the CW program. The fact is that each has its own area of expertise.

Procurement, meanwhile, could take the lead on contract development and amendments, or if questions arise pertaining to the insurance requirements for an independent contractor or new staffing firm entering program, if applicable to the business. Whereas, HR might also be responsible for other worker-specific queries that require in-depth knowledge of the talent pool and marketplace, such as rate-card overrides.

Whether your program is “owned” by procurement or HR, having both involved in the management of your contingent workforce is critical for your organization and your program to be successful and a true differentiator from your competitors. The successful programs are those that do it well.