As corporations attempt to bring costs under control, procurement officers are beginning to get more involved in the hiring of contingent workers. But business officials say human resources departments need to maintain their central role in handling a temporary workforce.
The role of both procurement and human resources is indicative of the goals of business – controlling costs and getting the most qualified people. For procurement people, bringing contingent workers onboard is about negotiating contracts to get the workers needed when they need them at the best price. This benefits a company because human resources departments general do not get involved with negotiating. Procurement may be able to save money in contingent contract costs and also get terms that are more favorable to the company.
But procurement should play the role of a supporting player, negotiating contracts that will then be managed by the human resources department. A hiring manager needs to be involved in the process at some point, business officials said.
A recent survey of 500 businesses showed that in more than 80 percent of them, the human resources department was in charge of contingent labor. Procurement professionals generally became involved the most in companies with more than 500 employees, but even when they did become involved, it was at less than 10 percent of the companies.
But some business officials say that big companies need to take another look at how they work with contingent labor, making use of procurement to do more with negotiating contracts. Some human resources departments have moved to try and limit procurement involvement in using contingent labor, fearing a loss of control. But, analysts say, rebuffing procurement would be a mistake, since these departments are a ready resource to help the company get the best value for its money.
The differing ways of handling contingent workers result from the different areas of a company involved in acquiring these workers. Procurement handles the contract to buy the services; human resources departments handle the worker selection process; and legal departments handle legal issues regarding contracting and managing contingent workers.