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The workplace has been evolving to include more external workers. With the ongoing pandemic, more organizations are using non-employees who are flexible and can be accessed on-demand. The gig economy has morphed into technology-based human capital solutions that connect enterprises with talent.

But a key question is: Who owns and manages the extended workforce – human resources or procurement? In today’s world, each department as differing and often competing goals – HR focuses on benefits, while procurement focuses on value.

And these goals can compete with one another. For example, in executive searches, if a search firm has an ideal candidate for two prospective placements, but one company tries to save money, the natural inclination is for them to place that individual with where they’re going to get more money. So, while HR may want the best talent, but Procurement is trying to lower costs, there is naturally going to be some head-butting.

And similar issues arise when it comes to the extended workforce. Part of the way to figure out who should own it is to examine a few factors:

Types of workers. As companies become more agile and adaptable to market pressures, how they can respond in real-time to those challenges becomes paramount. Days or weeks without a worker can mean the difference between being number one in your space and being left behind. Some organizations may rely more heavily on temporary staff augmentation while others could have more permanent statement-of-work-based (SOW) workers. While both require input from HR and procurement, procurement is more naturally suited to SOW than HR and vise versa for staff augmentation.

Departmental manpower. Because HR already owns the employee workforce, some would argue that it only makes sense to move the nonemployee workforce under the same umbrella. But the questions are: Do they have the internal workforce to own it? Procurement may have the employees to own and oversee the program so it may make more sense for that department to own it. Shifting those resources to HR could be another solution.

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Visibility Issues

Ownership of the workforce is one thing. Visibility is another, and adopting technology solutions can help solve visibility issues. The knowledge exchange, insights, and visibility from HR and procurement collaboration is highlighted when a single tool is adopted. For example, Utmost Extended Workforce System (EWS) seamlessly supports the external workforce program in conjunction with the Workday employee population to help both teams find success in their roles.

When the C-suite is looking for information on the total workforce, and you have one system for employees and a legacy VMS, or worse – a spreadsheet – for nonemployees, how do you get them the data they’re looking for? How do you easily collect it? How do you assimilate it? How do you present it?

For example, enterprise leaders often ask for a count of how many people they have in country A or geography Y. But first, what do you mean by “people?” Is it how many people are getting work done, or how many people are in the building?

The Criticality of HR and Procurement Alignment

In today’s economic climate of uncertainty and volatility, organizational change is necessary to remain viable and to grow even stronger. This partnership will standardize traditional contingent workforce management processes and provide a view into your total external workforce in conjunction with your employees.