Find out the pain points that the extended workforce deal with, and how they differ from procurement, as Dr. Heather Myers and Brian Hoffmeyer of Beeline continue our five-part video series.
ICYMI, here is the 2nd part of the series defining the contingent workforce.
Stay tuned for the 4th part of the series coming next week on the impact of COVID-19 on this sector.
Keep up with the full series on YouTube here.
HEATHER: So maybe we can shift gears a little bit to what the current state of the contingent workforce, or the extended workforce, really is. I mean, obviously, there are pain points that exist, so what are you seeing in terms of the typical pain points right now with this workforce?
BRIAN: Yeah, great question. I think there’s a couple, and there’s a lot. First and foremost, many large organizations simply don't have a good handle on who their extended workers are. There's an analyst firm that we work with, it that does an annual survey, where they ask their respondents, “What percentage of non-employee workforce workers are accounted for in any of your corporate systems?” And over the last few years the number—the percentage has hovered around 50%, and so this workforce is growing and companies aren’t making progress at dealing with the problem. And so, when they say “well-accounted for” in corporate systems, they’re saying just, “Do you know who these people are, and what they’re doing, and what you’re paying them, and where they are?” Right? And so a lot of companies can't answer these very basic questions about this critical part of their workforce. It would be astounding if I were lucky enough to be the Chief Human Resources officer of a large company, and my boss came to me and said, “How many employees do we have?” and I couldn't answer that question both quickly and relatively accurately, I probably wouldn't be employed for very long. But somehow it’s okay in this critical part of the workforce to not be able to answer that basic question. And if you can't answer that basic question, you can't answer the truly important questions of like, “How should work get done within our organization? What should be the mix of employees and contractors?”—you know—”I’ve got this need. How should I best meet it? Am I getting more quality per dollar for my employees versus my contractors.” All those kinds of more interesting questions, so that's a big problem. I think another one that we’re very focused on is that too often — and this is changing, and it’s a welcome change — but too often the contingent workforce has been treated like a procurement problem.
HEATHER: Oh, interesting.
BRIAN: Rather than a talent problem. So, certainly when I got into this industry, but even more recently than that, HR and talent acquisition often didn't want anything to do with this part of the workforce. They’re like, “That’s procurement’s problem. You’re just going to manage the suppliers who are the employers of these people and treat them like suppliers. And that in our view isn’t correct. You know it’s very easy to say, “I'm a manager and I need some new Sharpies,” right? And I order a box of sharpies and they come in and I’m like, “Yep, that's 12 black Sharpies,” and I’m good to go. It's much harder to say, “I need a project manager with these skill sets.” It's really hard to know, “Okay, I'm looking at five candidates. Who is the best fit?” And then ultimately I make that decision, and then is that person truly as advertised, right? And are they truly delivering? And so, if we can deliver tools to our clients that help do that, that’s huge. And so I—and we are seeing more and more HR and talent acquisition involvement in the contingent workforce, because they’ve realized that, “This is 20% of my workforce. I can’t afford to ignore it.” And one thing I should be really clear, if any of my procurement friends end up listening to this, I’m not saying procurement isn’t important. It’s incredibly important. We think that a blend of those skill sets—because procurement’s great at managing contracts and suppliers and all those kinds of things, and HR’s great at managing people.
HEATHER: Yeah, I think that's really important to kind of get the confluence of those two things, as opposed to just firmly seeding it in either one.
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