Many of our clients – and potential clients – talk to us about their concerns regarding the use of contingent workers. Procurement personnel often discuss their company’s “rogue spend”. This refers to the hiring manager practice of directly negotiating with a staffing agency to find workers, ignoring the company’s authorized supplier list and established rate cards. Human Resources staff are more likely to worry about co-employment issues.
A thought occurred to me – while both of these issues can be addressed by ensuring that hiring managers understand their companies’ policies on the use of contingent workers, it appears that most companies don’t have a contingent worker engagement policy! I certainly can’t recall ever seeing any of my former employers issue such a policy. So I did a quick online search and found very few examples of contingent worker usage policies. I also couldn’t find one example of representative Code of Business Ethics policies (that document you make your employees read and sign each year) that addresses the use of non-employees. This is an easy oversight to correct, and one that is gaining in importance as a larger percentage of most companies’ workforce consists of temporary workers.
At the outset, define the term ‘contingent worker’ with direct reference to the company’s recruitment policies and workforce deployment patterns; then establish the policy. Let us look at some of the important topics to be addressed in a policy for engaging contingent workers through a third party. Some of these would govern the activities of the staffing agencies that provide the workers, while others set the course for the managers who retain the services of these workers.
Usage of contingent workers:
Interactions with contingent workers:
Ultimately, the awareness gained by hiring managers in creating such a policy wins half the battle. The internal staff responsible for managing the contingent workforce program should continuously educate the company on the value of using contingent workers, and risks associated with non-compliance with the company policy. Conducting periodic reviews and audits will help reinforce the policy, and increase operational effectiveness.
If your company has a formal contingent worker engagement policy, please share it with us.
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