Policies and business rules governing the use of contingent labor will vary from one organization to the next. The policies are an exhaustive list of everything from who can engage contingent workers, travel approval process, and expense policies. Subscribe to Tracz Consulting Blogs in order to receive key insights to policies and business rules in the future. These six steps may assist you right now in ensuring the rules you establish are both beneficial and easily adopted:
Assemble relevant stakeholders to establish or revise your current policies: The stakeholder group usually consists of human resources, legal, and procurement. Consider also having representation from your largest user community. In most organizations the largest user community is the information technology group. Ensure they have a seat at the table to influence policies that impact how their contingent worker engagement. Early in my career I supported global banking conglomerate where the legal team had established a tenure policy of no more than nine months. However, the typical IT project lasts 18 months. There was ongoing push back from stakeholders on the policy but legal wouldn’t budge. After significant time and effort, the legal department finally agreed to make the appropriate changes the policy for the IT group.
This group of stakeholders should establish a Program Charter: A Program Charter will ensure the objectives of the program are clearly defined to the partners brought in to support the program as well as they are internally. Whether they are a MSP, VMS, or staffing partners, the objectives are defined and clearly communicated. There are varying levels of complexity you can explore when defining your Program Charter. It can be a simple mission statement like "Achieve increased fulfillment and higher ROI of contingent talent as a result of competitive and strategic sourcing, best practices, governance, and realized alignment with company’s strategic goals." Or the Program Charter can be a multiple page document citing the background, business problem, the program concept, initial scope, defining what is out of scope, program management approach, governance and decision making, and issue resolution escalation.
Policies should be easily accessible to the users of the program. Reading and retaining a detailed list of the policies during training is not a reasonable expectation. However, storing them on the intranet page or SharePoint site is a good alternative. As part of initial training ensure managers know where and to whom to go to when they have questions. An enhancement I have deployed in many programs was having the Human Resources team include information regarding the program in new employee orientation. New hiring managers were then readily aware of a program being in place, the policies are surrounding it, and in most cases an approved supplier list. Often one sees suppliers engaged outside the process because the hiring managers do not know there are approved suppliers.
Eliminate Gray: Make the policies black and white. The policies should be easily understood and easily followed. Because contingent workforce programs are to manage people the need for an exception will always arise. Part of the policies ought to include when and how an exception to the policies is required. I have seen organizations require C-Level approval on making exceptions. This frequently causes delays and can prevent managers from seeking the exception. It's critical to understand the personality of your organization and to determine what type of exception policy best suits your organization.
Policies and business rules must be shared with your partners: If you have an outsourced Manage Services Program, they should assist in establishing the policies. If you are managing it internally, the team supporting the program should have assisted in their composition and review them regularly. It's critical that your staffing partners understand the environment and are set up for success. This is crucial to your organization finding and retaining the best talent. The policies governing this process are key to their success supporting you. Many VMS systems have document storage capabilities. Consider having the supplier sign off on receipt of the policies and as they are reviewed or updated push out communications on what has changed and how they can access a new copy.
Finally, just like your Program Charter, policies and business rules should be regularly reviewed: Policies deemed crucial when the program went live might not be 6 months or 2 years down the road. The same stakeholders assembled at the outset should be brought back together regularly to review the outcomes of the program, the charter, and any required changes to policies. Managed Services Providers should be providing this in the form of ongoing business reviews.
Tracz Consulting can help client organizations whether embarking on establishing policies and business rules for the first time or review of an existing program. If you are overdue for an evaluation and want insights on what other organizations policies, please contact us as soon as possible. Additionally, Tracz Consulting can support staffing suppliers whose client’s policies are less than transparent or otherwise make it hard for you to attract talent. Schedule a complementary consultation so we can review your current strategy on policies and business rules governing your contingent workforce program and explore enhancing them to ensure manager satisfaction and ongoing access to talent.