Human Resources: Leader of the talent supply chain?

The demand for talent is increasing and the way talent is acquired is changing. The workforce has pivoted to include anywhere from 25-40% contingent workers (and growing) and contingent talent is used in increasingly strategic and mission critical roles. Now is the time to engage human resources colleagues as the “owners” of talent and workforce planning within the organization. Human Resources can contribute to the realization of organizational vision for both contingent and FTE talent.  In fact, it can be argued that the transition to an authentic Total Talent Management approach would benefit by replacing outdated terms such as “temporary” and even “contingent” talent with the term “External Talent.”

Over the past couple of years, the contingent workforce management (CWM) supply chain has becoming increasingly collaborative.

·       Enterprise, vendor, and talent are asking for each other’s input on best practices - and daresay listening to each other’s answers

·       Organizations are using an increasing number of contingent workers in their overall workforce strategy

·       There is a recognition that the most talented and in demand workers in the market are choosing to work in contingent arrangements vs traditional W-2 employment relationships – the gig economy

Traditionally, the primary stakeholders in CWM are procurement and finance. There are some programs engaging human resources colleagues as stakeholders and including them in annual business reviews. Yet, by and large the daily operations of a contingent workforce program are focused on cost avoidance and cost savings. Human Resources continue to focus on traditional generalist tasks such as FTE recruitment, employee development, benefits, succession planning, and compensation.

How, then, can human resources colleagues be quickly engaged and empowered within the contingent workforce model? We welcome the chance to dialogue with Human Resources Talent Acquisition leaders on current CWM gaps in which Human Resources are clear partners to ensure continuous program evolution and improvement. 

·       CWM Program Teams should ensure Human Resource Stakeholder awareness of key operational and leadership meetings and service level agreements: it is hugely important to the success of the program and stakeholder partnership that Human Resources is actively and regularly involved in program management

·       Human Resources contribution of subject matter expertise in strategic workforce planning for key external talent roles: as key roles are increasingly filled with external talent, it is critical for CWM program teams and Human Resources to partner together to meet Total Talent Management initiatives

·       Availability of Human Resources team to Hiring Managers for compensation validation: there is currently a glaring gap in the enterprise ability to align FTE and external workers compensation with contingent compensation substantially higher

·       Employment Risk Aversion: As experts in labor practice, Human Resources offers valuable perspective and counsel to mitigate risk particularly around misclassification

This author is coauthored by Leslie Marsh and Mike Scott. Leslie is the Procurement Strategist with HireTalent. Mike is Principal - F.I.N.S. Consulting, LLC @