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Contingent Labor & Permanent Hires: The Ultimate Friends with Benefits

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Posted by Matt Rivera

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February 9, 2015

Blurred_Lines_An_MSP_and_RPO_Marriage_Offers_Talent_BenefitsLines are blurring as companies are now integrating best practices for recruitment regardless of whether found on the contingent or permanent side of the equation. The walls between temporary and permanent employment are crumbling and enterprises are better off for it. 

For years, the choice was simple. If it’s contingent, temporary employment, then line up on the left side and let procurement or an outside Managed Staffing Provider (MSP) handle it. Permanent recruitment, line up on the right so HR managers or Recruitment Process Outsourcing, or RPO providers might take the lead. 

But a funny thing happened on the way to the silos. The tightly bound chains that once separated and segregated contingent and permanent staffing are not so clear anymore. Domain authority is shifting as procurement works to integrate more with HR and as the distinctions between MSP and RPO become less clear and definitive. 

Enterprises Realized Strategy Trumps Legacy

The reasons are many. It starts with a shifting workforce. After a brutal jobs recession that is just now resuscitating, many employees learned to stop viewing their careers through long-term prisms. In fact, many have come to realize that a more fluid, short-term “gig” economy isn’t so bad. Surprisingly, contingent assignments sometimes fit better with more flexible lifestyles that balance work and life in appealing new ways. By-the-hour contingent work, if lived well, can allow employees to put their job away at the end of the day and focus more on family, avocations, continued education, or even more thorough job searches—which could lead to permanent positions with the very companies where they are temping!  

At the same time, employers have come to view workforce planning not in terms of discrete, siloed processes, but rather holistically with the business objective of finding and recruiting the best possible talent. What does it matter if that quest is the result of a permanent search, controlled and managed by HR or an RPO provider, or if it comes from procurement’s management of a contracted MSP?

"Integration is spurring innovation with the intended benefit of streamlining the talent acquisition pipeline." 

“The shift is seismic in some instances,” begins Robin Johnson, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at Yoh. “We’re seeing corporations completely revisit assumptions that date back a decade with regard to how and why permanent and contingent recruitment was separated in the first place, and how integration might streamline and shortcut time to fill. At the same time, these same companies are realizing that sharing best practices over both sides of the recruitment fence can provide for a more agile enterprise, better able to build recruitment pipelines that assure the best possible talent is available at the time a position opens or a new initiative requires hiring.”

Building the Case for a Flexible Staffing Model

Take, for instance, one global consumer electronics company that works with Yoh. Today, gaming represents nearly 12 percent of that company’s worldwide revenue. But building a game for market is a Herculean task, requiring armies of full-time and contingent workers. The entire game development may have taken years to conceive, plan, and execute, a task best managed by full-time employees. But along the way, in coding, testing, and any number of points along the development line, highly skilled contingent employees are needed to identify and eliminate bugs and anomalies from the gaming experience.

In 2013 this international company realized it needed a new, more flexible staffing model. Drawing best practices from the contingent management theories of MSP as well as the proven tactical advantages of RPO, the company transitioned to a holistic approach to managing its permanent and contingent employment mix. It outsourced the program to Yoh, whose unique market position within both RPO and MSP gave it deep insights into the benefits and best practices of each. 

“The ‘aha’ moment came when we realized that our talent pool often does not categorize itself as permanent or contingent. They see themselves as programmers, or artists, or coders, or testers first and foremost. The length of the assignment or status being subordinate to their love of gaming and their desire to work on the next great blockbuster as part of an integrated team of both permanent and contingent associates,” says (Liz Ricketts, Manager, Shared Services, HR) at Sony. “The workers we use fill different roles at different times during development. Having access to great talent for long and short term phases or specific roles is a matter of what levers we pull and when we pull them. Having it all in a single program increases visibility and allows us to leverage our brand while having a centralized point of management and control.”

Integration also provided one additional strategic advantage. By merging contingent with permanent, this global CE company was able to create froth inside its recruitment pipeline, increasing flow and velocity. “Contingent hiring can often generate more candidates, more quickly, some of which may be better suited for permanent positions,” says Grosso. “Quantity is never the name of the game. But the ability to see more candidates can play a role in recruiting very specific talent that flows from the active nurturing of a talent community.”

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This blog was written by Matt Rivera. Matt serves as Vice President, Marketing and Communications and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Yoh’s marketing and brand communications. Matt holds a degree in Journalism/Public Relations and has been working in the staffing industry for more than 25 years. Prior to this role, Matt held many different roles from branch recruiting and proposal writing to technology management and online marketing.

Topics: RPO, Leadership & Management

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