I can't believe I haven't made a blog post since August. I have been sitting on this topic since Staffing Industry Analysts CW Risk Forum, but haven't given you my thoughts. This blog post is really for our contingent labor managers, but staffing companies should read it too, because they should ask for more information and ask to be better integrated into a corporation's messaging. I participating in a roundtable discussion about risk associated with contingent labor and here is what I learned - HR and Procurement don't talk to Marketing. I would like to say I was stunned by that news, but I'm not. Even in our own small company, we sometimes forget to talk to each other. Here is why it is essential that HR and Procurement speak to Marketing:
Lawsuits or Potential Lawsuits
As a marketing executive my worst nightmare is hearing from a business unit leader that we are being sued about something. Marketing is often an afterthought, yet Marketing is the department that often has to create the communication strategy, come up with the talking points, coach the executives and talk to the press and often Marketing is the last to know. What I learned at this roundtable is often Procurement and HR know something is about to happen with a supplier - they know there is a labor stoppage, or they have heard that a supplier is using undocumented workers or they have heard that a supplier is going bankrupt. Early information like this to Marketing is helpful. Marketing can then think about strategy and messaging as necessary. Marketing can begin talking to the appropriate executives and provide council as to the company's position. Ultimately, this communication can ensure that the company is better protected, that the information flows in the manner in which the information needs to flow and no one is making anything up.
I learned another important point at the CW Risk Forum. Often contingent labor suppliers don't know what a company does for a living. They supply huge amounts of temporary or contract labor, but they don't know exactly how that labor will be deployed or what the company does for a living. Use Marketing as the company spokesperson for your business to suppliers. This has multiple benefits. First, the contingent labor being hired will be better informed about the company and can speak more intelligently to others. Additionally, if the workers have bought into the message, they will be better employees, create more useful services and enjoy their experience more. Secondarily, the staffing company will enjoy the experience more. If the staffing company recruiters understand what their customers do for a living, they will provide you with a better product, in this case - labor. When you bring on a new supplier, get Marketing involved. Let Marketing deliver the corporate message so that the message to all suppliers is consistent, it is focused and it is digestible and repeatable.
Communication Mitigates Risk
"If I only knew, I could have helped." If we all communicate better with one another, risks can be mitigated. So it is not only Procurement and HR speaking to Marketing, how about HR and Procurement talking. I learned at this roundtable, that often Procurement and HR don't talk about needs and goals. Procurement is managing a contract and HR is managing the talent. Every company wants the very best talent they can acquire, whether that is a regular employee or contingent labor. Everyone communicating about the business goals, business risks and business messages will allow managers to make better, timelier decisions.
So as your New Year's resolution - just talk to one another.