People and pencils – Do companies treat contractors as a commodity?

By Charlie Knight |

Procurement professionals have a wide remit and work across most areas of a business to ensure that the company has what it needs and uses what it has, all of this in a cost-effective and efficient manner. However, contractors operating across all industries and areas are now beginning to complain about the treatment they receive from procurement departments. 

Contractors are complaining that they are no longer treated like employees but as a commodity which is bought, used and discarded at the drop of a hat. With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at whether or not companies are guilty of approaching talent attraction in the same way as commodity acquisition and what they can do to change.

When a company treats contractors as a commodity it has two major negative effects on the business. The first is that it wastes company time and money. A company that buys the wrong pencils for instance has not only wasted money on buying the pencils (if they can’t be used anywhere else in the business) but will also have wasted time in finding, ordering and distributing the pencils. This wastage is even more apparent when you hire the wrong staff. The second, and possibly the most damaging effect, is that it often leads to a negative candidate experience. This is detrimental to a company’s brand and may stop them from attracting top quality staff in the future.

Continuing the metaphor, one procurement professional described the situation by saying: "Often internal customers will just ask for a pencil with no explanation of whether they need an H4, HB or 4B or indeed a combination. This often results in customers receiving something other than what they wanted which wastes time and money for the business".

In a large organisation recruitment can be a long and complicated process. Depending on the internal structure it may require sign off from a number of different departments. When this is the case it is easy to treat talent acquisition in a similar way to commodity acquisition. To make sure your company is not doing this, we have put together this short list of tips on how to ensure an effective and efficient recruitment process:

  • Promote greater partnership between procurement and line managers to ensure that both parties are aware of the talent requirements
  • Streamline the recruitment process wherever possible and ensure that all parties are aware of the proper procedures
  • Implement service level agreements between departments to ensure that the recruitment process meets the company’s expectations
  • Be clear on who is leading the recruitment process for each role
  • Respond to all applicants in a timely manner

When working in a large multinational corporation, it is easy to lose yourself in the processes and procedures. They have been put there to ensure consistency across the business and to help you do your job so you could be forgiven for rigidly sticking to them. However, it is worth remembering that that they are there to help the business grow and if a process is hindering your recruitment activity or having a negative effect on the hires that you make, you shouldn’t be scared of changing it to once again realign with your company’s growth strategy.

Source: Vine 9

Charlie Knight

Written by Charlie Knight

Charlie has 3 years experience in digital marketing, helping B2B technology companies grow their businesses through inbound marketing before joining Vine Resources as Content Marketing Manager. In his spare time, Charlie enjoys travelling and the great outdoors, and he recently hiked from Mexico to Canada for charity.