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Procurement Best Practices for Innovative HR

Disruption quickly, and often, dramatically alters the purchasing landscape. Enterprises nationwide are experiencing the impact this is taking on their human resource professionals. As the pandemic progresses, the HR function will be continually challenged with keeping workers safe, healthy and informed, in addition to their everyday performance duties. Soon - if not already- HR teams will face permanent changes such as:

1. Remote Work Becoming Dispersed or Permanent 
2. Talent and Hiring Hurdles 
3. Redistribution/ Redefinition of Skills 
4. Performance Management Challenges

Enterprise and procurement planning to address tomorrow’s HR landscape should be well underway. During the planning stage there are some key concerns to think through, for instance - what are the core changes to the HR operating model? And most importantly, how can procurement aid in addressing these challenges?


As enterprise HR teams adapt their strategy to compliment structural changes, their talent needs, and labor strategy will also need an overhaul. It is possible, and extremely likely, the current working talent are not positioned in the most critical roles needed to address new considerations created by the crisis. This could mean many enterprises need to redistribute their workers into different roles that are now more vital than pre-disruption, or it could entail a complete redefinition of roles/ departments. 

As the economy moves forward there will likely be a shift in hard and soft skills required to execute new strategies. Planning on how to bridge talent gaps for optimal performance is vital, in addition to planning what responsibilities can be satisfied through digital automation -vs- human labor. 

Enterprises will need to establish new performance management processes (for managers and employees) and workforce planning strategies. Talent has always represented a key driver in business success but in a crisis scenario, the right talent can be a lifeline. This talent includes every level in your organizational structure. Leaders will be asked to manage in a new way and completely foreign environment. Additionally, employees will be expected to complete the same level of work performance in an unfamiliar setting, or pick up new skillsets that they previously did not possess to satisfy needs brought on by the pandemic.

As talent will prove to be a challenge, and the redistribution of skillsets will be steep, a GPO can help procurement in hard to source categories that fall under the Human Resources umbrella, these tend to represent an area of unmanaged spend. That means businesses have a lot to gain by putting their group purchasing organization to work. A GPO, like OMNIA Partners, will connect companies to a diverse supplier base that can deliver on savings, and better service-level-agreements that are often far greater than what any individual company can receive on their own.


Now that we know what to expect in the new HR model it is important to unpack how procurement is able to make an impact. In crisis, when talent and time are drastically more imperative, tying resources up in sourcing and negotiation tactics isn’t strategic, especially when a GPO can help procurement gain better results. The GPO model allows businesses, of all industries, to employ necessary workforce - namely procurement  in other strategic areas.  


Specifically, In the case of HR categories, the GPO can drive improvement and value beyond cost savings, helping procurement better balance their resource distribution and prioritize improvement and innovation instead of cost aloneIn this regard as businesses shift their strategies to address the new HR landscape pain points, they can rely on their group purchasing organization as a “secret weapon” helping to gain a competitive advantage and thrive during disruption. Here in lies the crux of why a GPO not being part of procurement’s crisis recovery strategy represents a missed opportunity both for budget and adaptability in HR spend management categories.  

A GPO can help procurement in critical categories, such as:

Hiring Challenges: Procurement's Role in Pre-Employment Screening

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says, the coronavirus crisis has upended normal HR workflows—and pre-employment screening is no exception. "COVID-19 has caused courts and other public-records repositories and drug-testing laboratories to either close or be difficult to access," said Pamela Devata, an employment attorney and partner in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw. "Criminal and civil records reviews and previous employment and education verifications are not as readily available due to closures and remote working. Some applicants may also be reluctant to visit drug-testing labs, and labs may have suspended in-person services." 


Due to this pain point, many enterprises are searching for a supplier partner that allows for criminal searches without human intervention. This will enable HR stakeholders to adequately perform their duties and source the most qualified candidates without delay. Companies looking to hire are challenged with being unable to complete basic criminal checks due to closures. As a result they are seeking alternatives to background screening, such as, forgoing them completely, making job offers conditional upon passing the screening once systems are in a more optimal position, or even virtual hiring. Virtual hiring is a solution trend that businesses have been employing for qualified candidates and interaction free interviews. In order to successfully maneuver these uncharted waters enterprises have needed supplier assistance to manage spend costs and aid in the hiring duties.  


Companies need to be ready to employ all resources available to drive their enterprise through disruption. The pandemic has been a staunch learning curve but businesses who view it as an opportunity to optimize, innovate and adapt will be stronger in the end, especially compared to counterparts that shy away from adopting change – particularly when so much change is already impacting the HR function. 


Spend categories, like Human Resources, that are already challenging to source need extra support, especially when there is an additional layer of complexity added due to socioeconomic challenges. Leaning on a GPO for that much needed support will prove to be a strategic benefit.