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HCMWorks Insights

What is a Center of Excellence and How Will it Help Your Contingent Workforce Strategy?

Posted by Julia Fournier on 23 Jul 2018

The term “Centre of Excellence” (CoE) is becoming increasingly popular in the business world, and many organizations are working towards either setting up these departments or outsourcing them to a specialized firm.

With increased challenges around who, or which department, is responsible for the contingent workforce program of a company, CoEs are attracting significant interest from organizations that tap into this important workforce. 

The contingent workforce, which is now an essential aspect of any large, and even small, business, comes with its own set of unique challenges. Expertise is needed for challenges such as classification, pay, talent acquisition and management.

So, what is a Center of Excellence?

The definition of a CoE states that it is a group of people who lead a specific area of an organization, focusing on its unique challenges while working towards a set of predetermined goals. Essentially, a CoE improves expertise in a certain area of the business, helping it to overcome obstacles and improving efficiencies.

A CoE can be built around a team that is either hired from outside of the company or are current employees within the business, and can either be an ongoing part of a business process or a temporary setup.

For example, if you are hiring your first set of contingent workers you may want to temporarily outsource a CoE to help you set up your business in a way to prepare for that first step, but you may also want a CoE to oversee the ongoing management of these external employees.

A CoE will focus on:

  • Supporting an organization.
  • Providing research.
  • Suggesting best practices.
  • Offering guidance.
  • Provide training and oversight to employees.
  • Govern a particular aspect of the business, allocating relevant resources and technologies.

It’s important to note that the term “excellence” can sometimes be misleading. A CoE is not above or better than other departments within a business. The job of the CoE is to find best practices within a particular aspect of the business, and then to disseminate that information to the departments responsible - or oversee it themselves, depending on the company’s setup.

How do companies typically approach contingent workers?

When it comes to an organization’s external workers, there is an age-old debate on which department should be responsible. HR departments help deliver business goals by using their hiring expertise to acquire top talent, while procurement departments will use their knowledge to manage a company’s bottom line and keep an eye on risk mitigation.

The creation or outsourcing of a CoE will provide best practices to either the HR or procurement department, or both, depending on how that particular organization is run. The CoE will help oversee the management of external workers and will work towards reducing costs, optimizing the process and improving external worker efficiencies, as well as meeting an organization’s talent management and acquisition goals.

HR and procurement departments work across many different aspects of a business. Therefore, having a CoE specifically focused on contingent workers will greatly improve a company’s ability to acquire and retain the services of the top talent within their industry.

The benefits of an outsourced CoE partnership

Partnering with an outsourced CoE will give an organization access to top talent, expert knowledge in the management of external workers and access to technologies - such as a vendor management system (VMS) - that will allow a company to automate the process.

Managed service providers (MSPs), such as HCMWorks, provide expertise for a company’s overall external talent strategy. An MSP will manage an organization’s entire contingent labor pool, give it access to top talent quickly, take control of worker and vendor payments, as well as oversee risk mitigation.

Once an organization has optimized its contingent workforce strategy, with it will come innovation, workforce agility, cost efficiencies, access to top talent and an improved bottom line.

Want to partner with HCMWorks? Contact us today.

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Tags: Contingent Workforce Management

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