The Importance of Program Governance for Your Contingent Workforce

GovernanceThe sourcing and implementation of a new contingent workforce management program require a great deal of focus and resources. Key steps like configuring technology, defining service level agreements (SLAs) and finalizing reporting requirements are important parts of any sound implementation process. However, there is one key step for long-term success that is often overlooked and under-resourced – planning for ongoing program governance.

When researching the topic of program governance for contingent workforce management programs recently, I was surprised at how little information was available. Without well-thought-out program governance and management protocols, a contingent workforce management program can fail to realize multi-dimensional benefits and be responsive to emerging needs, expansion, growth and changes. So, it would seem this would be a hot topic amongst staffing buyers and providers. It seems however that governance strategy often takes a back seat to the day-to-day tactics of program implementation and execution and that program management is often mistaken for program governance.

We have found that delaying, underestimating, or underfunding program governance can put the long-term value of a staffing program at risk. We believe that the governance process should set the foundation for your contingent workforce program and guide the direction over its lifetime. So, program governance needs to be an early priority for your program and should be considered as part of the sourcing process for your new staffing provider. In fact, a proven governance model should be key criteria when selecting a staffing provider.

Whether you are establishing a new staffing program or you have an established program but lack an effective governance model, you will need a business case to justify and gain buy-in for your required internal governance resources and to define what is required from your provider.

As part of this process, you must answer three important questions to understand what your governance model will look like:

  1. Where will program governance responsibility reside in your organization? Typically, governance resides either in human resources or procurement, with ongoing, structured involvement from the other departments, including legal, risk management, finance, and the business owners.
  2. How will you work with your staffing provider to govern the program as a partnership? While you and your staffing provider work together to define program goals and expectations, you retain ultimate decision-making for the overall strategic direction of the program.
  3. What will your governance structure look like? As the client, you must clearly define your governance role, build the right team with the right responsibility set and scope, and define what your staffing provider’s responsibilities will be. Your governance infrastructure will vary based on size, scope, and complexity of your program, but some essential roles should be in place regardless of program size.

For more on the important topic of program governance, please read our article, The Governance Imperative, in HRO Today’s MSP Executive Guide.