Table of Contents
Feature | Webinar Slides & Recorded Video ~ 5 Reasons RPO Contracts Fail & How To Make Yours A Success
If you’d like to see the full recorded version of this webinar from Wednesday that features John Sumser of HRExaminer, Law Professor Heather Bussing and Bill Sebra of RiseSmart, simply fill in the form below or follow this link.
Note: If you registered for, attended the webinar, or have previously subscribed to the Weekly HRExaminer email, you don’t need to take any further action – you’ll receive the special webinar link in the email edition of the HRExaminer on Friday, September 24, 2010.
What separates a great RPO relationship from a disastrous one?
HRExaminer’s Webinar shows you how RPO’s can offload your Human Resources busy work so you can get on with the real business of HR.
Industry Analyst John Sumser shares knowledge gained from talking with hundreds of HR Professionals and describes a process for identifying and evaluating an RPO vendor, plus how to avoid the major risks associated with an RPO contract. You’ll also hear contract tips from Law Professor Heather Bussing and advice for getting the most out of your RPO relationship from RPO vendor Bill Sebra of RiseSmart.
Going to the HR Technology Conference in Chicago next week? Stop by Booth 337 and visit our sponsor RiseSmart, who partnered with HRExaminer this week to bring you our Webinar: 5 Reasons RPO Contracts Fail & How To Make Yours A Success.
A Modest Proposal—Eliminate the Employment Relationship ~ Editorial Advisory Board Contributor Heather Bussing
Heather Bussing is a returning contributor to our HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board. Heather has practiced employment and business law for over 20 years. She has represented employers, unions and employees in every aspect of employment and labor law including contract negotiations, discrimination and wage hour issues. While the courtroom is a place she’s very familiar with, her preferred approach to employment law is to prevent problems through early intervention and good policies and agreements. Full bio…
A Modest Proposal—Eliminate the Employment Relationship
The employer-employee relationship is one of the most legislated, regulated, taxed and litigated relationships we have. The finances of our state and federal governments are tied largely to payroll taxes that include income tax, social security, Medicare, disability, unemployment and local taxes. Our financial markets are also largely dependent on retirement and insurance investments tied to the employment relationship.
However, independent contractors are exempt from most of payroll taxation and regulation. Businesses that hire independent contractors don’t have to withhold taxes, pay benefits or contribute to the 401K accounts. Other laws, including wage and hour, workers’ compensation and EEOC requirement often do not apply to the hirer/independent contractor relationship.
So there is a huge financial distinction between the employer-employee relationship and the hirer-contractor relationship
The distinction in the workplace is becoming negligible.
Control over the method and manner of the work, whether the person has independent judgment and discretion, and who provides the workspace and equipment are the primary factors in determining whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor.
A doctor can be an independent contractor and the person who pulls the lever on the assembly line is an employee. But it’s not always so easy.
Thinking about the people I encounter every day, how many are actually employees and which ones could be either an independent contractor or an employee?
Gas Station: The person behind the counter is most likely the owner—not an employee. The mechanics could be either. If he’s not the owner, the guy who runs the food-mart register is probably an employee. But if he is the only one there and in charge of the entire store and decides what gets ordered and which vendors to use, he may qualify to be an independent contractor.
School: The teachers could all be independent contractors, the principal too and the office staff has more discretion about what happens on campus than almost anyone besides the janitor.
Coffee Shop: Probably employees, especially if the baristas are trained to make the coffee a certain way—but we are not far from the day when they all are independent artisans who have cult followings based on their blends and technique.
Office Supply Store: Probably employees, although the computer repair person and graphic designers in the copy shop could easily be independent contractors.
Law Office: Lawyers—I have performed the exact same job under nearly identical circumstances as an owner, independent contractor and employee. Most of the staff has discretion over when and how they do their work including the receptionist and file clerk who determine how the entire firm runs.
Restaurant: Chefs and bartenders could easily be independent contractors, but the kitchen and wait staff are probably trained to perform in specific ways.
Grocery Store: Grocery stores seem like they would be full of employees stocking, cleaning and manning cash registers. However, the vendors who are independent contractors to the store do most of the displays and much of the stocking.
So the only people who are truly employees are middle management who have no discretion whatsoever. And the sign of a really great employee is that she could be an independent contractor.
What would happen if all the information workers and people who have judgment, discretion and control over how they do their job became independent contractors? The changes would be dramatic, damaging and transformational.
The entire financial system would shift from companies to individuals.
Governments would have a much harder time collecting taxes and providing services.
Workers would have more autonomy, but also more financial risk.
The national health insurance debate would have to be resolved, and may not involve governmental intervention.
Human Resources would become part of Procurement and would be managing contracts rather than benefits and compliance.
And legislatures would be figuring out how to tax contracts.
I don’t know if eliminating the employment relationship would be a good thing or not. I do think it’s possible to an extent never imagined.
I also think it is important to notice that employment has much more to do with payroll taxes than work.
In The Know v 1.34 HR Program Management
This week, we’re pointing to articles about HR Program Management. When the HR Department operates external entities (HRO, RPO, subcontracts), it ceases to be an hierarchical structure. the Program Management Office (PMO) approach utilizes cross functional teams to solve problems and execute programs.
The interesting thing (or at least one of them) is that Program Management is often executed by seasoned professionals rather than members of the management team. These entrepreneurial managers navigate politics, resource requirements and team integration by using funding and scheduling as leverage. Their jobs get really interesting when the subcontract or project is also run as a PMO.
The approach is best demonstrated by the federal government. The notion that the government can be understood as a model for innovation is still hard for many to swallow. But, the government has been in the pure information business for most of its existence.
This management approach depends on being able to wield influence. It’s the future of HR in a world that assumes that repeatable functions are outsourced. The arena is just emerging. The links point to the few kernels of information on the subject.
This is a subject we’ll be returning to.
- Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System
Here’s a procurement disaster story. It’s big enough to have made Wikipedia with its own entry.
Defense Secretary Gates said, “Many of the programs that I have made decisions to cut have been controversial within the Department of Defense. This one was not. I would say that what we’ve gotten for a half billion dollars is an unpronounceable acronym.” Effective Program Management, from the outset, would have made the difference.
- The Program Management Office Advantage
You’ve gotta love Google Books. Here is a classic text on PMO design and execution. The PMO strategy is exactly how one causes complex projects to be effectively executed without turning them into longstanding bureaucracies.
- HR Program Manager
This job description is an interesting point of departure. An HR Program Manager has a broad spectrum of responsibility and a limited amount of authority.
The approach is not yet widespread but does represent the cutting edge of the field.
- HR Program Management Office (PMO)
Mercer uses the Program Management methodology
to ensure alignment in M&A projects.
- IBM’s Training and Management Assistance Program
IBM is one of the few major providers that understands the utility of Program Management. Here’s their approach to delivering HR services to the Federal Government. It’s worth noting that their customers in the government also use the methodology.
Last week, we looked at some of the issues surrounding performance management. The novice’s error is to let the process of setting goals completely derail the work of attaining them. When performance management systems are installed badly, they become elusive silliness, completely divorced from organizational reality. Effectively implemented, they hold the promise of turbo charging the results they measure.
The industry has changed in astonishing ways since SuccessFactors began changing our conversation and focusing on Performance management. Where HR was once a pure navel gazing exercise in search of a seat at the table, the folks at SuccessFactors showed us all how powerful a conversation with the CFO could be. Focused on the delivery of their own results, SuccessFactors has been a significant part of the downturn based landscape rearrangement. In an environment where every body is expected to do more with less, performance management is exactly the right answer.
They made it fashionable to talk about business results as a primary focus of the HR department.
So far, 3,065 organizations have looked in a different place to find their performance management solution. Sonar6, an Australian based (though they have US offices) Software as a Service company is setting up an entirely different conversation about performance management. While SuccessFactors takes much of the media, the folks at Sonar6 are seriously perfecting the SaaS approach and maintaining focus.
There are two fundamental approaches to growing a technology business. You can discover ever bigger customers and sell them ever more complex and interesting things. This is the enterprise strategy. Almost all of the entrants in the Human Capital Technology space end up chasing the enterprise market. The idea here is that it’s easier to sell more (and more and more) to an existing customer than it is to find a new customer. The bigger the customer, the larger the take. In some really big shops, you sell endless volumes. There are those who consider on of the Fortune 50 to be an adequate market.
The other approach is to maintain your focus and keep hitting the same target over and over again with increasing precision and innovation. Where SuccessFactors is predictably headed towards broader offerings and larger customers, Sonar6 is sticking to its knitting. Trying to stay on the game and avoiding the distractions is harder than you might guess.
If you’re open for some entertainment, plug into the Sonar6 mailing list. (It’s a useful tutorial on performance management with enough humor to keep you awake.) These guys seem to be having too much fun. The company motto is “at last, performance reviews that don’t suck.” Their blog is a watershed of plain spoken insight on software, organizations and performance reviews. They publish a series of tongue in cheek (award winning) “color papers” like:
- Good Enough is The New Black
- Really, really, really, really useful performance management
- Never should have added my boss on Facebook
- I Met Expectations: 5 Reasons Performance Reviews Need to Change
The best feature is the pricing. First off, you can find it on the website. These guys know that they’re in a SaaS business and that pricing is supposed to be transparent.
Sonar6 represents the next generation of software provider in HR. Smart, sassy, transparent, maniacally focused on their craft and customer satisfaction, irreverent (except when it comes to their craft) and really, really smart.
Take a look at their offering. You’ll find their emphasis on simplicity, effectiveness and being good enough to be disarming and refreshing.