Resourcing procurement to be transformed at the Co-op Bank

27 October 2014

The Co-operative Bank is overhauling its procurement of temporary staff as it separates from the wider Co-operative Group.

The bank, which is now just 20 per cent owned by the group with the remaining 80 per cent in the hands of investors, is now re-establishing the services that were previously part of the group’s shared services model, including procurement and HR.

“One of the things you have got to accept when you split from a parent organisation is that you are generally left with a weak infrastructure,” Carl Du Plessis, interim head of resourcing and talent, told an SM webinar - Essential tips to manage your temporary workforce - held in association with Comensura.

“There is a lack of system capability within the resourcing function. Our ability to track and trade contingent labour, understand the volumes is limited and at best manual. We are traditionally a full house model, so we have a very capable team of internal recruiters but because they have been solely in house they have limited understanding of the market.”

The bank’s head of commercial operations, Richard Beaumont, added that for the procurement of labour the bank has a diversified supplier base, with concentration in one supplier which means there is a very large tail spend, variability in fees and some spot purchasing. “There are also inconsistent pay rates against job roles, and the age-old substitute of using contractors and temporary labour for what should be full time recruitment as observed by very long tenures,” he added.

As a result five key areas are being addressed to improve the affordability of resourcing. Firstly the bank is ensuring it is getting appropriate margins from suppliers it chooses to engage with, and that pay rates against clear job descriptions are appropriately managed so they don’t differ wildly across different parts of the organisation.

It is also looking to establish clear control over referrals, working with a broader range of the stakeholders on control over workers' tenure.

“The top goal however is understanding where you are now and where you are going to get to,” he added. “If you are not able to establish the baseline and if you are not able to see the management information which will help you track and control you are simply going to lose control no matter how effectively you get it. Where you are now and where you are going to get to," Beaumont said.

The bank has engaged Comensura to get external knowledge of recruitment markets.

Jon Milton, Comensura’s business development director, also speaking on the webinar, said that when companies are looking to deploy vendor neutral models they must understand what proportion of the total expenditure is pay, what is margin and what covers statutory contributions, such as employers’ national insurance contributions.

“From this you will be able to work out an average agency margin per job category and as a whole and also to understand what efficiencies can be made from pay rates,” Milton said. “You’ll also be able to understand if there is any potential wastage with workers who have become part of the furniture.”

Milton also explained that getting executive buy-in early in the process can help engage stakeholders acrss the company. “Contingent staffing is an emotive subject and stakeholders may resist change. You’ll have a better starting position if stakeholders know that your CEO has bought into the review and supports what you are trying to achieve,” he said.

☛ To listen to the webinar, please register here.

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