T he UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Euro Cup 2016 is over for another four years.

The players are ready to start the next season for their domestic leagues or, for some, are back to their non-professional football role. This year, a marked number of less populated countries such as Iceland and Albania have made it through to the Group Stage despite challenges in recruiting top players.

In typical IQN fashion, my office ran a sweepstake to raise money for charity. I drew Albania and from the start I didn’t rate my chances very high! As tournament gossip in the office ensued, it occurred to me that entering such a contest is like taking part in an RFx for Statement of Work (SOW) contractors. There is a clear project—win the Cup. But the similarities don’t end there with deliverables (each game), payment milestones (match bonuses), or timesheet management (how long before you’re substituted).

As a now ‘proud Albanian’, it struck me that the President of FSHF (the Albanian Football Association), Armand Duka, is similar to any contingent workforce hiring/buyer manager. He sets out the objectives, identifies the budget, and then appoints someone to go find the team.

If Armand Duka is the hiring manager, then Gianni De Biasi, as head coach, is fulfilling the role of the managed service provider (MSP). He is responsible for contacting his suppliers (football teams) and working through a long list of candidates to find the best ones. He takes responsibility for background checks (medicals, drug tests and, of course, their current performance), onboarding (pre-tournament training) and offboarding (the inevitable flight home). Throughout the tournament, Gianni De Biasi manages timesheets and regularly checks the resource to validate and make sure they are still able to complete the task at hand.

Now let’s compare this with the business world. The non-permanent workforce is currently estimated to be 20% for many large corporations, with growth to as much as 50% anticipated over the next few years. With this trend, hiring managers will spend increasingly more time hiring, assessing and offboarding candidates. Currently, for most MSPs, their role is to manage suppliers and processes, generate reports, and analyse report results. The task of choosing the right resource is falling ever more to the hiring manager with the time running their division often squeezed in favour of managing this growing human resource challenge. Plus, hiring managers are typically not from an HR background.

Armand Duka and Gianni De Biasi have got it right. Mr. Duka may set the objectives, be the budget holder, and have an eye on the overall performance, but he does not take charge of who the best resource is; he leaves that to his expert.

I believe the next big shift in the contingent workforce landscape will involve trailblazing companies allowing their MSPs to take on a direct role, not just for managing the supply chain and operating the process, but also to assume responsibility for choosing the best resource. The MSPs can move up the value chain from process operator to provider of a truly managed service, leaving the hiring manager time to focus on their required business role and delivering results, not acting as an HR manager. As we say in Albania, “loja po ndryshon” (The Game is Changing).

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