Aon Nederland acquired the Unirobe Meeùs Groep (UMG) in 2017. This takeover led to a significant increase in external hiring. Staffing Management Services (part of HeadFirst Group) had already been the insurance firm’s full-service provider for four years, since 2013. The takeover presented Aon Nederland and Staffing MS with several specific tasks: identifying the total external hiring, offering a single coherent set of hiring conditions and saving on external hiring. “We can leverage market forces further still.”
“It turned out to be a comprehensive transition”, says Michiel van Meer, HR Director at Aon Nederland. “External hiring was dotted across departments and portfolios. We didn’t have a handle or control on it. Plus, there was a lot of transactional work involved, which detracted from more strategic activities. That’s why we initiated this project and implemented it together with Staffing MS: using a single HR vision, with procurement in mind.”
A handle on spend
The increased external hiring was necessary to support the organisation with specific knowledge; to man projects and compensate for the natural turnover. So very diverse. “It helps when you have a professional party to structure and support that complex hiring process. And also, to keep a handle on spend. After all, external hiring entails huge costs. You want to know where those costs lie, what the profiles are, what the level of quality is, et cetera.”
Whilst the structuring of the external hiring took place through a HR lens, cost was another determining factor. Which is why HR joined up with finance. Because if ways could be found to circumnavigate the hiring process, they would cost the company time and money. “At a certain point, invoices for contingent workers hired outside of the Hiring Desk would no longer be paid automatically. That may sound harsh, but it’s a good way to create awareness”, explains Van Meer.
Aon Nederland and Staffing MS knew that restructuring the contingent hiring process would be impactful. Before, the business would hire people direct; now, a link was being introduced. “That’s why we involved management in the process and explained our ‘why’. So not just for financial reasons, but primarily to enhance insight, control and quality. Our HR managers were given clear rules of play. But they also had the possibility of maintaining contact with agencies in order to assure quality. What was important was that we intensified our internal discussions and communication. After all, we and Staffing MS could develop the best process in the world, but we would be the ones ultimately implementing it. For that, we needed to create engagement and support internally.”