Handle on external hiring
The volume of external hiring at Gemeente Gouda last year (2018) equated to 7.75 million euros: 16 – 17 per cent of total personnel costs. For the years ahead, with the help of its dedicated Managed Service Provider, Staffing MS (part of HeadFirst Group), the organisation’s goal is to gain an even tighter handle on external hiring and if possible, reduce the volume. “We expect Staffing MS to perform an active role. Though you might think that they have an opposing interest here”, says Eelke Pol, Head of HRM and Change Agent at Gemeente Gouda. “But within this partnership, we look together – as partners – at what might genuinely be the best solution for Gemeente Gouda, and work towards it.”
Gemeente Gouda has been canalising its external hiring through Staffing MS for some seven years now. This applies for all job roles: from receptionists to heads of department. The Gemeente Gouda also requires several candidates for the built environment. In that sector, most candidates don’t immediately think of local authorities as a potential employer. Often, a local authority such as Gouda’s needs to think and act from a place of community involvement and social development. Besides salary, a sense of meaning weighs heavily in this context.
“One of the main motives behind our partnership with Staffing MS was to gain and retain greater control over the form, quality and duration of external hiring”, comments Pol. “What is our level of external hiring, what is the composition of that hiring and which costs are involved? But also: for how long and – most importantly – why is Gemeente Gouda using someone external? Once we have the answers to those questions, we can improve and account for our decision-making. And, we can better implement our vision for permanent and flex.”
Vision on permanent and flex
For a government authority, flex work has a social and even a moral component to it. Hiring someone in to complete a specific and time-sensitive task is one thing. But where or at what length of relationship does the social responsibility of the employer come into it?
“That flex/permanent discussion is alive and well in our society”, observes Pol. “In order to be able to make informed decisions and agreements, it is useful to have a permanent point of reference and knowledge. Indeed, the question is not only who or what we need, but also for how long and in what form. How can we address this with as much financial and social responsibility as possible? Does the investment pay off through the process? Are there disadvantages to the form of contingent hiring for us or the candidate?”