HR & Procurement: The Missing Link

May 30, 2017 / Blogs / InfoMart
HR & Procurement: The Missing Link

By Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

This conference season, talent acquisition and procurement lie in the forefront of our thoughts. Potential partnerships pile up and new opportunities lie in the palm of your hand via business cards and information sheets. But afterwards comes the time to organize, reach out, and get to work. When that happens, how will your Procurement Department interact with your HR attendees? Will they interact? No matter the timeframe, if any of the potential vendors do become part of the supply chain, procurement gets added to the equation.

Despite the differences between the roles and responsibilities of the two departments, HR and Procurement have many aspects in common. Both are responsible for acquiring talent for the company whether in the form of new employees, a new supplier, or new contingent workers. Both negotiate contracts on behalf of the company. As your HR professionals visit the next big conferences such as the SHRM Annual Conference in New Orleans and the HR Technology Conference & Expo in Las Vegas while your Procurement teams scout ProcureCon 2017 or diverse supplier shows like the WBENC National Conference & Business Fair, potential contacts could blur together. There are plenty of benefits from increasing the communication between your HR and Procurement Departments both before and after a conference. Established responsibilities between the two teams mean no one does the same job twice, or the same job differently. This increases your company’s internal productivity and ensures no overlap or miscommunication.

With the presence of potential vendors at many of the HR trade shows, your Human Resources professionals have a unique opportunity to cultivate new partnerships for the company or corporate entity that they might not know about. Procurement should take advantage of their presence by communicating present needs of the company. Trade shows are centralized networking opportunities for all involved, but both departments can’t be present at every conference. Maximize your company’s presence by communicating the missing pieces from each face of the business.

You could augment your Procurement team’s efficiency by having HR communicate their pain points that need attention before they spend time cultivating relationships that aren’t the right fit. For example, say your Procurement team is tasked with sourcing a new background screening provider, a vendor that would interact directly with HR. There are multiple factors to consider when routing for the right company, including:

  • What went wrong with your previous background screening provider?
  • What loopholes cost your HR team time and money before?
  • What other services could HR potentially need that a new background check company can contribute, such as drug screening, employment and education verifications, or sanctions searches?
  • Could a member of Procurement or HR present a pre-existing contact from networking events to build from?

All of which could apply to third party vendors catering to different needs such as finances, transportation, delivery, and/or manufacturing products.

Procurement should also share their tactics and talking points with HR going forward with established suppliers. When the language from the contracts stays consistent throughout your organization no matter the department your corporate partners interact with, you stand a much greater chance of developing a beneficial and lasting relationship with your supplier. You create a contracting fluency that resonates with their representatives, something their people will appreciate and respect. This coherence also ensures that everyone from HR to Procurement to the vendors themselves have a clear understanding across the board of what a contract says and what’s expected of the supplier, such as:

  • Expected turnaround time
  • Priority services
  • SLAs
  • Level of communication

An article by Matt Evans on theHRDirector suggests that HR and Procurement can also keep each other up-to-date on trends within their respective markets and the popular opinions of new service providers. All the tips, data, and information exchanged presents possibilities for streamlined onboarding of new employees and services, as well as for the financial processes involved.

The need for a productive relationship between HR and Procurement also lies in the rising popularity of hiring contingent workers versus part-time or full-time employees for specific functions within the company. Responsibility for the management of the incoming personnel and who handles risk mitigation isn’t always clear. Staffing agencies can only recommend the right people for the job when they know the specific needs of your company and the key characteristics necessary for the jobs they’re filling. All three points of view are required to communicate effectively.

Communication prospers when it happens often. The field of procurement is changing, and this is the time to expand its reach within your organization. Make the most of this conference season with a system set up for procuring, adapting, and maintaining the biggest additions to your supply pool, a system where HR and Procurement provide expertise in all aspects of your business. Every chance to learn something new is a chance to move your company forward.

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About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart over 27 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year Award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit

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