Stationery budgets used to hide cost of contract staff

‘Maverick’ recruiters are hiring contractors and temporary staff and
disguising their fees in office stationery budgets to take on staff during
recruitment freezes.

IT services company Parity has come across the practice "on more than
one occasion", predominantly within the IT departments of large companies.

Joe Kelly, managing director of Parity’s resourcing solutions division,
said: "Putting staff costs through on budgets that should be reserved for
staplers, just to secure good skills at short notice, is not an advisable

Kelly discovered one team that had employed more than 100 contractors and
succeeded in bypassing the HR department completely.

"His finance team must think he uses an awful lot of paper and
pens," Kelly said.

Martin Moore, former senior HR manager at Nortel Networks and now head of HR
at the British Museum, said the "hiding" of staff was something that
he had previously seen before.

"It’s reflective of a parochial attitude within some departments and a
mismatch between their own and the organisation’s objectives."

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said it was
vital that managers fully understand the recruitment process and the reasons
behind it.

Organisation and resourcing adviser Rebecca Clake said: "Managers need
to appreciate that the proper recruitment channels are not just about red tape
and pen pushing.

"This is not just an HR issue, it’s a wider business issue. The finance
and HR departments need to communicate and work together towards the best
staffing solutions when budgets are tight," she said.

Stephen Luckhurst, HR director at science and technology company Qinetiq,
said: "Any HR department or company that is forcing its managers to behave
in this way needs to take a long hard look at itself.

"If you have employees you don’t know about, it opens up the whole area
of risk management and liability," he said.

Do you have a tale to tell? Send us your HR horror stories.

By Mike Berry

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