Alex MacKenzie
Vice President

Alex MacKenzie plays a key role in the Procom organization which include joint operational responsibility for Procom’s Toronto operations, strategic and operational responsibility for Procom's Enterprise service line and executive involvement in Procom's corporate marketing efforts.  

Mr. MacKenzie began his tenure at Procom in 1997 as an account manager working with strategic Procom Clients, strengthening the company’s position at the forefront of the Contract Workforce Management industry. His role in the company has evolved in conjunction with Procom’s tremendous growth.

Mr. MacKenzie sits on Procom’s Management Team, tasked with strategic planning and decision making for the organization. He sits on the board of directors for the National Association of Computer Consulting Businesses (NACCB) in Canada and is a well-respected member of the Staffing and Recruiting industry.

Growing up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Mr. MacKenzie graduated from Lakehead University with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in 1994.

Alex MacKenzie

Vice President
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Direct sourcing: 3 Steps to designing your program for contract talent

Even the best talent organizations can struggle when it comes to launching an enterprise-wide direct sourcing program. Although most efforts are well founded, some businesses may struggle with the assumption that informal direct sourcing activities can scale up easily (they don’t!), and fail to consider program participation dynamics from the talent’s point of view.

Launching an effective direct sourcing program will allow your organization to build a community of engaged talent, thereby lowering the cost of acquisition and increasing contractor performance while on assignment.

Here’s how to do it:


The approach
All best-in-class programs are designed with a three-part approach. This approach involves a cross-functional team of key client representatives and supporting team members. When preparing your direct sourcing program, components should include: Client goals, experience of the candidate, and program architecture. Although change management is fundamental, it will require its own dedicated work stream.


Step 1.
Setting Client Goals (and resourcing)
Great programs start with a set of clear and achievable goals, supported by a resourcing plan that provides all of the people and technology required to achieve success. When setting program goals, an organization should pick two or three of the ones below as the principal focus of their program.  Which goals are most important to you?

• Better access to talent
• Save money
• Increase transparency & control
• Improve contractor experience
• Independence from vendors
• Manage risk


Step 2.

Experience Design: The source of participation
Building a community of engaged contractors and future employees is not easy – it requires very intentional thinking from the talent’s perspective about the experience and benefits of participation. Poor experience design and inconsistent participation incentives will mean your program is unlikely to resonate with contractors, and those that do join, will tend to fall off quickly.

Business owners can off-set this by leveraging a process based on experience design. This includes analyzing your organization’s current needs and environment, followed by development of participant personas and crafting relevant value propositions at each phase of the relationship lifecycle.


Step 3. 
Fundamental Program architecture 
In tandem with the experience design process, every program needs to define its fundamental structure and policy decisions that will govern day to day operations. We define this as the people, process, policy and technology elements of your direct sourcing program.  Identifying and addressing these components is fundamental to its success, however; many organizations approach these decisions in an ad-hoc way, as opposed to part of a larger design and outcome driven initiative.


A successful program will take into consideration these 5 major decisions:

• Payroll management model
• Sourcing format
• Rate management card
• Onboarding requirements
• Governance/KPIs

Building a strong direct sourcing program can be as easy, or difficult as you make it - it all depends on your goals and approach. A basic program will offer a clear framework for Onboarding and managing your contingent workers safely over the engagement lifecycle. Want more information on designing your direct sourcing program?  Download our free white paper: How to Optimize Costs with Directly Sourced Contractors: 

Contingent Workforce Management

What is contractor classification?

When onboarding an independent contractor, organizations must classify aspects of the contingent worker relationship to ensure the correct legal and contract management structure is in place. Misclassification of workers happens when tax authorities and/or regulatory bodies deem one or more of an organization’s contract workers as actual employees. 

Managing a blended or contingent workforce is a logistical challenge in the ever-growing gig economy, and contractor classification is one of the biggest risks facing organizations that operate one.  

Between 10–20 per cent of employers misclassify at least one worker, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates organizations have misclassified millions of workers in the U.S. alone.  

When onboarding contingent workers, these insights will help categorize and classify your worker relationships, so you can focus on moving your business forward. 


Common types of classification
The issue of worker classification arises from government concern that organizations may be attempting to avoid tax obligations by misclassifying workers – either accidentally or on purpose. While classification is primarily an on-boarding activity, organizations must be vigilant to ensure the status of the relationship does not change over time and invalidate the original classification. To ignore this may result in future reassessments and penalties.


Below are the common types of contractor classification: 
• Legal Status
• Employer payroll
• Overtime status
• Right to work status (I-9)
• Health and safety sensitive


Why does contractor classification matter? 
The first thing to understand about classification is that a worker is not classified by their title or by the wording in their contract (e.g., “Independent Contractor Agreement”). Instead, it’s the context of the worker’s role that determines their classification.

If your organization operates a contingent or blended workforce, contractor classification is critical to avoiding tax, government and brand related consequences like wage claims, fines, back payments, class-action lawsuits, benefits owed to re-classified employees and reputational damages.

Classification also provides clarity on employer obligations. Employers have certain obligations to traditional employees that they don’t have to contingent workers, such as pension plan or insurance premium contributions and income tax deductions; whereas contractors take on these responsibilities themselves. Furthermore, contractor classification helps organizations manage the engagement with the worker and provide a unique and tailored onboarding experience. Similar to traditional employees, contingent workers want to feel as though the organization they're working with is excited to have them on board, is prepared for the engagement and has all required internal processes in place.


Who handles contractor classification? 
Some organizations’ internal HR function will handle classification for employees, and many times, contingent workers are slipping through the cracks. As such, competitive organizations are no longer approaching the management of their contingent workforce in an ad-hoc or as needed basis, and many are turning to a third party to assist in creating an effective contingent workforce management program that drives high levels of compliance. 


These third parties include: 
Managed Services Provider (MSP): An MSP will manage all or part of a contingent workforce needs according to client requirements. MSPs may or may not offer a Vendor Management System (VMS) of their own, but they normally combine some type of VMS technology into the program(s). 

Vendor Management System (VMS): A VMS is a technology solution that provides visibility into an organization’s contingent worker program, including every worker, the length of their engagement and project scope. Basic system functions handle everything from requisition to off-boarding, hiring approvals and processing of time sheets and invoices.

Independent Contractor Engagement Specialists (ICES): ICES will act as an Agent or Employer of Record for IRS purposes in the U.S.. 


What is the process for handling exceptions? 
Contractor classification can be something of a balancing act, and to ensure compliance, employers should audit their processes, documentation and internal rules with the latest legislation and classification systems.  

There are also certain scenarios that fit outside the 90 per cent of regular classifications. In such cases, who is accountable for making the final decision? Without a defined escalation process for exceptions, front line management, more often than not, is forced to take on the responsibility of classification as well as their day-today-operations, which can lead to a poor on-boarding experience, delayed on-boarding, last minute rejections, poor documentation or in the worst case scenario, misclassification.


What is the role of a staffing agency?
Staffing firms have a role to play — in meeting clients’ changing skills requirements, advising on the best solutions available to meet their business goals and delivering innovative services that transform how they acquire and manage talent.  

Furthermore, due to the risks involved with the misclassification of workers, service providers like staffing agencies embed classification as an integral component into their contractor on-boarding process, and these classification systems evolve over time to be current with the changing realities of contract and employment law.  With expertise in contract labor, a trusted partner can help organizations avoid the risks of misclassification – while also protecting the interests of the skilled workers represented.


Contractor classification isn't the only risk organizations face when managing a blended or contingent workforce. If you're interested in engaging contingent talent, or want deeper insights into how to manage the risks posed by your current program, download our free whitepaper A Checklist for Contingent Worker Risk:   

Contingent Workforce Management

Are you paying too much for directly sourced contingent workers?

Engaging temporary talent can be a risky but rewarding business for companies who operate a contingent worker program.

Organizations that are tapping into the temporary talent pool have unprecedented access to employing niche talent, with a current pick of 42 million independent workers in the U.S. alone. And many employers are turning to direct sourcing to align recruitment efforts with their cost saving objectives -- so much so that it comprises 50 per cent of an organization's workforce.

Contingent Workforce Management

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Customer Sucess Stories

“Excellent service, very timely response time, quality candidates and outstanding support.”

K.M.
Global Professional Services Firm

“..the most reliable partners we work with. They are timely with their submissions and are quick to respond to emails and provide updates and required information. Their candidates typically are at the top of the pack as is evident by their fill/success rate.“ 

Z.N.
Leading Financial Services Institution

“Great support in helping us achieve our corporate mandates by providing top quality knowledgeable resources in a timely and efficient manner - very easy to do business with! “

L.R.
National Telecommunications Provider

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