Getting a Contact from a form input

I'm implementing a Sheet to receive input for Time Off Requests. For the submission form, the users will enter their name, the names of their approvers (supervisors), and their department's timekeepers.

For these 4 employee columns, I have created them as Contact Lists. I have created an approval workflow and also reports and these are all built off of the Contact List column functionality.

The submission form, though, doesn't allow the input of a contact. When the sheet is submitted, the name enters as text instead of the contact and nothing can be done with the row until the sheet is manually updated to be a Contact instead of just the text.

Are there any methods, workarounds, or Contact List formulae I can use to fix this?