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"You've heard the saying: Communication is a two-way street."

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5 Tips To A Successful Partnership With Your Staffing Provider
by Dawn Serpe, Collabera Vice President of Strategic Accounts

5 Tips To A Successful Partnership With Your Staffing Provider

It's no secret that staffing continues to be a challenge in many industries, The industry as a whole is forecasted to grow 7 percent in 2015 (according to Staffing Industry Analysts), and another 6 percent on top of that the following year. The total size of the industry is forecasted to reach $123 billion by 2016.

As of September 2015, the unemployment rate hovered around 5 percent and the unemployment rate of the most in-demand technology professionals averages below 2 percent but demand for skilled employees continues to increase.

That means the hiring capabilities of staffing providers are more in demand than ever.

But growth in the general industry, as well as even more exaggerated expansion in burgeoning segments like IT, means little to organizations like yours if you can't build a positive, productive partnership with your staffing provider - one that consistently presents successful solutions to your most pressing staffing problems. Much of that success depends on the skill set and persistence of your staffing provider, but there's plenty that you, the client, can also do in this relationship: Simple factors like solid communication and crystal-clear expectations can make a world of difference.

Want to better understand the role you can play in the success of your partnership with a staffing provider? Here are our five top tips for making the most of your business relationship.

Partnership Tip #1: Communicate

In any relationship marriages and business relationships alike communication is key. Perhaps the most critical aspect to getting your IT recruitment partnership off on the right foot is governance: a system that ensures effective, structured coordination of your organization's resources and actions.

Based on your organization's governance, a means of staying engaged and communicating with your staffing provider should naturally emerge!

Who Communicates With Whom?

Your head of IT will communicate with your staffing provider's senior-most person, most likely on a quarterly basis this meeting will review overall strategic progress and a scorecard revolving around key success metrics. Your head of IT Vendor Management will communicate with your staffing provider's senior-most person, most likely on a quarterly basis - this meeting will involve review of strategic objectives of the partnership and a detailed discussion around the scorecard around key success metrics. From the top down, though, there should also be monthly update meetings between Account Managers and IT staffing vendor manager, weekly touch points between vendor coordinators and Account executives, and daily conversations between account execs and hiring managers.

Stay Engaged

Even if you have a managed service provider in place, it's important not to cut yourself out of the communication loop with your staffing partner entirely.

Commit to communicating with your staffing provider on a regular basis based on where you fall within your organization's governance if for no other reason than to take advantage of the vast knowledge your staffing partner can share with you. Leveraging your staffing provider's industry knowledge can help you be a more engaged employer, too!

Listen

You've heard the saying: Communication is a two-way street.

Communicating with your IT staffing provider isn't just about making sure they're producing results around the clock. (Though they should be!)Staffing providers have an ear to the ground in the procurement and recruitment world at all times. Providers like Collabera invest time, money and considerable resources in educating themselves on their clients' industries and technologies where hiring needs may emerge in the future. When you meet with them, ask questions and listen closely to the answers. They can offer you insight into best practices around sourcing and procurement - even give you a peek into how your peer companies are optimizing vendors. Your staffing partner can educate you on going rates for key hires and offer context on how the market is driving demand and pricing behavior.

Why do they work so hard to stay educated on these things? Because being a resource to you, the client, is in everyone's best interest. So listen up, and trust your staffing partner's expertise.

Partnership Tip #2: Take Advantage of Everything Your Partner Has to Offer

Make sure that when you partner with a staffing provider, you understand all that they have to offer and take advantage of their full spectrum of available services.

Other Services

Beyond traditional staffing services, Collabera's other offerings include:

  • Direct hire placement
  • Managed services
  • Onboarding and offboarding
  • Back office support
  • Exit interviews

Industry Expertise

One of the most important factors to leverage in your relationship with your staffing partner, however, is their specialized knowledge. Staffing providers also make it their business to keep their fingers on the pulse of emerging technologies, above and beyond the realm of generalized IT hiring. Collabera, for instance, invests heavily in technology trends including big data, Hadoop and Java. We're among the first to know as these technologies are becoming increasingly relevant to businesses like yours - and are always happy to share that insight with our clients.

We also stay at the forefront of the industry by hiring recruiters who are experts in these challenging-to-source areas: people who can talk the talk and understand the technologies beyond the surface level more than generic recruiters would. This enables passive recruiting for your most difficult-to-fill positions, as recruiters can monitor blogs, discussion groups and other online resources for people who show interest and expertise in those technologies. And during the hiring process, our recruiters' special training allows them to have highly technical conversations with candidates that allow us to better pre-screen them for your hiring needs.

Partnership Tip #3: Set Clear Expectations

Setting benchmarks for success is paramount. And these benchmarks aren't just important for you to evaluate the success of your staffing provider internally; understanding your expectations and being on the same page as to what success means is absolutely crucial to your relationship. These benchmarks ensure you're working toward a shared goal.

Beyond your initial conversations with your staffing provider, one way to set those concrete expectations is with a scorecard that you review with senior leadership every quarter.

Here are just a few key metrics you might include in that scorecard:

  • Issue response time
  • Interview ratio
  • Hire ratio
  • Cost competitiveness
  • Quality and longevity of hires

Equally important: If your expectations or key metrics change mid-project, communicate it with your staffing provider immediately.

Partnership Tip #4: Provide Feedback

A quarterly scorecard review can be helpful in assessing the success of your relationship with your staffing partner, but if an issue should arise before your set meeting date, don't wait!

Never hold back in offering your opinion on how things are going - whether it's positive or negative, and even if you don't have all the quantitative data in place to make a hard, logical assessment of the situation. Many times, your "soft" feedback is just as important as the data in your scorecard in maintaining a positive relationship with your staffing provider. And it's in everyone's best interest for that feedback to be given sooner than later. Throughout your governance structure, a system of transparency should be in place.

Perhaps the biggest favor you can do yourself in your staffing efforts is to give your partner an opportunity to correct any issues that arise before they fester into a full-blown hiring crisis.

Partnership Tip #5: Recognize Results

Recognizing a job well done, no matter how simply it's done, is an essential part of a thriving relationship. If your staffing partner is meeting or exceeding your expectations, be sure to let them know! If you feel positive soft feedback and praise don't do the situation justice, look for opportunities to expand the relationship. Perhaps invite them into your office and ask them to be partner for wider-reaching staffing problem-solving opportunities.

Positive references and personal referrals are another great way to show appreciation for a job well done. One of the best incentives for success that you can offer: exclusivity. For example, if you need to hire a large team, give the entire staffing contract to that partner. Or offer geographic exclusivity; instead of forcing several staffing providers to jockey for candidates in the same area, award one with all the hiring responsibility for a particular region. And, of course, if you're happy with the results you and your staffing partner have achieved together - but aren't sure how to incentivize their stellar performance - simply let them know. Asking their input on the best way to take your relationship to the next level is reward in itself.

Ready To Create A Successful Partnership?

Since 1991, Collabera has been a leading provider of IT staffing solutions and services. We are known for providing the best staffing experience and taking great care of our clients and employees. Our client-centric model provides focus, commitment and dedicated teams to help each client achieve its unique business objectives. We stand behind our values of integrity, passion for excellence, collaboration, innovation and client value creation.

Ready to talk more about creating a successful partnership with a staffing provider with your organization's best interests top of mind? Get in touch

 

Heads Up! 5 Mistakes To Avoid In Your Staffing Partnership

  • Don't keep secrets. Be transparent in your relationship! If you're working with additional staffing providers, make them aware of one another. If you're unhappy with something in the relationship, speak up.
  • Don't pit vendors against one another. It's in no one's interest for multiple staffing providers to be sourcing for the same positions or going after the same batch of candidates.
  • Don't wait till the last minute. Inform your staffing provider of your upcoming needs as soon as possible, particularly if they require a harder-to-source niche skill. Give them the time they need to find the best match!
  • Don't be vague. Communicate to your staffing partner what success means and how it will be measured. Mentoring, guidance and a solid scorecard ensures that you're working toward a shared goal, so there are no surprises.
  • Don't pigeonhole. Yes, a staffing vendor can help you source and recruit IT staff. But you should consider them a partner in your efforts - take advantage of the breadth of services they offer, and trust their expertise in the realm of IT staffing.