If your workforce includes temporary workers, you are most likely depending on staffing agencies to provide them. Depending on your business needs, you may rely on one critical supplier, or you may engage hundreds of agencies. Staffing suppliers will source, screen, employ, onboard, pay, and offboard these workers as a service to you. Outsourcing the procurement of temporary workers promises to allow your internal HR team to focus on more strategic activities. But, up-front work on your part is required to guarantee that the staffing suppliers you select will provide these services at expected levels of quality.
When seeking new staffing suppliers, what should you look for? Is it expedient to get suppliers on board based on their professed resources or capabilities and competencies? How can you really know or ensure that the chosen supplier will be able to deliver on the promises made? Because a mistake when choosing a supplier could affect your business very negatively, a strong contract would make sense, but keep in mind that an incompetent supplier cannot be pushed into turning into a capable one just because the contract has laid out tight terms. Most likely, all it will earn you is a load of litigation, along with a failed business strategy and a disruption of your operations.
As a client, you may be completely aware of the specific services you require, the industry norms for levels of service, and acceptable market prices. Savvy customers will never accept an offer just because the price is the lowest. After all, low prices could translate to poor service. Price has to be juxtaposed with quality to decide on the winning offer, but how does one ensure that the supplier is providing an accurate picture of its capabilities? To make things even more challenging, you may encounter requests for skills that can’t be sourced by your existing supply base that was selected through a lengthy bid process. How do you quickly conduct the needed due diligence when you must onboard a new supplier in a matter of a few days? Clearly, the answer is to try to develop a holistic view of the potential supplier, verifying sourcing capabilities, business credentials, and style of work. To do this, your assessment should go beyond responses provided to a survey. Ask the supplier to specify the recruiters and account team that will support you and, if possible, visit the supplier’s office(s) to meet and interview some key personnel. Always check customer references, including ones that the supplier did not provide.
Remember the following maxims:
The adage ‘Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment’, is highly applicable in this context, so please do share some of your own hard-won wisdom in this context with us.
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