Managing Contingent Talent Suppliers: Is It Time to Change Our Thinking?

74579926A growing, but still uncertain, economy has placed more pressure than ever on today’s contingent workforce suppliers to meet employers’ evolving needs. Companies depend on their suppliers to deliver not only great talent, but individuals who have the skills and expertise to perform well against constantly changing needs, while driving returns in cost and efficiency. With the scope and urgency of these demands, many companies have realized that simply dictating their supplier performance requirements is no longer enough. Instead, it is time to approach supplier performance management as a two-way street, where the supplier can serve as a true partner to ensure the company acquires the right talent to meet its needs.

There are several factors driving best practices in supplier management.  Growing collaborative focus on customer review sessions, performance management, management portals and enhanced governance are just a few. Additionally, the ability to keep the supply chain “warm” during periods of low activity, and ramp up quickly in times of high demand, is also a key requirement among employers. So how can organizations better manage their contingent workforce suppliers and ensure a mutually beneficial relationship?

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As the need for contingent workers continues to grow, and the scope and urgency of those arrangements continues to evolve, there must be a better approach to supplier performance management. There may be a simple answer: provide consistent and relevant data in the form of a scorecard to identify opportunities for optimizing your supplier community. But is this enough?

To fully drive a healthy competitive supplier community and ensure a two-way street of collaboration, there are several other areas to focus on. Partnership development is critical in maintaining strategic relationships with suppliers, especially those who may be your top-tier partners. It’s equally as important to develop these relationships within the customer forum during ongoing supplier review sessions, but also when leading strategic discussions outside of those sessions. The goal should be to focus on establishing a trusted advisory discussion with input and thought leadership as it relates to market trends, best practices and innovations, while creating and instituting competitive best practices that enhance the quality of client services.

The use of contingent labor will only increase in the future. The time is right for organizations to rethink how they manage their contingent suppliers and actively work to hold strategy discussions with any current or prospective suppliers. Not only will this help the supplier to better meet the company’s needs, but it will also help to build stronger relationships. What results is a more collaborative environment where all parties stand to benefit.

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Mary Kristynik
Mary Kristynik is vice president of supplier strategy for RandstadSourceright and is a certified contingent workforce professional (CCWP).

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