We All Hate Each Other, and That’s Good for the Industry

79669859I have several competitors whom I admire and look up to as role models and consider friends. Make no mistake, though; where business is concerned, we hate each other’s guts. Competitive spirit is hard-wired into our DNA, and we all want to WIN.

Every industry is competitive, whether it involves selling cars, smart phones or even jeans. Companies in those industries have the ability to differentiate themselves with fanatic customer service, innovative products, or cutting-edge technology. In staffing, there is very little that differentiates each of us, though. For the most part, we all look the same on the surface, use the same resources (job boards, LinkedIn) and when a job opens up in the VMS portal several of us are doing the same thing at the same time. The only thing that differentiates us from each other is our “COMPETITIVENESS.”

In other words, all our skill, talent, and innovative processes that are integral to our success are completely invisible (not to mention “tedious” and “irrelevant”) to the client. This is especially true in VMS business, where the entire vendor list receives new jobs orders at the same time and begins a synchronized sequence of recruiting steps that ultimately lead to a placement for one company, and no placement for the rest. While skill and talent help in delivery, it’s really the sense of urgency and competitive spirit that make the difference between the winners and losers.

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I think most staffing buyers understand their supplier community is motivated by the idea of being No. 1, but most of them fail to take full advantage of staffing company psychology to create a near-frenzy to perform within their supplier base.

One staffing buyer comes to mind when I think about harnessing the competitive spirit of the supplier community. This buyer discloses the ranking and number of placements for each of the top 15 vendors in the program each month on an all-supplier call, and those stats are also provided via email following the call to the vendors and internal stakeholders. This not only brings transparency, builds credibility and creates trust in the program, but it also generates a level of focus and priority to that client because of the open competition it creates.

Every month, my entire team looks forward to this call, and they are very eager to see how their efforts have paid off in comparison to others in terms of ranking and types of positions filled. I’m sure all the suppliers in this program (at least the top 15) feel the same way, and like us, their efforts in supporting this client are greater than they otherwise would be. This buyer knows how to motivate their vendor base, and I hope more buyers figure out ways to use the competitive spirit that comes naturally to staffing companies to create a positive, healthy, and wealthy environment for all involved in their programs.

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Manish Karani

Manish Karani
Manish Karani is president and COO of ASK Staffing Inc. He can be reached at mkarani (at) askstaffing (dot) com.

Manish Karani

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