When a staffing provider fails to deliver on its service-level agreements, the consequences are well-known, ranging from limiting of further opportunities in the program, to enhanced corrective governance and probation review periods, and potential removal from the program. Not so well-known — or leveraged by CW program leadership — however, is the flip-side of this equation: the rewards for delivering above and beyond the contracted, delivery of CW service-level expectations.

Exceptional Service

This isn’t for staffing partners that are just meeting expectations; performing as agreed should not warrant special or enhance recognition in the form of additional incentives. The standard level of contracted service performance has already been paid for and need not be rewarded further.

Rather, it is those that deliver exceptional levels of service in support of the CW program’s goals, objectives and mission that should elicit special program rewards and incentives.

Additionally, ensure your SLA & KPI metrics are driving the right behaviors to support program goals and objectives. Further, SIA has found that MSP programs that offer at least minimal, service-level, incentive/rewards initiatives seem to generate higher NPS scoring results.


There are many options for incentive programs, and not all are financial-based. Although some small budgeting should be considered to fund the recognition activities of a CW program rewards initiative, not all need to be monetary-based. Here are some ideas:

  • Directed requisitions. Staffing service opportunities that are not processed through the traditional competitive sourcing methodology, but directly/exclusively to the high performing staffing partner.
  • Additional contract terms. Enhanced service contract terms that create some competitive advantage for a single or a group of recognized, high-performing staffing partners.
  • Staffing partner tiering. Tiering staffing partners to provide early requisition access, enhanced business volumes and other business privileges to high-performing staffing partners. A tiering methodology can also be used to manage a staffing partner portfolio membership annually. Phase out marginal performers with new, high performers, annually.
  • Added business opportunities/additional service lines. Granting the provider access to new or expanding business opportunities with minimal, competitive bidding requirements to secure that new business opportunity.
  • SLA dollar incentives. Although rare, specific dollar incentives that are captured when a staffing partner’s performance exceeds specific SLA measures. This is more likely to be used in special, process improvement, change management initiatives.
  • Competitively ranking staffing partner performance. Comparatively ranking staffing partner performance can create high levels of competitive performance. Comparative ranking can create a competitive advantage and culture that directly supports an organization’s leverage and access to high-level CW talent. Some contingent workforce programs have the tools to execute a respected staffing partner performance ranking process, while others can only speculate who their best performers might be at any given time.
  • Public recognition of service excellence. A controlled, public recognition of a staffing partner’s service excellence derived from the competitive ranking system. Note: Brand management rules and staffing partner confidentiality clauses will affect the execution of public recognition and staffing partner performance ranking.
  • Cash incentives. Some workforce solution programs develop cash-based incentives to be given directly to the staffing provider’s recruiters and service coordinators as direct investments in those resources performances for their account. Cash rewards that are incorporated into a rewards program should be considered as investments in higher-levels of service performance and measured for return on investment.

A well-developed incentive program can produce powerful results and attention from staffing partners. But at the end of the day, performance rewards and incentives should be for incremental service excellence that is above and beyond the standard contracted service levels already paid for and anticipated.

SIA dedicates a full CCWP certification class module to supplier partner performance; supplier partnership is a key ingredient for a high performing contingent workforce program.