By now, you’ve likely had your annual performance review, and if your organization’s review process is designed well, you’ve been able to provide your own confidential feedback as well. Many aren’t comfortable providing negative feedback about their managers or organizations, but being able to provide honest as well as constructive suggestions is imperative for continuous growth and improvement.

Confidential Review

The same can be said for feedback regarding your contingent workforce program. Hearing from stakeholders on what is working well and what changes or improvements can be made is critical. There are three critical groups from which to gather feedback: the internal stakeholders, the contingent workers and your staffing partners.

Although you might periodically receive feedback through unstructured means, such as emails, voicemails or face-to-face conversations, gathering honest feedback in a structured, confidential environment is critical. And being able to track the feedback and utilize it to see where scores have increased and/or decreased is important.

However, the confidential part can be problematic at times. Will the stakeholder completing the survey feel comfortable giving thorough, honest feedback if the survey is being conducted by the department or group to which that feedback would apply? For example, will your internal stakeholders provide thorough and honest feedback on the MSP – and they have regular dealings with the MSP — if it’s the MSP that is conducting the survey on your behalf? Likely not.

Speaking Freely

What about your suppliers? What we’ve heard from suppliers is that, even if the survey is said to be anonymous, they feel the MSP could discern who they are and fear some sort of negative repercussion and/or that the information would not be forwarded to you. And that feedback could be the most crucial for you to know.

Think about it. If any of your suppliers do not enjoy working with your MSP or don’t like certain aspects of your program’s processes, it could affect the effort they and their recruiters give to your requisitions. This effect could ripple internally with requisitions as well as with candidates. If a recruiter is not comfortable working with the program, it is very likely they will send their best candidates to another client, leaving you with the lower-quality candidates. Such a result affects the program and the organization’s brand. Wouldn’t you want to know this?

Create the Forum

So how does a program manager get this critical feedback and encourage the supplier to speak freely? Having a performance review (just as we have with our boss) is a great way. If your supplier base is not too large, schedule one with each of them. If your supplier base is too large to do this, schedule a performance review with a handful of your top staffing partners but also with a handful of your lowest-performing staffing partners.

Why include the low performers? The insight they provide may explain why they are challenged with performing well within the program. Provide an agenda with the invite and reiterate that the conversation is confidential. Explain that you are interested in hearing their honest feedback on the program and the organization. Ask them to bring ideas, suggestions and any market data/information that they feel would be valuable to know. Give them an opportunity to show you how they differentiate themselves from the other staffing providers.

It is possible that after going through this exercise, you will not have received any negative feedback. But you are still showing that you’re committed to the partnership. Remember, no CW program is successful without great supplier partners and no supplier partners are successful without great CW programs to support.