The war for talent can only be won by having and establishing a collaboration with the right suppliers. How do you make sure you have the right suppliers in place to give you the talent and tools you need? From industrial to healthcare, marketing creative to IT, how do you find and keep the suppliers best equipped and suited to drive your program forward?

3PillarsOne of the best ways to get and keep great suppliers and entertain new ones is to track the quality portion of SIA’s QECR performance framework — quality, efficiency, cost and risk. We break quality down into three pillars: talent quality, supplier service quality and program operation quality.

Supplier service. We begin by focusing on a few components of supplier service quality specifically. Is the talent onboarded in a timely manner? Are assignments completed by contingent workers as scheduled and not terminated early due to performance? Does the supplier have contingent workers converting to permanent employee status? These are indicators of quality when it comes to your supplier pool.

Talent. Your program’s measure of talent quality is a bit different but with the same theme. Do managers ask for contingent workers to return? Are assignments terminated prior to the scheduled end date? Do you have ongoing Net Promoter Scores for engagement manager satisfaction with contingent workers throughout the entire process? All of these are indicators of quality when it comes to talent.

Program operation. Program operation means measuring every element of your program delivery along with how well the two aspects work together to provide quality talent while rating supplier service. It makes sense to maintain performance metrics that are shared and enforce logical consequences. Always measure in such a way that enables you to drive ROI and value to your program. But remember, the quantity of metrics doesn’t necessarily equate to better talent, but tracking the right metrics will help you understand which suppliers are performing (or not) and thus can create opportunity for improvement.

And in terms of logical consequences: Reward suppliers that provide quality talent efficiently and cost-effectively with loyalty and return business. Better yet, maintain good partnerships with suppliers that are innovative and think outside the box when it comes to servicing your program specifically. What’s the last new idea you got from an MSP or supplier regarding talent for your organization? Make sure you ask what they are doing for their other clients; their thoughts could be very enlightening.

Mixing it up. If you are not satisfied with your current pool of suppliers or simply want to test the waters, you are not alone. Forty-two percent of buyers we surveyed said they would try new suppliers this year. One place to look for suppliers that might not be on your radar is the SIA Fastest Growing US Staffing Firm list. While IT and healthcare staffing providers dominate the list — comprising 42% of the firms — the 94 firms on the 2018 list also include industrial, office clerical, retail, clinical scientific and direct hire.

Or, if you believe your program could use some polish but are looking for ideas, next month is an opportunity for you as well as your suppliers to learn what is expected for the ecosystem at the CWS Summit and the Collaboration in the Gig Economy conferences, both in Dallas the first week of October.

The war for talent is ongoing, and CW programs stand a better chance of winning its battles if they have the right suppliers as their allies, those who also seek new ideas at every available opportunity, and form a collaborative partnership.