Feedback. That’s something we need but often are too busy to ask for it or afraid of what we might hear. As a moderator for Staffing Industry Analysts’ Certified Contingent Worforce Professional certification class, I am familiar with the latter. We request each attendee of our in-person classes to grade us on how we fare as moderators as well as for suggestions to improve the program or content. This feedback has been invaluable as we have made several improvements to the class presentation as well as our delivery style.

Similarly, what about your contingent labor program? Are you too busy to seek feedback? Afraid of what it might be? Making the time to get this insight and to understand what your stakeholders think about your program, process and staffing partners is a must. The goal of every contingent labor program should be quality and adoption. Quality when it comes to candidates, staffing partners and the program office itself. The adoption is critical because without it, your program will fail.

Requesting feedback can be somewhat of a science. Getting this critical insight may require asking several questions at different times throughout the candidate process, which could be a challenge to those being surveyed as well as for the program office to review and track. Understanding what information will provide the best value to all those involved may require you to change the format and the questions as the program processes mature.

Whom to ask? You should seek feedback from anyone and everyone you can, though the information you seek has to bring value to all. Remember also that your survey process can always be tweaked based on responses or lack thereof. Here’s some of what you should be looking for and from whom.

Internal stakeholders/engagement manager. While these are usually the individuals that program offices think of surveying, they are also the ones who usually have the least amount of time to provide their feedback. Knowing this, make sure to keep your survey short, targeted and easy to complete. Areas to consider querying about will vary, however, you will want to know about their experience with the requisition process — whether via technology or through an MSP — especially if you do not have strong adoption. Was it too confusing, encouraging them to find ways to work around it as opposed to with it? Candidate submittals, onboarding/offboarding and candidate quality are also key areas to focus on. Many of these can be asked throughout the engagement process, which will allow the feedback to be fresh in their mind and timely. The insight may not be as accurate if you wait until the end of an assignment to ask, as the requisition experience may be too long ago for the engagement manager to remember it clearly.

Staffing partners. Don’t assume your suppliers are happy because they are on your preferred list. It is important for you to understand how they feel about the requisition process, candidate submittals, etc., but more important is to know how they and their recruiters view your program. Surveying the suppliers and their recruiters can provide invaluable insight to not only your program but also your organization’s brand. If recruiters do not submit their top candidates to your program’s requisitions because their submittals fall into a black hole is something you would absolutely want to know as would your stakeholders. Without surveying the staffing providers you may never realize candidates or suppliers do not deem your program as a quality one.

Candidates. Many program offices do not consider surveying the actual candidates themselves, but they could provide some of the best feedback of all. Although their feedback is extremely important, we find many program managers avoid getting it as they are not sure how to obtain it. One of the best ways is to work with your staffing partners (their employers) to survey the candidates. Obtaining feedback on the submittal process, interview process through onboarding, timecard submittals, culture and even offboarding at the end of their assignment is invaluable. Not only can it provide areas of improvement but it can also help your reputation in the contingent workforce world. Remember, contingent workers speak to other contingent workers and you want to know what they are sharing about your program and your company.

Acknowledge responses. One final thought: Thank everyone who completes a survey, and if they provided freestyle suggestions or candid feedback, take the time to let them know it was received and considered — especially if what they suggested cannot be done. People like to know that the time they take to provide feedback was worthwhile and valuable. Otherwise, the next time a survey is sent to them it is likely they may not complete it. Why would they if they felt the first one didn’t do anything?