Ranking staffing partner performance 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 supplier performance ranking process, while others can only speculate who their best performers might be at any given time. Ranking, however, can enhance both a program and supplier performance

Why Performance Ranking Works

We operate in a highly competitive marketplace, where the number of staffing suppliers ranges in the tens of thousands and getting their interest in a multi-million dollar CW program can be instantaneous. Even in this war for talent, the large supplier community is aggressive and motivated. Hence, staffing suppliers will vie for business that makes sense for their organizations.

This inherent competitive nature of staffing providers that is partly driven by formal account management strategies to increase their business with an established account. Most of these strategies directly affect personal compensation of the individuals involved which provides an opportunity to implement performance-based incentives. Sure, there is a pride of performance aspect here, which is very real, but in most cases the connection of performance to compensation will drive staffing partner attention and behavior.

Getting It Right

A key to structuring a respected staffing partner performance ranking system is its strategic measurement focus and a reliable system of record.

Strategic measurement focus. A strategic measurement focus should be ranking the staffing partner based on performance items that are important to the buyer organization’s mission and goals. Too many times, the measurement system used is more of a beauty contest genre based on mundane/standard measurement items that offer no visibility into overall CW program performance that is supporting the buyer organization to achieve its goals.

System of record. The ranking system needs to be supported by reliable performance data and system of record. The ranking has to be perceived as fair or behavioral participation will be low. The ranking should be published semiannually at the minimum, if not quarterly. The actual performance management items should be subject to change as the CW program’s mission and goals change strategically or tactically.

As noted above, a staffing performance ranking system should be constructed for more than a “beauty performance contest.” It should deliver business benefits/consequences for high- and low-performing staffing partners respectively. It should also affect the established partner tiering structures and offer an organizational bonus and/or other incentives.  The ranking system should be integrated with the quarterly business review (QBRs) process and affords an important context for coaching staffing partners to enhance their service delivery in the structure for the CW program. A trustworthy ranking system should also be used for ongoing staffing partner rationalization and potentially injecting new energy into the supplier pool by weeding out the lackluster performers and adding new, enthusiastic members to the staffing partner team. Additionally, external branding rules on publishing blind performance rankings should be established for control needs, but also to create a valuable marketing tool for high performing staffing partners to leverage.

Although ranking metrics can differ based on a company’s specific needs, one should use the same criteria to measure all suppliers. This allows you to rank staffing partners against each other for performance comparison. However, if there are niche staffing partners in your supplier pool, some small differences need to be taken into account in the evaluation of these staffing partner’s performance.

Finally, beware of established confidentiality contract clauses and carefully manage publication rules with your staffing partners. Depending on your corporate culture and program rules, you may or may not want to share the names of other staffing partners when you deliver rankings to an individual staffing partner.