When a contingent worker finishes an assignment and there is no communication from the engagement manager, the program office often will assume the contingent worker completed the assignment successfully and met with the manager’s approval. After all, no news is good news, right? If there was an issue, the engagement manager would have informed the program office.

Unfortunately, that’s not a reliable assumption. The fact is, most programs request feedback about the resource at the worst possible time — when they have crossed the finish line and are done with the assignment, often as part of the offboarding process. At this point the program office may learn the engagement manager would not recommend the worker for re-engagement or felt the worker’s performance was sub-par. Or the engagement manager views the work as OK for contingent work but not for a permanent role. As leverage of “CW conversion” strategies increase more and more in a tight labor markets, visibility in contingent talent capability and performance quality are rapidly expanding.

Learning a contingent worker did not meet the engagement manager’s expectations is frustrating, but it’s even worse to learn the worker who has been engaged for a for a tenure that sometimes spans several years was just “average” or worst yet, not good at all. Did the engagement manager feel putting up with lack of skills and/or experience was easier than starting the process of getting a new contingent on board? If so, that is a poor reflection on the CW program and the engagement process. If it is easier to keep a “bad” resource than find a new qualified one, how do you think that engagement manager would rate the value of the CW program and the service it provides?

It is important to understand negative feedback is not only a reflection of the contingent worker but also the supplier that provided the candidate and the CW program operation quality too. Being able to understand an issue while there is still an opportunity to correct it or address it is critical to all parties involved and for the continued success and adoption of the CW program itself.

Further, because many organizations utilize the contingent workforce as the feeding pool for their full-time employee opportunities, it is imperative the candidates being considered have the skills, experience and quality the organization requires for a long-term perspective.

In order to accomplish this, CW programs must change how and when they obtain engagement manager feedback. The feedback must be collected throughout the lifecycle of the entire engagement and not just at the end of the assignment. Here is a suggested timeframe for collecting feedback from your engagement managers. Although this will require additional time and effort, the information obtained is priceless.

Prescreen feedback. Do the candidates being presented have the right skills and experience?

Productivity feedback. How quickly was the contingent worker able to be productive? Did he or she require additional training or was the person able to hit the ground running.

Sustaining feedback/mid assignment. Is the contingent worker still providing value? Is he or she still contributing to the project/scope of work?

End of assignment: Was the work produced to the engagement manager’s expectations? Would the engagement manager recommend the contingent worker to be re-engaged if able?

Because there will be multiple quality measurement touch-points, the survey delivery strategy needs to be very short and still an effective measurement tool, similar to a Net Promoter Score survey methodology.

Constantly improving the quality of the contingent workers in your program is a competitive imperative in today’s marketplace and a growing strategic objective for CW program management. With the use of CW talent growing year over year and cost/risk control elements in solid shape, many CW program managers focus on multiple quality elements of their program’s performance and capability. Being able to improve the value the CW program talent delivers will help to drive program adoption and stakeholder satisfaction.

Talent, supplier performance and program operational quality are critical to the success of any CW program. Understanding how to measure quality can be tricky, one tool available to CW managers is Staffing Industry Analysts’ CCWP Certification Program, which helps managers identify what metrics to consider when measuring quality.