When invited to pitch for a deal worth millions, any organization will roll out its most seasoned individuals to help win the deal. Our industry is certainly no exception. The objective, after all, is to give you every confidence in the seller’s ability to implement and seamlessly transition to a best-in-class, steady-state delivery model.

Therefore, when sending out requests for proposals, contingent workforce program managers should expect to see the most seasoned of sales professionals. At a minimum, shortlisted bidders will come to the table with case studies aligned to your needs, as well as learnings from the past and details of how their innovative outlook will help guide your organization to be more competitive in its chosen markets.

Typical differentiators

So, when you’re down to the last couple of providers, and you have your tick sheet as to who can do this and who can do that, you will find that there is little to differentiate between the various potential partners. This is when many programs begin to focus on cost, leading to the inevitable race to the bottom as providers bid to win the big deals and logos.

Another differentiating factor, and one often perceived as more important above all others, is the people. The focus is turned to the individuals who have engaged with the buying organization throughout the process and of course, most importantly, those individuals who will be responsible for running the program once the contract is signed.

Awarding Contracts

Let’s be clear, people are an extremely important part of the bid process and, of course, the eventual account team at all levels are absolutely crucial to the overall success of the program. Without the right people to execute the service delivery, then even the best technology and the world’s most unbelievable processes, are doomed to failure.

My question here, however, is whether people should be factored so significantly into the decision when awarding a significant provider contract. Blasphemy, I hear you say! But hear me out.

The fact is that people are transient. While the average voluntary employee turnover rate in the UK is around 14.1%, staff turnover in the recruitment industry has been reported as high as 43%.

So while people of course matter, other factors should carry more weight. When making significant partner decisions, the emphasis should be more on the corporate relationship that will exist between your two companies rather than the personal relationships.

Focus on achieving a contractual relationship that commits the staffing partner to deliver, regardless of any employee retention issues it may face in the future. With a solid corporate relationship in place, the personal relationship stands a better chance at success in the long run, leading to a more successful program.