The three-legged stool is an analogy that I like to use for contingent workforce management. Also called the three pillars of contingent workforce management, the legs are talent, supplier service and program operation. If one leg is not upright, the overall health of the program declines. Here’s how to evaluate these three legs to determine the quality of your program.

Talent. The talent always comes first. If your managers aren’t getting the talent they require, you face a very steep uphill climb. So how to you ensure you get good contingent workers? The first step is to make sure you have the right job description to get the right skills to get the task done. Be thorough when you ask for talent and be sure to initiate meaningful conversations with your MSP or suppliers when you have a unique or tough job to fill. It really makes a difference to have a conversation, not just a flurry of emails after the fact. Will the candidate fit in, learn quickly and show up on time? That’s what talent quality looks like.

Talent quality can be measured easily. Would you be willing to have them back or did either you or the worker end the assignment prior to the end date — and why? What were the reasons the worker ended the assignment early? Or did the worker get converted to employee status. Looking at such metrics for all your contingent workers will give you a very good idea of the quality of the workers you are engaging.

And of course, your manager’s satisfaction over the life of the assignment helps with determining talent quality as well.

Suppliers. Supplier service is another way to measure program quality. Do your suppliers know your culture and company, do they follow the rules and react quickly and efficiently and partner when you need it? Ways to determine this is to look at their submittals-to-fills/onboarded ratios. Another measurement is assignments terminated prior to end date based on performance or contingent worker request. Finally, how many of a supplier’s workers did you ultimately convert to traditional employee status? A good supplier can be a great recruiting partner.

Program operation. This final pillar is a mighty one. From program ease of use, visibility, control, speed, accuracy and making the match, everything drives program operational quality. You can measure it through net promoter scores from your managers, supplier and workers. Make sure to include temp-to-hire ratios here too.

We asked in our recent Workforce Solutions Buyers Survey – Performance rating of CW program, “How would you rate the performance of your organization’s contingent workforce program as a whole?” Eighty-three percent rated the performance of their company’s contingent workforce program as average, above average or excellent. It is worth noting that companies that use a VMS, MSP or total talent acquisition were significantly more likely to rate their contingent workforce programs as above average or excellent than companies that do not use these strategies. Look closely at program goals and objectives when it comes to contingent workforce quality management. Specify targets for metrics and return on investment that can realistically be gathered when it comes to talent, supplier service and program operation. Show your suppliers, contingent workers, executive sponsors and key stakeholders what excellence looks like through ongoing consistent measurement of the key quality attributes that are important to your program every day.