Staffing Industry Analysts’ program maturity assessments analyze a program’s maturity and capability to deliver the targeted performance desired. The abridged PMA covers five key capability dimensions: comprehensive, strategic, governed, measurable and sustainability. Of those dimensions, sustainability is sometimes forgotten — and failure to build it up to required maturity levels can have serious ramifications.

While reviewing a CWS Council member’s sustainability capabilities during its PMA, the program manager asked, “What are the top management actions a CW program needs to take to ‘sustain’ the current program performance levels being delivered at any point in time?”

Fundamentals. Before executing any sustainability actions regarding current CW program performance levels, some fundamental sustainability capabilities need to be in place. These capabilities include having formal, comprehensive and up-to-date CW program documentation for program assets — such as process maps, standard operating procedures and rules of engagement, and business continuity planning strategies. The sustainability basics must be in place before you can take any sustainability management actions.  Another example is completing a risk management assessment for the program annually that updates the program’s risk management strategy and informs the program’s business continuity planning management capabilities.

QECR Performance Framework

With those fundamentals in place, any overt sustainability actions to maintain and potentially exceed current levels of program performance need to prioritizes actions around the QECR Performance Framework.

QECR focuses program performance management around quality, efficiency, cost and risk elements. Either formally or informally, most CW programs execute management and compliance strategies, standard operation procedures and rules of engagement that focus on QECR performance management elements. Hence, it would logically follow that performance sustainability actions should focus on the QECR elements.

Here is what some of those performance sustainability actions might look like within the QECR Framework.

Quality. The very nature of CW program quality management is to measure service performance levels of key program stakeholder participants, policies and processes (e.g., staffing and supply chain partners, engagement managements, CW talent, tenure and/or on/offboarding) and then take remedial action to retain or enhance the measured targeted performance.

After some understanding of the targeted performance capability of CW program service elements, the sustainability action here is to create enough performance visibility data and trends to take action to remediate any poor performance.  There are rich opportunities to sustain current quality performance levels and further enhance them with the right performance data visibility.

Cost. Sustaining cost management gains is a natural for CW program management.  Cost management performance is based on the established sourcing model framework instituted; pricing and cost management best practices and compliance management; the staffing partner optimization strategy deployed; and the CW program’s basic access to market pricing data and trends.

As noted, many of these pricing and cost management practices are inherently executed by CW program management in the marketplace. Hence, there is a natural, ongoing sustainability focus executed by CW program management on program pricing and costs. But a formalization of establishing annual hard-costs savings goals that are codified in the buyer’s fiscal budget and proactively/jointly supported by the CW program’s staffing and supplier chain partners is a real, annual sustainability strategy for cost performance management.

Efficiency. Sustaining efficiency performance is best described as an annual formal commitment to continuous improvement. Traditionally, sustaining efficiency performance would focus on eliminating non-value process steps but it can be so much more. Sustaining CW program efficiency should also focus on transformative actions, such as exploring new emerging, efficient sourcing channels for talent resources and transitioning current processes to “mobile” transaction technology platforms. At the end of the day, sustaining efficiency is about exploring change and enhancements in the execution of the manner in which services are delivered by the CW program.

Risks: For risk management performance sustainability, a core action that can be taken is to establish an annual, comprehensive risk management assessment plan and keep it up-to-date over time. The first swing at establishing this performance sustainability tool will take some time but establishing a risk planning foundation on what the CW program will do to mitigate risks proactively and having well-thought-out response plans if any risk incidents occur positions any CW program well to deal with the risk of leveraging CW talent resources. Additionally, a risk management assessment should inform CW program management of areas of over-mitigation risk that are causing the program execution in the marketplace to be noncompetitive in terms of overall performance.

Understanding how one’s CW program performance is structured and delivered informs program managers on what sustainability actions need to take place in the ongoing support and enhancement of established CW program performance levels. The QECR performance framework methodology can guide the sustainability capability and what actions to take to sustain current and enhance future levels of CW program performance.