Take a moment to think about the annual performance review process, when you have to summarize all of your accomplishments to your manager and hope those who see it agree that you are an asset to the organization and deserve a raise and possibly a promotion. Most of us dread them. This is the same way your suppliers and providers feel when you conduct a quarterly business review or annual business review of their services. Have they done a phenomenal job and if not, does your review provide the insight and details they need to understand where improvement is needed? Necessary as they are, reviews can be a difficult process to go through. But there are ways to ensure they provide the results you and your suppliers need for success.

The quality of service from your staffing providers and program partners has a major impact not only on your program and its goals but your company as well. With this in mind, taking the time to prepare and conduct a thorough and meaningful review is critical. This means you cannot just pull some data from your vendor management system and tell them how many requisitions they filled and the number of resources they have in your program, for example, as they likely already know this. Instead, provide measurements and management techniques that not only evaluate their service, but also provides information to improve their performance.

Things to consider when preparing your provider review:

Metrics. This is the area that most reviews are centered around. This data is usually captured in the technology and can be reported easily. Be sure that the metrics you are reviewing your providers on are not a surprise. There is nothing worse than being told you fell short somewhere when you never knew it was an area you were to be focused on. If you find that due to business demands, stakeholder needs, etc. that a new metric is going to be measured — this is a perfect time to share with the provider.

SLAs/KPIs. Identify the service-level agreements and key performance indicators that were included in the provider agreement and any other items that contractually they agreed to perform/uphold and provide data and metrics on these. Often, we find these are not included in the review process and are only discussed when a program is looking to terminate the relationship. But if they were important enough to include in the agreement, why would you not review them consistently?

Risk. Identify and audit risk-related items in the agreement. Based upon the provider’s performance and service, are there any risks to the program or the company either strategically, operationally, legally, or even safety (especially if safety training is required). Although some of these items may be tracked in the technology, it usually requires more time and effort to research manually.

Analysis. Take the time to review and analyze the information you have gathered so you are confident and justified with what you are presenting — and be sure to schedule a sufficient amount of time for the review, dialogue and if necessary scheduling follow-up meetings. Just as you would not want your boss to rush your review, especially if you had some feedback you wanted to share, the same courtesy should be extended to your partners.

Coaching. If the review has identified areas for your partner to improve, be prepared to coach them and provide them some constructive criticism. Create mutually agreed-upon action steps and a timeline for improvement. Remember, your CW program needs successful partners to deliver value and anything you can do to ensure their success is a positive reflection of you, the program and your company.

360 Feedback. In addition to this insight, a successful review should allow time for the provider to present a perspective on your program. Thoughtful feedback from your providers can help you understand where your program, processes or organization can improve, which is just as critical for overall improvement and can truly show that the relationship is considered a valued partnership. So be sure to ask your providers to be prepared to provide this feedback.

Keep it going. Finally, don’t let this be the only time you are sharing performance feedback with your partners. The most successful CW programs and partners are those that have ongoing dialogue where not only performance is discussed but any topics relevant to the industry or organization.

As I always say, every CW program needs great partners to be successful and every provider needs a great CW program to support to be successful. Doing whatever you can to ensure this success; is a win/win for all those involved.