Whether you are launching a new contingent workforce program or reinvigorating one, what management metrics should you track to deliver the stakeholder value to which you’ve committed? A good first step is to identify clearly the most important mission and priorities the program is pursuing. Then you can decide what needs to be measured to enable you to reach that goal.

Most of the time, the discussion of metric design is focused on service-level agreements versus key performance indicators and the scorecards that organize and track them. An additional perspective that should be included is that of protective and detective controls analysis. Essentially, what are the purpose and roles for each of these control metrics beyond an SLA or KPI segmentation standpoint?

Protective controls are repeatable, adopted program procedures, policies and rules, while performance measurements are detective controls.

  • Protective controls are structured to prevent deficiencies from occurring in the first place.
    • A rate card will act as a protective control mechanism where it limits pricing ranges to conform with program savings objectives and/or creates pre-determined, targeted pricing controls.
    • Partner contract items such as IP ownership and confidentiality clauses, along with indemnification and insurance level requirements
  • Detective controls identify noncompliance after the fact.
    • An SLA/KPI performance metric that measures compliance with the rate card — the percentage above or below targeted rates will define the detective performance measure.

A key design element is to make sure the required protective and detective controls are included and that each control element serves a valuable role. That role and purpose need to support the CW programs mission and priorities directly. A best practice in the design of your management metric portfolio is to list all protective and detective metrics and their definition/date of creation, system of record data source, calculation analysis formula, and most important, how the metric supports the CW program’s mission and priorities.

In the context of the control categories described above, SLAs (representing targeted performance levels that the program needs to achieve to meet its goals and objectives) and KPIs (offering an ongoing health check of how key program elements are performing) are detective controls. Any deployed metrics should be those that the CW program participant has control over.

A note of caution: the deployment of too many control elements can confuse participating partners. So be guided by a proposed metric’s supportive alignment with a CW program’s mission and priorities. If no real alignment exists, then it is a waste of time for everyone involved.