Recently, we have been writing about the need to create sustainable competitiveness in your contingent workforce (CW) management program, focusing beyond the core program missions of cost management and compliance mitigation to streamlining policies and processes so stakeholders can cost effectively and efficiently participate in the program. Taking this review of program competitive fitness further, a key topic we deliberate in CCWP certification is what a top-tier, staffing partner considers when creating an engagement/pricing strategy with a potential, new client.

Staffing partner service quality is one of the three fundamental pillars of SIA’s CW program quality management strategy. So logic suggests program managers should understand some of what staffing partners want to see in a program before they commit resources, time, expertise, best talent and attention to engage and support it. What energizes a staffing partner to competitively deliver their best service for your program?

Some of these considerations can actually be fairly formal, comprising an official scorecard staffing recruiters and/or account managers adhere to. Yes, some staffing providers responding to your RFP are grading your CW program as to its compatibility with their own wants, needs, requirements and capabilities. In some cases, this analysis leads to providers discreetly deemphasizing client accounts or even walking away from the business altogether. See this Staffing Industry Review article for more details on this practice.

These client “opportunity” scorecards come in varying forms and development. Staffing providers may use them for long-term account relationship management, major complex deal pursuits or shorter versions for evaluating everyday high volume transactions. At the end of the day, the scorecard organizes objective and subjective characteristics of a client opportunity and produces a comparative numeric score or opportunity potential percentage.

Some of the substantive considerations for staffing partners when potentially engaging a new client or reviewing the status of a current account are: the volume potential of the account; the risk inherent in the client’s organizational environment; contractual risk-shifting via indemnification and other deal terms; the total cost of service delivery through the program; inherent sourcing expertise; competitive advantages via a pool of available targeted candidates; client brand name and/or interest in the industry vertical; strategic versus tactical fit; and, of course revenue/gross margin prospects.

Naturally, one can easily imagine seasoned staffing professionals have a virtual scorecard operating constantly in their mind, because through experience, they know what a win-win account engagement looks like. And some have formally codified this knowledge into their go-to-market strategy and operational practices in order to avoid chasing and/or staying with unfavorable client relationships.

Knowing your staffing partners’ capabilities, wants, needs and priorities can help CW programs compete for the best staffing partners in the marketplace, those that can precisely meet your program’s requirements, priorities and mission. Next time you’re conducting your quarterlies, ask your staffing partner for their account review summary or their internal client scorecard and/or client ranking in their customer portfolio. Providing it is the least they can do because you do it for them on a regular basis.