In an increasingly competitive industry, staffing suppliers are promising all the bells and whistles, the whole she bang.

However, time after time, the bells and whistles only served as a detractor from accomplishing the ultimate purpose of successfully developing a lasting relationship with clients. The ones that stood the test of time and continued to deliver a high level of service were not the ones that overpromised with empty commitments, rather, the ones that focused on ensuring they excelled in the basics. When you strip away the bells and whistles you get to the fundamentals of what every client desires from their suppliers: communication and respect.

Communicate. From the beginning of the courtship until the end of the blissful union, communication should be the key to a successful relationship. For a contingent worker, the lifeline is the supplier. Through the years, too many workers have shared that their agency recruiter failed to properly communicate with them during the recruiting process. Whether it’s a lack of or incorrect job description, insight into the organization and its culture or thorough information pertaining to the interview process, no candidate should walk into an interview as though it is a blind date.

The same goes for when the worker begins their first day at an assignment. An orientation would help ease the contingent worker into the organization. Clients desire workers who can hit the ground running. Providing the worker with information — such as where to report; client policies and expectations; email and phone setup, whom to contact with IT issues, office layout, emergency procedures and important points of contact for questions — enables the worker to be comfortable and focus on being productive.

And it doesn’t end there. Checking in periodically and conducting a pulse check on a worker can go a long way toward keeping the employee engaged. Not only does this proactive communication prevent issues from growing out of hand, when genuinely approached, it demonstrates that you value whether or not things are going well for your worker. One of the deadly sins a supplier can commit is when they are unresponsive to the needs of the worker. How you decide to communicate I will leave to your own devices; the key message here is to keep those channels open, do it often and do it effectively.

Respect. There are those days where suppliers and clients are able to sit at the campfire, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Then there are those days when my mind flashes back to the scene in Jerry Maguire, where Maguire entreats Rod Tidwell in the locker room restroom “Help me … help you. Help me … help you!” Suppliers, repeat the mantra, “Help me … help you.” Even with a VMS, there are limitations to the technology and diligence from the suppliers is required. Often, I come across suppliers that have to be coached to ensure the candidate name being entered into the system is the full legal name. Or that the worker needs to be vetted with background checks cleared prior to being onsite at a client’s location. Something as simple as validating whether or not a worker was a former employee or contingent worker helps clients to improve upon their selection and onboarding processes. Here lies the respect factor, if you respect the client’s rules of engagement, guidelines and expectations, clients in turn build on the mutual respect and learn to trust their suppliers. As Lincoln Chafee states, “Trust is built with consistency.” Trust in turn leads to more freedoms and opportunities.

By embodying the tenets of communication and respect for the worker and the program, you get back to the basics of what every client wants. Communicate with your workers throughout the entirety of the process; remember, workers freely share their experiences with clients and others. Respect your client’s policies and processes, everyone together help me … help you.