Successful client relationships take knowledge and respect

I am always excited to talk about contingent labor and, especially, contingent labor at Waste Management.

The three things that are always on my mind when thinking about our staffing supplier partners are order fulfillment, program compliance and co-employment management. Partners that share the burden of managing these areas find success with Waste Management.

Order Fulfillment

One challenge we face that is squarely in our staffing suppliers’ hands is order fulfillment. Many of our contractor engagements are in roles that either directly tender service to Waste Management customers or roles that directly contribute to productivity. In these situations, we request a specific headcount every day to help us operate. It is important to our operations that our staffing suppliers collaborate closely with us to fulfill our standing orders 100% of the time. Unfortunately, some staffing suppliers’ fulfillment ideology seems to favor spreading around their available worker base to as many customers as possible (even if they cannot give each customer all the workers requested).

It is imperative to the buyer that we receive the full number of workers requested so that we can meet our productivity goals safely and effectively. Often, this even directly affects the service we promise to our customers, which is why it’s imperative that we partner with staffing suppliers who understand our business and can commit to meeting our needs. Understanding which roles are businesscritical to Waste Management, and providing coverage for them, is very valuable to us.

Program Compliance

The simple fact is that a buyer company implements and runs a contingent labor program to manage certain items related to the buying of contract labor. In our case, these mostly are cost and spend management, risk management and service quality management. Each of these is important to us as a buyer. It is easy for a staffing supplier partner to view the program as adversarial, but in reality, the guidelines embodied in the program benefit the staffing supplier partner. Here is how.

The buyer levies requirements in the program that clearly define the roles and expectations of the staffing supplier partner and of the buyer. This clarity allows work to be completed safely by the worker, in compliance with company policies, and most importantly, in compliance with state and federal regulations.

Co-Employment Management

No one can miss how federal and state government bodies are extending the umbrella of co-employment over contract labor, whether in long-standing OSHA shared responsibilities, wage and hour accountability, Affordable Care Act compliance or organized labor. The drivers for each differ. For the staffing supplier and their buyer customers, it stimulates a need for an open dialogue with clear compliance accountabilities to meet responsibilities and reduce risk of fines for both suppliers and buyers.

How can you help? Recognize where the risks are by becoming intimately knowledgeable on regulatory matters and planning to meet them before your customer asks you.

Work with your customers to understand what your customer believes you are doing and negotiate to close any gap that may exist there.

Acknowledge that your company is the primary employer of the contract workers. Establish programs and processes to support your employee base so that statutory requirements are met and you customer can rest easy.

A successful relationship between staffing supplier and buyer is not rocket science. Bottom line, success is found in understanding each other’s business drivers and aligning with them.