Our managed services provider recently completed its 2018 scorecard process and subsequently removed several suppliers from our list for nonperformance. Oddly, those suppliers weren’t surprised — and I couldn’t help but wonder, if they weren’t interested in our business, why didn’t they ask to be removed? Or, if they wanted to stay on, why didn’t they take steps to become a performing partner? As a client, are we either so unimportant, or so challenging to work with, that neither of those options seemed worth the effort?

While that line of thought definitely compels me to improve as a client, it also got me thinking about the metrics that participating suppliers failed to meet and how they can improve. Here are four of them.

  1. Percentage of responses to requisitions. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly uncommon for suppliers to agree to participate in programs just for bragging rights that “X” is a client. However, underperformance or nonperformance can damage the supplier’s reputation with both the client and the MSP. Conversely, suppliers that are actively engaged in programs perform better; strong performance can lead to additional business opportunities both with the client and within the MSP portfolio. Ask to be removed from distribution for jobs you’ve historically not been able to fill and for which you won’t be submitting candidates. At the very least, don’t ignore the posting and get a negative number in this column — decline it.
  2. Percentage of candidates interviewed to résumés submitted. Transparency is key. If a supplier is not able to submit an “A” candidate to a job requisition due to pricing or some other issue, the client and the MSP would rather know the reason why and have the supplier decline the requisition rather than submit a lesser candidate just to meet a service-level agreement metric. We have to know what’s not working in order to fix it and be able to build a program that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved.
  3. Percentage of fills. If you’re doing well on the previous two metrics, you should be seeing fills. If not, it’s time to find out why. First, make sure your candidate is enthusiastic about the opportunity; don’t submit candidates who have to be convinced. If selected for an interview, they should be well-coached about the client company’s culture, company mission, vision and values and be able to effectively communicate these back to you. This is an area where I want to improve as a client as well — spending more time interacting with suppliers to improve processes and communications.
  4. Early termination/assignment completion. Congratulations! Your candidate has been selected and is on assignment. But before the assignment end date, they quit. Where did we go wrong? The labor market is definitely a huge factor, but what can we do to maximize retention in a contingent worker situation? As clients, we should be doing our best to be a great place to work for our contingents and not make them feel like second-class citizens.

But what about you? What can you do to be the employer of choice for that worker? While I know of many suppliers that do have regular engagement opportunities for their contingents, I still hear from workers that after they signed the initial paperwork, they never hear from their employer again.

I’d propose designing a way the MSP, suppliers and the program management office engages workers throughout their assignment that fits the worker’s and the business’ needs. Should suppliers hold quarterly all-hands meetings with their workers? Co-host worker recognition or celebration events? How about regular performance updates with the client manager talking directly with the supplier? Even if your MSP prohibits talking directly to managers, if it’s about your employee’s performance, the program manager might be willing to work with the MSP to build some communication into the program. I know I would — anything that maximizes worker satisfaction and retention is very important to me and the business.

There are other critical metrics and I’m sure you can think of points as well. I know I’ve only brushed the surface, but I also hope it provides some helpful food for thought.