CWS 3.0: August 1, 2012

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Don't Forget this Metric when Measuring Program Success

As the world of contingent workforce management matures, there is more and more of a focus on program metrics and success criteria. Many companies include what they think is criteria for success in their master services agreements with managed service providers, vendor management systems and suppliers.

Metrics for the MSP usually cover customer satisfaction as measured by surveys, cost savings as measured by comparing pre-implementation costs against costs three months in or a rate card optimization exercise. VMS providers are typically rated on up time, integrity of data and response time to calls from users having problems with tool, while suppliers are often evaluated on submittals to requirements, submittal-to-interview ratios and early terminations. Each of these items are important, however does an above average result constitute a successful program?

I have considered this many times either in contract implementations, or the ongoing management of a contingent workforce program as an MSP. In all cases, if change management is handled well, program adoption will increase. I firmly believe that user adoption is a big indicator of program success for the long term. Those that consider cost savings a primary indicator of program success quite often will find they need to drive additional categories of spend through the program to continually demonstrate cost savings.

Here’s something else to consider. Every time you implement a change or adopt an additional spend category, set a savings target in conjunction with an adoption target. For example, you may begin with an IT and professional program that captures a percentage of your spend and a percentage of your end user base. The program should deliver some percentage of savings at implementation while ongoing savings would come from ad hoc rate negotiations and rate analytics. Further, it should realize a minimum adoption rate, with the expectation of growth in that area over time. These benefits are realized at a higher rate when adoption is maximized.

Program adoption signifies confidence in the program office’s ability to satisfy end users’ contingent hiring needs. Track that adoption rate, advertise results and find creative ways to showcase your best end users to keep the communication flowing. This will allow your user adoption to rise. In a more mature program, find a way to get to new managers and show them how successful their peers or predecessors were by embracing the program office.  

It’s important to listen to all parties. Keep an eye out for what the industry and the end users want, and what the business requirements are. Find creative ways to incorporate newer talent pools into your program and keep it fresh. The more you act as the solution to finding contingent talent the more you drive program adoption. Continue to strive for excellence in customer satisfaction at all levels and look for ways to measure your success.

Don’t get me wrong, program metrics like time to fill, response times, successful audits and minimal early turnover are very important, but at the end of the day, they alone do not signify the overall success of a program. 

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