By Kimberly Bedeau
Often, contingent workforce managers feel like the staffing industry’s unsung heroes. We are often tasked with managing a supplier base that has felt as if the word partnership was synonymous with autocracy, ensuring strategic alignment of all things staff augmentation per corporate mission edict, program adoption by engagement managers that were more pleased with the process before the program office adopted a center lead model completed with a refreshed preferred supplier list which really just made the hiring of temps more convoluted, and the list can go on infinitely.
It’s not uncommon for the CW manager to get a call on late Friday afternoon from a manager wanting to start 20 staff augmentation workers within two weeks. This late afternoon call immediately kicks off a flurry of emails and calls to the supplier representatives — delaying until Monday is not an option.
We live to raise the visibility of our program, increase headcount/program spend, drive business to our preferred suppliers and add that one last bullet point to be included in our performance review discussion. So in a case like this where a full hiring lifecycle includes entering the requirement in our requisitioning tool, routing it a through approvals, releasing it to our preferred suppliers, allowing suppliers to source candidates, reviewing the résumés, coordinating interviews, collecting and disseminating feedback, making offers, negotiating rates if needed, and receiving background clearance that two-week lead time may feel like two days.
Hold a Hiring Event
Here’s how we stay prepared for such scenarios: we hold recurring “Hiring Events” — a collaborative event showcasing a rotating subset of our preferred suppliers that have shown a commitment to the program and flexibility with the program office.
The goal is to take this alternative sourcing approach to fill multiple (or similarly grouped) “staff augmentation” contractor positions. And with all other placements we need to fill in the least amount of time with the best talent.
Two critical factors for success in these events are: An understanding of what the engagement manager(s) will be responsible for as well a commitment to follow through as per the projected timeline, and selection of suppliers that can service the commodity and skill set with a robust recruiting engine to source quality candidate often for hard to fill the assignments in within the allotted timeframe.
This alternative sourcing method has become very popular with our preferred suppliers as well — to the point that some suppliers have begun proposing a hiring event to managers. The program office or designated managed service provider will develop a timeline, select a subset of the preferred suppliers, lead a supplier conference call, often with the engagement manager present, manage the interview day or days as there may be successive interview dates, determine a deadline for submissions, review resumes and schedule interviews, gather candidate feedback and debriefing with hiring manager and CRM representative, and extended offers to the candidate’s agency.
We have facilitated in numerous hiring events staffing a considerable number of contingent workers in 2013 alone. Through aggressive yet reasonable timelines, these events helped our end clients meet their project deadlines. This is just good business.
Kimberly Bedeau is program manager, contingent resource management | global sourcing and procurement services, for AIG.