In multiple surveys and discussions, buyers have consistently claimed quality service and results as priorities in their contingent workforce program management practices. But when one digs a little deeper, the actual quality management component of CW programs across the marketplace are limited. Most programs have good methods of controlling costs, mitigating risks and some success with program operation efficiency. But quality program management has been a tougher element to execute.
Quality is not easy to define, but we know it when we see it. It’s an experience that clearly exceeds our expectations of the product or service value delivered. Definitions vary, and there are many.
For example, one definition of quality as stated by the International Standards Organization is: “the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.”
The phrase “satisfy stated or implied needs” is critical to that definition. Adding another level of difficulty when considering quality in contingent workforce program is the fact that the product/service is people and, every person is unique, which means their features and characteristics are also variable.
Staffing Industry Analysts defines quality management in CW programs into three pillars of overall quality management:
Talent: Timely ability and fit of people.
Supplier Service: What performance is being provided by your solution and staffing partners?
Program Operation: Delivering a quality experience that satisfies if not “delights” multiple program customers/constituents and meets the organization’s contingent workforce resourcing demands.
Because there are multiple stakeholders being served by a CW program and its resourcing supply chain, it is critical to manage program quality performance from multiple perspectives. Stakeholders will include engagement managers, executive sponsors, organizational function partners, staffing partners and even the contingent workers themselves. Each of these stakeholders will have specific needs, requirements and expectations of the program’s performance and hence a single or combination of interest in the aforementioned pillars of program quality.
But one primary constituent of all others is the alignment of the program’s priorities and focus to the goals and objectives of the organization it serves. With this alignment one can confidently focus the program’s quality elements in its measurement methodology among the various stakeholder interests it serves.
So what should program managers keep in mind when managing quality in the performance a CW program? Here are what SIA suggests:
- The goals and objectives of the organization being served by the CW program should drive and establish quality focus and metrics — i.e., rank QECR (quality, efficiency, cost and risk) Framework strategic performance program elements to define overall quality priorities in the program
- Quality program performance should be customized by the CW application and stakeholder — quality focus can be define differently depending on the business application and engagement manager priorities
- There are multiple key components of quality program management: talent skill/performance, solution and staffing partner contributions, and program operation execution
- Poorly disciplined service-level agreements and key performance indicators governance and structure can waste time, effort and leave quality management priorities unfocused, which in turn can threaten supply chain and overall program performance
- Timely, representative, metric management structure is key to understanding true quality management performance
- Quality oversight and management happens every day, not just at the 90-day quarterly business review meeting – why wait 90 days while poor performance is ruining the quality reputation and priorities of your CW program
- Frequently communicate the “quality” management plan and performance to all stakeholders and supply chain partners so the entire CW program team is headed in the right direction and aware of their performance status, on a regular basis
Manage for “Great,” not just “Good”