SI Review: August 2013

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Straight Talk From the Customer

Suppliers on Display

Showcasing a rotating subset of a program’s preferred vendors benefits both parties

By Kimberly Bedeau

Contingent workforce program managers are often tasked with managing a supplier base that feels as if the word partnership is synonymous with autocracy. We also have to work with our company’s mission, ensuring strategic alignment of all things staff augmentation per corporate edict, often irking the supplier base even more. Further, we also have to please our internal stakeholders: engagement managers who were more delighted with the process before the program o ffice adopted a center lead model complete with a refreshed preferred supplier list, which to them really just made the hiring of temps more convoluted, and the list can go on infinitely.

At the same time, we all know that our program is as good as the relationship with the suppliers that supply the talent. And this is evident in the following scenario. Consider this:

The CW manager gets a call late Friday afternoon from a manager wanting to start 20 staff augmentation workers in the next 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 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.

Hiring Event

One creative way to meet deadlines such as this is by executing a hiring event — a collaborative event showcasing a rotating subset of our preferred suppliers who have shown a commitment to the program and flexibility with the program office.

Two critical factors for success in these events include: (1) An understanding of what the engagement manager(s) will be responsible for as well as a commitment to follow through as per the projected timeline, and (2) selection of suppliers that can service the commodity and skill set with a robust recruiting engine to source quality candidates — often for hard-to-fill assignments within the allotted timeframe.

Here’s why you, the supplier, should participate in events like this:

  • Reduced cycle time from sourcing to placement of candidates,
  • An opportunity to increase headcount, spend and business unit concentration,
  • Work in a smaller subset of suppliers increasing the hit ratio for a job posting,
  • Positive exposure to the business and
  • Demonstration of a real partnership between the client and their preferred supplier base.

We have facilitated numerous hiring events staffing many contingent workers. That is a considerable amount of spend, and through aggressive yet reasonable timelines helped our end clients meet their project deadlines. This is just good business for both the client and the buyer.

Preferred suppliers are chosen by a client based on a vetting process that shows they were the right choice. As a result, the preferred suppliers provide a quality candidate in a timely manner at a fair market rate. Participating in a client’s hiring event is just one additional way to help that client succeed in delighting the internal stakeholders. If your client is not employing a hiring event, suggest it to them.

They will love your initiative and the event.

Kimberly Bedeau is program manager, contingent resource management, Global Sourcing and Procurement Services, for AIG.

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