SI Review: December 2013

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Expert’s Corner: Raising the Bar

Tools to help you provide the best service to your clients

By Adrianne Nelson

Today’s companies know that the contingent talent pool is a great resource that can be accessed quickly and easily to get the job done. In the same vein, they are recognizing the value of staffing agencies that recruit and retain this talent pool.

Buyers that once gave temporary staffing firms a C grade in terms of service, delivery and reputation are now giving them grades of B and better. At the same time, temporary workers recently surveyed by Staffing Industry Analysts gave their staffing firms a Net Promoter Score of 45, which is equivalent to a Mercedes’ rating.

This enables all parties in the staffing ecosystem — clients, staffing firms and candidates — to work efficiently together and gain value. Standards are being developed that create a cohesive language for all parties to communicate and get the job done, which points to a maturation of the space and an elevation in the practice of contingent workforce management.

Here is a look at some standard tools that can be utilized to help your staffing firm increase its competitive advantage.

Lexicon. It is imperative that we all speak the same language when it comes to contingent work, or misunderstandings and mistakes will happen. Staffing Industry Analysts’ research team produces the Lexicon of Contingent Workforce Terms, which contains both North American and global terms that are used in the world of contingent work. Updated annually, this complimentary report is the go-to publication for those old hands and also those new to the contingent workforce space to ensure all parties are on the same page.

The Lexicon encompasses definitions for everything from Europe’s Agency Workers Directive to Zero Hours Contract with more terms being added every year. It is a great way to introduce new associates and program managers to contingent workforce terminology and also serves as a handy reference tool you can house on your desktop. You can use it as part of your onboarding process and highlight the terms most important to your business. This publication is available for download on our website.

Industry training. Contingent work is now part of a greater community of talent. Make sure that your organization knows about and freely shares training and industry publications internally and externally. There are now publications and certification programs available to buyers of staffing services and staffing firm associates that contain content addressing contingent workforce cost, risk, efficiency and quality from a holistic viewpoint.

The certifications promote and enable buyers and staffing firms to meet on a neutral playing ground to share their experiences and gain knowledge about what serves as a general best practice. These types of classes create standardization and a clearer understanding of where each party is coming from in addition to providing a neutral networking ground. As more industry professionals embrace certification, the terminology and standards become part of the industry practice and elevate the individuals and the contingent workforce in general. Use both certifications and industry publications to help your staffing firm tune in and be part of a greater group of contingent workforce professionals.

Advisory groups. Finally, advisory groups composed of industry leaders from buyers and providers have produced various documents providing contingent workforce information. These groups have collaborated to create best-in-class documentation on global readiness, contingent workflow and global engagement. Having these types of tools on hand for your client means you have done your homework when asked the tough questions. It enables you and your team to walk the walk and talk the talk to contingent workforce program managers and others involved in the buying decisions from the start. Set the standard at your staffing company and utilize standard nomenclature and common best practices of the contingent workforce to elevate yourself, your company and the contingent workforce in general.

Adrianne Nelson is director of global services at Staffing Industry Analysts. anelson@staffingindustry.com

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