More on Appreciation – how to create it

Last post I discussed a relationship with a client that is very expressive of their appreciation of what we provide and how that translates into Wall Street Services working harder on their behalf. I contrasted that with our experience with our large clients who outsource the management of their temporary staffing to a Vendor Management Solution provider (VMS.) It is my experience that the very nature of the VMS client relationship is antithetical to Staffing Companies having an experience of being appreciated. VMS providers are hired to improve efficiency and reduce cost and they do so by interacting with their Vendors as if they are providers of a commodity. As they are not part of the company they are managing staffing for they also do not have sufficient access to the information necessary to have their staffing vendors really successful.

The net result: VMS organizations often do not interact with Vendors as partners and the experience of appreciation is often non-existent.

And the hard truth is that it is up to us to create that experience for ourselves. The nature of the relationship leads VMS to interact with us as a commodity yet our survival as a vendor means we must break out of that mold and become a partner. Here’s how:

  • Understanding and Exceeding their Goals VMS providers are judged on speed of fill, cost savings and quality. If we want to be a partner then we need to assist them in achieving their goals. Preempting their needs and creating availability so that we can more quickly respond to their orders and we need to find a way to avoid submitting candidates at the highest rate. The first step is essentially being good at our jobs.
  • Make their Jobs Easier Recruiters in VMS organizations have a lot of detail to manage so making sure we are clear and concise in our communications, that we reference the specific job numbers and avoid excessive back and forth communication about daily operation, interview scheduling and employee issues. Also keeping records of what the preferences of particular managers are so when future orders come in you do not have to ask the same questions on manager preferences. Look to take things off their plate as often as possible. Also make sure you know which orders are giving them the most grief, what is most difficult for them to fill or which is just driving them crazy. Make sure you focus your efforts on these orders.
  • Save their Bacon One thing you can count on in staffing is that things go wrong at the worst possible moment. Doubly true for VMS professionals. When a candidate fails background or accepts another job 2 hours before the start time focus VMS professionals get Hell from their clients hiring managers yet have little recourse to solve the problem without your help. When this happens you have a tremendous opportunity to take care of them and make yourself look like a hero. When these opportunities arise, drop everything and come to the rescue.
  • Be a Source of Information One of VMS’ responsibilities is to provides their clients with data on current market conditions. Help them with this responsibility. Whenever I learn anything about the industry that might have a remote effect on my clients or give an indication of what is happening in the marketplace I call my VMS clients first. Allowing them to present real time information to their clients makes a difference in their standing.

All in all, being a valued player with a client who has a VMS relationship is a lot more work – yet there it is foolhardy to take a client on if you are not going to have a satisfying relationship. There are significant benefits as well, and like most things the better you do the easier things get.