Many small to medium sized businesses are choosing to utilize a workforce solutions company in an effort to reduce their operating costs. Today, there is a wide range of solution providers available offering services from temporary workers to human resources to payroll and accounting services. Like any other business category, there are good providers and not so good providers. Follow this advice to make sure your decision to use a workforce solutions provider is successful and has a positive impact on the corporate bottom line.
Ask your peers and members of your professional network for recommendations. These contacts will be more likely to provide open and honest feedback than those handpicked references provided by the potential supplier. Your network may also provide you with information and insights on what worked and what didn’t work in a similar situation.
Clearly define the positions and activities you are looking for the provider to perform for you. These positions and/or activities should be clearly detailed and understood by both parties. A good place to start would be the job description(s) for each position(s).
Ask your potential provider for current references. If possible, these references should be in a similar field and utilizing the supplier for similar positions. Prior to contacting the references, put together a list of questions that you will ask each of the references you contact. This way, you will have similar input from each reference that will aid in the comparison and final recommendation.
No one person or business is good at everything. There are areas of the business that we like to do and others that we dread doing or don’t have the expertise to perform at the level required. By hiring a provider to perform those functions, you can focus on your core competencies and focus on growing your business.
When beginning a relationship with a new provider, starting with a small well-defined position or project is a good idea. Think of this as “Try Before You Buy.” A small project will give insight into the provider’s style and how well they perform.
Just like with any direct hire, if there is an issue with performance or results, address it right away. If the supplier isn’t providing you the service that you agreed upon, let them know as soon as possible. This will allow any issues to be addressed and corrected without an impact to your business.
The solutions provider and their employees should be held to the same standard as an employee of the company. There should not be two sets of rules applied, one for employees and one for the service provider. By being consistent, your employees will more readily work with the service provider.
Take the time to make the right solution. Many providers require a contract which can range from three months to thirty-six months, so take the time to make the right choice. Once the agreement is in place, the options for renegotiating are limited.
When the proposals come in, don’t let the price of the services be the driving factor in making the provider selection. The decision to outsource is in an effort to reduce overall costs. However, this should not mean that you should automatically take the lowest priced solution. Instead, focus on the results that they have been able to achieve for other customers as well as those they have agreed to provide for your business.
When signing an agreement with a provider, read through the proposal and any legal contracts or agreements several times. It is important to understand all of the provisions and terms completely before signing. If your business doesn’t have legal representatives in house, you should consider consulting with a legal professional.
If done correctly, the benefits of partnering with a workforce solutions provider significantly outweigh the risks. By following this advice, businesses can increase the likelihood of a successful relationship.
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