Part Three--- Avoid disrupting your process to enjoy greater results!
The main purpose for this series is to address a consistent challenge we hear from strategic corporate recruitment partners regarding the current environment in producing excellent service levels with limited bandwidth, budget, and resources. It is crystal clear that even with slow economic growth, there are tremendous talent demands and limited talent supply for critical roles within the business. Resources are strained and therefore Talent Acquisition partners need to be creative in solving these problems. This leads to the most commonly asked question we hear from Fortune 1000 companies, “how can I improve efficiencies through partnering with external service providers without disrupting our process, increasing workload, and slowing down productivity?”.
This is a great question that put us to the test, and then challenged us to provide a fundamental blueprint to avoid process disruption when working with external suppliers.
In part one, we addressed how to overcome the fear of change by building a business case with five practical steps. In part two, we tackled how to select and implement effectively in order to manage your risk of failure, thereby increasing your possibility of success.
In this last blog (part three), we will cover how to manage, measure, and continuously improve your results so they can flex with changing business needs. By now, you have probably heard the common and true quote, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. We learned the significance of this statement when working with a Big four Consulting Firm who wanted to expand in a new business line within a new market. They needed data…and plenty of it to better understand a specific talent pool within a population of 80 million people. A perfect opportunity for Talent Intelligence as the client needed better insight in to a talent market ranging from skills, compensation, and location, to push and pull factors that would attract quality talent to their brand. By definition, Talent Intelligence captures, synthesizes, and measures data to increase a client’s view into a talent market, thereby increasing access to talent by 3X. By implementing clear expectations and a data collection structure, the Big four client had measurable data to better manage their talent acquisition strategy with a more effective message, process, and tools.
Learning point #1: Clearly define and align your critical success factors within a supplier SLA (Service Level Agreement). The more you measure, the easier it is to stay on track. Tracking measurements can include quality, quantity, specific knowledge gained, and timelines that are specific around milestones. All of which are aligned with your internal customers, which are aligned with the overall business objectives.
If you need quick wins, then structure the SLA to reflect Speed to Value. Speed to Value is a best practice metric used by a fantastic business and technology consulting firm in Columbus Ohio USA called Pillar Technology. We love this principle and have adopted it throughout our organization. It truly identifies and prioritizes value within a clear timeframe. It’s clean, clear, and both sides guide their energy and talent towards a worthwhile goal.
If a supplier can’t seamlessly integrate, then why take the chance that they might suck up valuable time and resources thereby increasing your workload and decreasing your productivity? It doesn’t make sense. Have the supplier demonstrate transparently how their service will fit within your workflow process showing you how. If their services aren’t easy to use and easy to integrate, then don’t waste your time. Move on and find another solution.
Learning point #3: Communicate and collaborate with your supplier
I mentioned this point for internal customers in part one, and it holds true for managing suppliers to improve performance. Get on a communication routine (that should be spelled out in the SLA) during design, then implementation, and finally during the execution phase. Start with weekly tactical calls to solve problems, assess progress, and make rapid changes to reach the milestones. Next, have monthly review meetings to ensure results are as planned and make adjustments as needed. Lastly, have quarterly business review (QBR) meetings to highlight the progress of the relationship, including an open dialogue on changes within the business which could affect results. Yes, this means you have to trust your supplier with internal information. Speed to Value begins with clearly stated goals, trusting relationships, and the willingness of both parties to collaborate at a moment’s notice to help the client achieve their objectives. This concept is no different than you adjusting to your internal customers needs, and after 13 years working with some of the top global brands, our highest performing clients provide transparency and trust which allows them to accelerate results twice as fast as their competitors. Challenges are identified, owned, and solved earlier through this process.
Final thoughts.….an HR partner’s strategic value starts with the ability to support the business with service excellence aligned to business objectives. Solving problems with a clear plan and business case are essential in today’s budget-bandwidth challenging times, so I hope this series is helpful as having confidence in your plan and supplier is critical to achieve the results you desire.
I’d like to mention there are a lot of details left out or get buried in this series due to space constraints, so if you’d like more information or have questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy and until next time, keep charging forward!