Last week, nextSource hosted its first Keystone Partner Summit which included the conferral of 2018’s Keystone Partner awards. The commonality between all four categories—the Keystone Partner Award, the Premier Partner Award, Emerging Partner Award, and the Fidelity Award—is excellence in partnership. After the event, we announced the winners in a press release, prompting other staffing companies to ask how they might become preferred partners too. This post outlines the steps an organization can take to become preferred supplier partners.
Step One – Visit the Supplier Registration Portal. The nextSource Supplier Partnerships Office (SPO) maintains an all-inclusive supplier registration portal outside of the VMS tools used to support our programs. There, visiting current and potential suppliers can provide details on their company’s capabilities and service offerings. Information entered into the portal provides the SPO a better understanding of each organization’s current service capabilities as they assess needs across our operations.
Once registered, we encourage suppliers to log in frequently and to make updates as needed so you’ll be included in every search performed in the portal. This information must be current for suppliers to be considered for every applicable opportunity—so make it count with accurate information. It’s also a good practice to enter more than one contact to ensure that you won’t miss an opportunity if your named contact is not available. Searches are frequently based on geographic need so take the time to be thorough in entering all office locations. Set periodic reminders to review your registration and make updates.
The portal is SPO’s source of easily and quickly identifying what it is that you do, where you do it, how you do it. Be available to their team for further discussions, as requested. The best partners realize timely address of our support needs and successful execution is the best way to get their “foot in the door” and advance to further opportunities.
Lastly, understand that nextSource receives a large volume of partner requests. We do our best to accommodate everyone. Follow the process we’ve put in place and everyone’s time can be fully productive when we do engage.
Step Two – Focus on Performance. It’s not the number of accounts you are supporting but how well you support these programs. Know the metrics you’ll be measured on if scorecards are utilized and strive to obtain a top performer ranking. If for some reason performance issues arise, analyze your internal processes to identify areas of improvement. Then be sure to take appropriate action to improve scores on your next scorecard. Come prepared to scorecard review meetings after analyzing your performance and internal processes.
Actively recruit on every requisition you receive, and submit only your top candidates. All customers seek cost savings, so it is wise to submit candidates below the maximum bill rate. This will not only give your qualified candidates a selection advantage, this may also be one of the scorecard metrics you are measured on depending on the client’s cost saving initiatives.
Focus on submitting those highly qualified candidates within the first 24 hours. Offers resulting from interviews for qualified candidates increase the sooner they are submitted, so make every effort to keep them at the top of the list to be reviewed by the hiring manager.
Step Three – Communicate. Keeping lines of communication open means staying engaged with your contractors. It’s easy to think the job is done once a candidate is placed, but this is where the opportunity actually begins. These are representatives of your agency on the client’s site. There is no better advertising than that for obtaining referrals and reflecting positively on your agency, nextSource, and our partnership overall.
Remain in constant communication with your candidates. Know where else they are interviewing and when they are available to interview when you submit them. Make sure the candidate knows where to report, when to arrive, and whom to ask for. Regardless of any previous engagement with the candidate, make every effort to connect with them before a submittal. Failure to show for a scheduled interview with the client negatively reflects on your Agency and nextSource. Multiple no shows quickly reveal to us and the client that less than best practices may be used. Remember, the best way to be optimized across accounts is to prove successful on the one you are partnered with. Make sure to follow up with your candidate after the interview. Sharing this feedback with the Program Team equips them with information needed to assist the Hiring Manager with next steps of the process.
Build a partnership with your program team, and show them through performance that you are a supplier partner they can rely on. For example, should you receive more requisitions than can be worked on at one time, ask what the priority should be. Do not try to work with the customer directly, circumventing the program team, unless specifically instructed this permission has been granted. It’s safe to assume the customer expects all work flow and supplier communication to be through the program team. It is not uncommon for supplier attempts at working with the customer directly to be brought to our attention with a negative impact. Respect the rules and guidelines of the program put in place by the customer.
Step Four – Embrace the SPO. nextSource is interested to partner with our suppliers to identify and cultivate new client opportunities. We are specifically focused on opportunities where nextSource can bring our proven supply chain in the form of our elite partners with us. Your best advocate, the SPO supports every one of our program management teams and supplier partners across our business enterprise. The SPO should be your only contact for additional opportunities with our programs. Delays and confusion with your message or request may be experienced by contacting multiple resources within nextSource as these are all routed to the SPO. It is to your benefit to go directly to the source by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org only. On the other hand, avoid over-communicating. Sending a non-urgent message eight times within three days is not seen as a gesture of open communication.
Lastly, be responsive to all requests, including those from the SPO. These could lead to a great partnership!
This blog was provided by nextSource’s Nikki Roe, service excellence analyst.