How can you guarantee to deliver with the candidate at the helm?

In the current labour market, the employee is at the wheel. Even temporary employment agencies are now struggling with scarcity. How do they manage to provide a 100% delivery guarantee to their clients?

Candidate at helm

Employment businesses have it rough in the current market. Normally, they thrive at the start of a period of economic growth. Clients do not want to hire permanent staff immediately and instead turn to an employment business. The business is able to place its candidates, and everyone is happy.

A relatively new problem has surfaced in the current market. Employment businesses struggle to find candidates. When a client calls, they have to give them no for an answer more often, which they obviously do not like to do.

As a response, a client might call in more preferred suppliers. In practice, however, this rarely works. Employment businesses see it as a lack of exclusivity. Imagine you are one of four businesses involved; there is no incentive to go the extra mile or to come up with creative solutions.

In charge of the process

There is another solution: having employment businesses work together. When it comes to temporary employees, we speak of a Master Vendor, who takes charge of a client’s process and makes arrangements with fellow employment businesses regarding the placement of certain candidates.

The Master Vendor promises clients to supply as many qualified candidates as possible in line with KPIs, at the prevailing market price, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. They guarantee to always deliver and are able to quickly and efficiently upscale and downscale.

A larger talent pool

It is a growing market, with a larger talent pool to pick from, allowing employment agencies to fulfil their promises towards their clients.

On the other hand, it is a market with very specific challenges. The largest supplier or the one that delivers the most candidates is generally appointed as Master Vendor by the client. But are they able to live up to the role with the current shortages on the labour market? One out of every three employment businesses is already experiencing shortages, and many have had to adjust their growth ambitions for 2019. Will we ever see a successful collaboration?

I personally believe that the Master Vendor is able to make it happen. Not just because of the larger pool, but also because of the added value of that lies within the role. As Master Vendor, you shift from the tactical operational aspect to a more strategy-focused approach with your client. You take charge, for now and for years to come.

If you want to do this with just your own candidates at your disposal, you are in for quite a challenge. But as long as you enter into the discussion about strategic issues with your client, you can really start adding value.

Transparency and insight

To add value, you do have to venture to make arrangements with other employment businesses. This should not be a problem as long as you are transparent and give insight into what you are trying to do. In practice, we quite often see organisations use Excel sheets to keep track of candidates. I do not think this is the correct approach when you are trying to establish a transparent hiring chain. If you want to be a Master Vendor, you need a system that gives clear insight and allows you to take control.

Additionally, such a system in itself could provide solutions to scarcity. You could vary in the requested amount of hours per week, for example. Say you notice you get three times as many candidate responses to a job for 22 to 32 hours per week as you do when the same job is posted for 37 to 40 hours a week. You can act upon this and eventually steer towards a fulfilment degree of 100%.

So, in conclusion, the role of Master Vendor only adds value if the supplier in this role is willing to take the reigns, does not shy away from discussing strategy with the client, and makes arrangements with other suppliers to guarantee delivery of candidates each and every time. This, in turn, is only possible when you allow for insight and transparency, hence the proper tooling is essential. I believe this is the only way to move up to the metaphoric direction room.

Bart Goossens, Commercial Director at Nétive VMS