What staffing firms look for

What staffing firms look for

By George Pearson

Virtually all staffing firms desire to form “strategic partnerships” with their clients. This usually means a steady flow of business for the supplier and a smoother working relationship. The supplier can anticipate the client’s needs and the client gains confidence that the supplier can consistently provide on demand top-quality workers who fit those needs.

What do staffing firms look for in their clients?

Geoff Bagg of The Keith Bagg Group lists these client characteristics:

•They share similar visions, missions and values with which we can align.

•They honestly and openly share information, including company direction, strategies, and goals.

•They ask for and value our input, looking to us for innovative approaches and solutions.

Ted Turner of Hunt Personnel says his company looks for:

•growth companies;

•organizations with seasonal cycles; and

•well managed organizations “that appreciate the economies of flexible staffing.”

The People Bank, according to Geoff Dillon, looks for companies “with high-volume departments.” For instance, any company operating a call centre “will likely be in need of staffing assistance. Often, call centres require volume recruiting and a constant supply of backup employees.

“A staffing service’s ability to draw on an existing database of qualified workers and to augment this through advertising and Internet recruitment allows a call centre to maintain a backup supply of staff without enduring countless interviews or incurring expenses for advertising.”

The pathway into a new client organization may begin with the HR department, but it is just as likely to start with company executives or line management. PTC Financial Staffing works through HR as well as with CFOs, finance vice-presidents or controllers. The Affiliates will seek out the general counsel in a corporation or the managing partner in a law firm for lawyer placement and the office administrator for placement of support staff.

Keith Bagg’s IT division establishes a relationship with IT managers, directors and vice-presidents. “HR does not understand the technology,” says Geoff Bagg. “Most IT people (do the hiring) themselves.”

On the other hand, Pro Tec Global Staffing relies on HR to get “the big picture in terms of process and paperflow,” and on hiring managers to get a sense of the specific requirements of the contract positions, says John Chrobak. “Interestingly, it is the vice-president level that sometimes has the best insight as to the value of using a staffing service to recruit and payroll the talent needed by the organization.”

In order to achieve the desired partnership with clients, staffing suppliers strive to earn their clients’ trust. Clients are then more likely to share sensitive strategic plans and information. As professionals, staffing firms can assure clients of confidentiality when they are seeking advice on sensitive employment issues, says Helen Jowett of McDonald Green.

“We are proud of our customers and would be happy to work for them ourselves.”

What about you?

As HR professionals, you are likely accountable within your own organization for identifying quality staffing suppliers and, in many instances, for building outsourcing into the company’s strategic staffing plan. We would like to hear from you.

What are your organization’s experiences with temporary staffing? In what situations has it been most valuable? In what situations has it failed to produce the desired results?

What do you see as the strengths and pitfalls of staff outsourcing? Is staff outsourcing growing as part of your organization’s strategic plan?

Canadian HR Reporter readers have told us that they learn the most from reading about the experiences of their peers. Tell us some of your war stories about staffing and we’ll share them.

Contact David Brown at [email protected] or by fax at (416) 298-5031.

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