So you are new to partnering with a staffing firm and you aren’t exactly sure how to get started. Or you have been using contingent workers for years and you feel pretty confident that you get how this works. Whether you are new to this kind of partnership or not, knowledge is power. From the changes in Affordable Care Act(ACA) requirements to co-employment issues, education and information is key.Partnering with your staffing firms means you need to trust them — and that means they need to be reputable, ethical and committed to your success as much as their own. So how do you know if they're trustworthy and operating appropriately? When they tell you that they should be handling performance reinstruction and not you, how do you know they are right? There is an easy answer to this question – ask them. Do your research, have the conversation with them and then ask for some supporting documentation. Both staffing firms and employers/buyers all have access to a variety of reputable tools and resources for help navigate the waters of this occasionally complex employment dynamic. Let’s look at two examples:
#1 OSHA regulations changes: OSHA recently changed their policy around post-accident/incident drug screening. New guidelines indicate that a post-accident drug screen should no longer be an automatic. There needs to be reasonable suspicion. So if your chosen staffing company is giving you advice on this subject, one way or the other, ask them for documentation to support their position. This will both educate you as the client, but also build your trust and confidence with them as your trusted partner. Most agencies have either in-house counsel or partner with a legal resource. That is a great source of knowledge you can tap into!
#2 Pricing Agreements: Staffing companies, at least reputable ones, are not going to share with you a penny-by-penny breakdown of what goes into their mark-ups — just like you don’t share your internal costs and overheads figures with your customers. Additionally, not all staffing companies have the same internal cost structures. For example: What costs one retailer, say a “value” shopping center, to buy/sell a blouse is going to be different from a “high end” department store. We don’t get to ask as those different stores what their cost structures are relating to that blouse — but it doesn’t mean we can’t educate ourselves about those companies, get a general idea of their pricing strategies, learn what makes them different from their competitors and figure out how to leverage potential discounts. Understanding what goes into your partner mark-up, like payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, unemployment costs, and more, can help you understand why the price is what it is.
Resources like Staffing Industry Analysts(SIA) can be highly useful and anyone can take advantage of them. SIA offers several different newsletters you can subscribe to at no cost. They speak to industry trends, offer survey results and reports, as well as have a host of different webinars you can tap into. There are sections for both staffing agencies, as well as, employers/buyers.
And finally, all Staffing and Recruiting companies are bound by a shared code of ethics. It sets the standards for doing business and for example what happens if a new service is taking over for an existing service. Familiarizing yourself, as a client, with these ethical guidelines, only helps your decision making abilities. Asking your potential staffing partner to share and demonstrate their commitment to this code of ethics is a great conversation to have – especially early on in the relationship. Following that code yourself, is also critical in making sure agencies want to work with you in return.
Using a staffing partner is easy — finding one that matches your way of doing business requires a bit more work. But asking the right questions and arming yourself with resources is the first step in making the right decision for you.