Contractor management – best practices
Many companies from various industries – telecommunication, facilities, power and utilities, medical equipment providers - choose to outsource part of their workforce in order to increase profitability or enhance flexibility in responding to market needs. This model is increasingly common because of the shrinking number of qualified personnel and growing demand for installation and maintenance services.
Once the outsourcing begins, many questions and doubts concerning contractor management arise.
To help you navigate down the convoluted path of contractor management, we’ve listed the main challenges as well as their solutions for anyone currently working with an external workforce or planning to hire one in the future.
1. Contractor management: When do we need 3rd party contractors?
- Overloads – any delays resulting from excessive workloads impact Service Level Agreement compliance, project deadlines, and ultimately - client experience. No service company wants to be perceived as unreliable. As a result, they decide to support their operations with the help of third party workers.
- Specialization – working with a contractor specialized in only a few areas can give us confidence that they have the necessary expertise to perform the service visit. With specialized workers, your external staff may start their work as quickly as possible.
- Costs – outsourcing your workforce also means optimizing costs – you don’t have to spend money on buying additional assets, hiring extra staff (that may turn out to be unnecessary in less hectic times), or providing training that takes weeks.
2. Contractor management: common problems
- Chains of contractors and subcontractors – Although the goal is to increase effectiveness, cooperating with contractors and their sub-contractors may double your trouble with communication and tracking the service delivery.
- Many contractors to manage – contractor management becomes a challenge when you need to combine the different approaches, ways of working, schedules, work cultures and models of settlement of various external service providers.
- Company’s image and service quality – as the control moves to another company, this increases the risk of poor service quality delivered by the contractor.
3. Contractor management: Effective communication and coordination
- Integration of communication channels – to avoid an unorganized exchange of information that ultimately leads to inefficient routes to the given site, you should utilize a third-party workforce management solution where you can keep all data about tasks and make them available to workers via a mobile app.
- Incubation training – you don’t need to arrange work training, rather hold meetings to present your company’s standards and build a relationship based on trust with the external workforce.
- Gamification – whether you manage internal or external staff, you should find innovative ways to engage them – it is always better to motivate than to simply expect perfect results every time. That is why, gamification is a step toward more effective and motivated staff. Imagine how your service level will skyrocket when you build a system of points to reward your workers.
4. Contractor management: measuring performance and predicting workload
- Different models of cooperation – while working with multiple contractors, you will find it difficult to measure their performance. In addition to this, some contractors would prefer to count overall workforce capacity and others would rather track work orders per employer, counting these metrics would be near impossible. To meet these challenges, you should consider field service management software that enables tracking average time to complete, or work orders per employee in real time.
- Forecasting capability – based on data collected by a software, you can predict the distribution of work in a given area or in a particular season. This gives you the ability to choose the optimal time to hire an external workforce to meet deadlines.
5. Contractor management: safety and quality
- Checklist – by equipping your workforce with online checklists, you enable them to follow expected steps and standards. This ability is also useful when you need to show that your workers perform the work according to specific procedures.
- Survey – the client’s opinion is worth more than anything. The simplest solution to analyze how your customers felt about the service they received from external staff is through an online survey. With these surveys, you will have information about whether external workers deliver high quality service or not.
- Audits – when you notice any symptoms of poor service, you may arrange an audit to discover what is affecting the performance or quality of the service. To avoid any unnecessary documentation, you should take advantage of mobile devices to gather information and then process the data in a software.
Contactor management: Takeaway
Outsourcing staff shouldn’t mean losing control over your service performance and quality. Successful contractor management is a mix of setting clear rules with external service providers, ensuring tools to monitor the results, and reacting when necessary. Neglecting any of those areas will have negative effects on your contractor management. The ideal scenario is to consider all of this before ever starting a partnership with a contractor. If the cooperation already exists, each problem should be refined on a case by case basis.