What Are Some Tips for Managing an HR Vendor?
To navigate the complexities of managing HR vendors, we’ve gathered five valuable insights from top executives and HR professionals. From setting clear vendor expectations early to integrating vendors into team culture, these seasoned leaders, including a CEO and an HR Manager, offer their best tips for fostering successful vendor relationships.
- Set Clear Vendor Expectations Early
- Cultivate Vendor Partnerships
- Ensure Vendor Alignment With Objectives
- Communicate Expectations Kindly
- Integrate Vendors into the Team Culture
Set Clear Vendor Expectations Early
My top recommendation is to establish expectations upfront by creating a detailed service agreement. Spell out key performance metrics like average time-to-fill for open roles, minimum screening, candidate quality levels, and required sourcing volumes per specialty area. Then, consistently track vendor reporting and connect regularly with your account manager to evaluate if the terms are being met.
If you notice any gaps in deliverables, address them quickly through constructive conversations focused on finding solutions. Staying communicative, identifying issues early on, and working collaboratively to tackle challenges are critical for strengthening the partnership.
Cultivate Vendor Partnerships
The best way to build vendor relationships is to NOT treat them like vendors.
Vendors can offer insights into industry trends, emerging technology, and service best practices. While no one knows your business as you do, vendors have the unique perspective of seeing multiple businesses across various industries and locations.
Smart business people will take advantage of the vendor’s desire to expand the relationship into a true partnership by listening to the consultative insights offered. You can return the favor by sharing deeper insights into your needs. This enhanced communication can create a stronger long-term partnership.
Confused about the status of your current relationships? Remember, “vendor” equals “vending machine.” If you want more than a coin-operated relationship, put in the effort.
Ensure Vendor Alignment With Objectives
We advise many of our clients on the process of buying, implementing, and managing new HR systems. For the management side of existing vendor relationships, unfortunately, a high burden can often fall on the HR team to manage that relationship. Across the industry, many vendors can struggle with customer service, but companies aren’t able to drop those partners at the drop of a hat, so they need to figure out a path forward.
Our suggestion is often to establish clear communication and expectations from the outset. It’s crucial to have a mutual understanding of the deliverables, timelines, and performance metrics. Regular check-ins and updates ensure both parties are aligned and any issues are addressed promptly. This approach not only fosters a healthy professional relationship but also guarantees that the vendor’s services align closely with your business objectives.
Communicate Expectations Kindly
It pays to be kind and considerate as well; treat people how you would like to be treated. Also, be clear about your expectations and deadlines. Remember that when dealing with vendors, you may not be their top priority, even when you feel you should be.
Barbara Henry, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Integrate Vendors into the Team Culture
My go-to strategy revolves around fostering a strong partnership. One tip that has consistently worked wonders is to treat them as an extension of our team. This means involving them in our company culture, keeping them in the loop about our goals, and making them feel like they’re an integral part of our success.
When there’s a sense of shared purpose, it not only enhances collaboration but also motivates the vendor to go that extra mile for us. A vendor who feels like a true partner is more likely to align their efforts with our objectives.
Jon Morgan, CEO, Venture Smarter
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