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Measuring IT Consultant Quality: A Definition of Terms

Historically, hiring managers made many staffing decisions in a vacuum. When they needed resources to execute a project, they decided which vendors to use, which contingent workers to hire and what rate was fair.

In time, as the direct and indirect expenses of managing the contingent workforce grew, many companies realized they could benefit from introducing process efficiencies and managing organizational objectives, rather than simply managing hiring manager objectives. Seeking to limit risk, improve costs and optimize vendor performance, they engaged stakeholders such as Human Resources, Procurement and Vendor Management Organizations (VMOs) in contingent labor decisions.

While this change is natural and should yield multiple organizational benefits, different stakeholder objectives can create some confusion among staffing vendors.

And the Survey Says

All customer stakeholders surveyed including IT hiring managers, HR, Procurement and VMO rated “the ability to provide quality IT consultants” as their number one desire of staffing companies. Upon first glance, it appears the various stakeholders are well aligned. However, deeper analysis reveals that each customer stakeholder defines “quality IT consultants” somewhat differently.

The differences in survey responses are explained in part by the fact that the stakeholders engage in the contingent labor management process at different stages. The IT hiring manager oversees the consultant as they execute the project and, thus, cares most about the quality of work the consultant provides. In contrast, the other stakeholders are mostly involved in the front-end of the process and therefore judge consultant quality primarily based on pre-placement attributes.

Of course, no stakeholder is wrong in their definition of quality. The true measure of a vendor’s ability to provide quality consultants involves both their own pre-placement screening and their consultants’ post-placement job performance.

What's Next?

To achieve a truly successful vendor management operation, vendor measurement criteria should represent the end-to-end experience between staffing provider and using organization. It should also represent all stakeholder objectives, but that is where things get tough.

While all stakeholders rated consultant quality as important, often other objectives, such as speed or price, compete with quality. Consequently, a vendor may satisfy procurement’s demand for better rates or the VMO’s demand for speedy submission, but fail to deliver on the hiring manager’s need for the most-qualified resource.

When push comes to shove, which aspects of performance are most important? If the using organization does not clearly answer this question, staffing vendors are forced to make their own calls. Optimizing contingent labor management ultimately comes down to ensuring that the using-organization prioritizes their important, but sometimes competing, objectives.

TEKsystems' Survey

TEKsystems, the leading provider of IT staffing and services, surveys its customer and consultant populations annually to better understand drivers of satisfaction and identity areas for improvement. The extensive surveys were developed by TEKsystems and conducted by an independent research firm through a web survey. More than 1,600 buyers and nearly 6,000 consultants from across the United States and Canada responded.

About TEKsystems®

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, we understand people. Every year we deploy over 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals – while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.

TEKsystems. Our people make IT possible.