Playing Hardball With Your Competition

Overcoming Staffing Industry Competition

In baseball, as in staffing, the best players are already under contract with teams. How does a team thwart the efforts of competitors cherry-picking their talent? They create contracts — which helps, but the teams that provide intangibles creates an environment in which their talent wants to remain.

Ball players who play for organizations that recognize their value will often remain with teams in spite of competitors’ higher salary offerings. Why? Because money, while important, isn’t always the determining factor. There’s value in other factors: the region they live and work within, engaged fans, respect for ownership and management, camaraderie of teammates, alignment with organizational strategy, and on and on. In short, salary often is subordinate to any one of, or a combination of, these factors.

It’s imperative that staffing organizations find ways to retain talent because the competition is constantly circling and looking for a way to undermine your efforts to keep your talent. In the staffing world, we have to convey to our employees that they are our valued employee, and not employees of the client. To accomplish this, we need to be in regular contact with them and enable them to recognize their value — not as a revenue stream, but as a valued member of the team; ask them for their feedback; make sure that everything is going well; cultivate a reciprocal relationship based on respect and trust.

Work with your benefits activity to make sure that your benefits are competitive, while offering optional access to 401K’s, optical programs, and the like. Hold social events where you provide free lunches, or offsite picnics on days off. Offer training. Consultants need to know they’re part of something other than a line item on the monthly invoice.

The analogy of sales can be a good one to reinforce the importance of talent retention; it’s much easier and cost effective to retain a customer than it is to get a new one. The work associated with finding talent is arduous and highly competitive, and so it’s much easier to keep your talent than it is to go find more after they’ve been plucked unceremoniously from your account. Whether true or not, the unemployed are perceived as “less valid” than active talent, therefore, efforts to replace your consultants are necessarily hindered by that perception. Keep what you have.

A side benefit of this approach will strengthen the relationship you have with your clients. What client won’t see your treatment of your employees as a critical factor in the relationship? Clients want suppliers to have healthy relationships with their employees which directly translates into longevity, productivity, compliance, efficiency and harmony.

The best baseball is played when teams have a sense of camaraderie and unity. That’s not a byproduct of salary, but of the intangibles.

Develop those intangibles. Your best future lies in the protection and cultivation of your existing talent. Nurture an environment wherein your consultants see themselves as proud to be a member of your organization. Protect the talent you have by offering differentiating factors from other contractors.

Do these things and watch your team succeed.