If you’ve worked in staffing, you know you have to sign a lot of paper to bring new customers on board. As they say, you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince! I know from experience—at my old firm, we usually had about 300 active customers, but we reviewed around 100-150 new contracts a month. I learned a few things along the way while managing this volume of contracts, and now I want to pass it on.
10 tips for successfully managing staffing contract ops
- Prioritize the requests for contract review in order of importance from A – D:
- A – pending placements
- B– client who won’t release job orders until a contract’s in place
- C– flex agreements
- D– perm agreements
- Delegate low-risk contracts (like Perm Agreements and MDNAs) to your branch managers. It’s easy to train them on what to look for, plus it’s a professional development opportunity for them, and it relieves some pressure from your GC and Ops department. Win win!
- Metadata: track it for all your contracts. It’ll help you understand the risk in your contract portfolio, and it’ll allow you to leverage your existing customers for Business Development.
A quick case study: In a candidate-short market, we ran a report out of our contract database and identified over 600 customers that allowed us to subcontract. Then we marketed our H1-B partner firm’s top consultants. We did the same with fee percentages. From there, we were able to run a report to identify all agreements that had fees less than 20%. Armed with that information, we asked our AMs to renegotiate. The AMs were able to increase fees and get new JOs in the process. Not bad!
- Negotiate with legal. AMs will always be hesitant to have you talk directly to the customer, but I’ve found that clients are typically more amenable to changes when the negotiation occurs between two lawyers.
- Audit: Identify which of your client agreements have audit provisions, and make sure you audit any placements for those contracts each month. After all, better you catch it than the client. Additionally, I recommend randomly spot checking another 10% as well.
- When an AM brings in a new client, report it out to your entire company. Sharing out will ensure all AMs are using their appropriate hunting licenses. For example, if the Atlanta office brings in a new client, it’s always easier for the New York office to be able to leverage that agreement by calling managers and saying, “we’re a new approved vendor.”
- Reporting: track the contracts and how many placements and GP are made on them. Then trace those back to how the branch manager prioritized the contract request. I always like to score the Branch Managers against their peers—it helps encourage proper reporting.
- Risk Memos: Make sure everyone (Legal, Sales, HR, Accounting, etc.) understands what they need to do to onboard a customer. This is everything from adding a new background check provider, to managing fixed markups, to checking references. Getting buy-in on the front end ensures a smooth process once a placement’s been made.
- Credit Check: Always run them in advance of a placement. It’ll help you decide whether to do the perm only, contract, or contract to hire.
- At the end of the month, make sure you can tie all placements to an executed agreement. There’s nothing worse than making a bunch of placements with a new client, then learning the AM doesn’t have a signed agreement—and the customer stiffs you. I’d also recommend paying commission to sales only once you’ve got the executed agreement.
I hope this helps! Although it’s not the most exciting part of the staffing process, it’s critical for a healthy, sustainable, growing business.
PS – if you’re looking for a tool that will make your contract management process easier, check out our machine learning contract management software IntelAgree.