I have heard a comment about “skin in the game” a few times lately … it appears to be a “knock” against staff augmentation companies, by “solutions” companies. When a client tells me that staffing companies don’t have skin in the game, I guess I have to try and understand what “game” we are talking about. I thought our goal in life is to meet and exceed our client’s expectations!
If a client needs a particular skillset to complete a task … where the client is directing the effort the “game” is finding the very best candidate, who is available in the required time and at the most cost effective price. That is what the staffing industry does … it is our core competence, and we do it very well. The right person, quickly, and at a great price.
IF the client wants a company to take responsibility for a solution, to own it and manage the whole process, then that “game” requires a solutions company. One that comes with experience, process, methodology and staff that are capable of delivering that solution. That is their core competence … taking end-to-end responsibility for delivering a solution.
Clients don’t ALWAYS want a company to own the solution … they very often want to own it themselves, and all they need are GREAT people. The client can get those great people (a) internally; (b) from a staffing company; or (c) from a solutions company.
(a) If the staff exist internally, AND have the right skills, AND can be freed up for the project … then that is very likely going to be the first choice. Very often clients have a portion of that team available but need to supplement with external staff … I would suggest that staffing companies offer the best solution for that.
(b) If the client needs to go outside then the most choice, the best pricing and the most likely timeliness fit will come from the staffing companies … who have access to a pool of independent people across the country, not just the internal staff available to a solutions company.
(c) If the client buys these “people” from the solutions company then they are buying from a restricted pool (no matter how big the company they do not have the reach of a staffing company) OR that solutions company will access independents themselves (or through a staffing company). The solution just got a whole lot more expensive, and adds the risk that “near fit” employees of the solution company will be “forced in”.
Life is never black and white, but there are clear times when a solutions company is probably the right choice … and clear times when a staffing company is far better choice. I would suggest it is not about “skin in the game” it is about the best answer for a client’s needs. Clients need the best people on their “project” bus!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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