It is the experience and recommendation of ISS that the key to making outsourcing relationships work is in moving from a transaction-based relationship to a partnership one.
The key to enhancing the partnership approach is the constant attention and cultivation of individual relationships among all employees on both sides. Being able to participate and receive recognition for ability and performance both motivates the service team to reach higher, and forces the customer’s organisation to engage. In companies actively working to build and cultivate teams and resources with the service partner, we see significantly lower turnover among both front-line employees and on account management levels, which yields a higher stability and quality in the contract.
The working relationship between the customer’s organisation and the service provider is instrumental to the success of any arrangement. In fact, a poor relationship can result in low morale and consequently poor quality of the services provided. It is in both parties’ interest to establish a professional relationship based on trust and team spirit. A positive win-win perspective to the relationship can lead to a very successful continuation of the relationship as well as further developments and efficiencies of the contract.
Maintaining an excellent level of service means that the two parties should work on establishing good contract governance procedures and effective decision processes involving high-level executives from both organisations and to ensure that communications and management is working effectively on both side. The elements of the working relationship to focus on include the following.
- The behaviours and roles of the team should be appropriate for the current environment and for benefit realisation.
- Personal relationships need constant grooming and nurturing.
- Partnership or collaboration on problem resolution is the norm and not the exception.
- Benefits are being delivered to the organisations on both sides.
Where the elements hindering performance are cultural it is possible to change the people on both sides of the relationship. Alternatively, an open dialogue about problems on both sides may provide a vehicle for moving the relationship forward. Addressing cultural issues often involves low risk, even though it can require high degrees of tact and determination to resolve.
To ensure a Win-Win scenario for both parties involved: Discuss openly
An outsourcing provider needs to delve on and openly discuss all future complexities and difficulties that may arise, right at the beginning. Failure in doing this can cause relationship anguish and inability to deal with risks. Invest time
Signing the deal first and dealing with the minute details later can only lead to a disaster. Both the service provider and the client must invest significant time in sorting out the ‘nitty-gritty’ details before the deal closure to ensure a smooth relationship. Create multi-level touch points and roles
Establishing a partnership at multi-level touch points like Human Resources, Legal, Risk Management and C-Level executives leads to better-aligned goals between the client and service provider.
Defining distinctive roles on both the client and provider’s end and having the right people with the right skill-sets for these roles ensures that each person plays a vital role in making the relationship work.