Set expectations, iron out details for successful project completion
By Danielle Oswald
I have never settled for the status quo. That attitude has helped me to work from home with a legitimate business.
We all have different expectations of the same situations. When it comes to matters of business, however, it is best to set out the expectations of each party and come to an agreement — and under- stand exactly what each is agreeing to. When working with clients and staffing firms, I expect honest, direct communication. Here are some lessons I have learned from recent interactions that can benefit both clients and consultants.
Definitions. I lost a new website client about a month into the job. Yes, I was under contract and I was under the impression the client understood the details of the contract and that I was adhering to them. That was my big mistake. The lesson I’ve learned is both parties agree on definitions of terms. In this particular case, we didn’t end up agreeing on what “everything” entails. My promise to myself moving forward is I will do my best to be extremely detailed in what will or will not be provided. Recruiters can help with this by ensuring both the temporary worker and client understand and agree to these terms.
Project evolution. Clients and temps both need to be flexible as the project moves on, because expectations change. A great idea at the beginning of the project may turn out to not be the best idea halfway through. There should also be key check-in points throughout the course of the project so that all parties are satisfied with the status of the project. A recruiter or staffing firm representative can help by touching base periodically to ensure both parties remain on the same page.
Before you post. It is most beneficial for the staffing agency to consider the position it will be hiring for carefully and ensure the expectations of the hiring manger and direct supervisor line up so there are no power struggles once the person placed in the position begins. This will help to provide a work environment that is unified so the worker is not placed in an uncomfortable position of choosing to please the hiring manager or the direct supervisor.
It also helps to determine what skills are best suited from the person to complete the task at hand. If you will be training them in new programs exclusive to the client company, then the best applicant is someone who has a history of learning new tasks quickly.
Honesty brings referrals. Referrals, I believe, are the very best way to get a client or temp. About 90 percent of my clients are from referrals. But it goes both ways. Would I recommend a client to an acquaintance? Would I recommend the staffing provider I may have worked with? A big factor in whether I would is communication — and how the client or staffing provider responds to what I have to say. Clients/customers can expect honest communication from me.
While my asking direct questions that get to the root of what my clients need may be uncomfortable, it is necessary to avoid conflicts down the road as the project progresses. This type of honest communication is greatly appreciated by my clients, and staffing providers should encourage clients to keep an open mind to what their assigned temporary workers may be saying.
Exit interviews. Along the lines of honest communications, staffing agencies would certainly benefit by conducting exit interviews at the completion of a project to get an accurate assessment of their worker’s and client’s experience. Leave the emotions out of it and be honest with workers and clients to determine best placement options for future opportunities.
Danielle Oswald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.