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Director EMEA Supplier Development
Thorsten takes care of our strategic supplier development in EMEA. He focuses on building strong relationships with our supplier community in order to serve as its voice within Kelly and drives respective innovation and constant improvement initiatives to ensure joint successes within our clients’ talent supply chains. Prior to his current role, he held different business development, marketing and practice lead roles since joining Kelly in 2007 and has 10+ years of experience in different management and consulting roles within the HR/Education segment.
If a recruitment or talent management supplier has previously worked directly with their client, moving to a relationship with a third-party talent management Program Office can seem like a ‘demotion’. Specifically, suppliers that lose the direct access to the client can feel they are losing access to knowledge and that this will impact their ability to perform well.
Suppliers work hard to develop strong relationships with their clients across all levels of the organization—from the sales team, account executives and recruiters right through to the managing director. On the surface, the “disintermediation” of these relationships could appear to limit the growth of the supplier’s business.
However, all parties involved in a third-party supplier arrangement must remember that the key reason clients outsource their recruitment and talent acquisition functions is to allow them to focus squarely on their core business. Therefore, the same logic can, and should, be applied to suppliers in the talent supply chain.
Developing a strong sales capability naturally draws focus and resources away from the core business of finding, securing and deploying talent. If Program Offices can remove the need for suppliers to do this, more focus can be placed on the talent management and sourcing outcomes that the client is seeking. This will only occur, however, if the following issues within the new relationship are proactively addressed:
All suppliers in the network must develop a shared understanding of where and how each organization’s strategy overlaps with the others, and how they can address gaps and capture new opportunities. Ultimately, it is in the Program Office’s best interests to strengthen those in the supplier network because a strong supplier base is a key competitive advantage they can and should deliver to the client.
What suppliers can do:
When suppliers develop the same approach to managing their relationship with the Program Office as they would the client, and they build strong relationships at all levels, they will maintain strong visibility regarding their growth opportunities with the client through a third-party model.
Suppliers that wish to actively ‘sell’ their business in a third-party arrangement should consider ways to demonstrate and showcase their capabilities, such as developing their own case studies of specific recruitment outcomes that could be used by the Program Office. Far from eroding the suppliers' competitive edge, this can cement them as a thought leader and also offers added value in having that supplier as part of any supplier network. Consider too that any third-party provider will likely have diverse relationships with other clients and demonstrating a solutions-oriented and innovative approach can lead to other opportunities for suppliers that leverage and sustain the relationship.
For more strategy tips to get the most out of working with a Program Office, download the full report here: 5 Myths of supplying talent through a third-party provider model