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people not widgets

People not widgets!

Sitting on a table at a charity auction last week watching people bid for a signed Alan Sugar picture with ‘You’re fired’ across the top, was to say the least, an interesting bidding situation. It got me thinking about how organisations procure people solutions, not products.   

It may be the right time and decision to bring fresh new talent in to your organisation (either on a contract or permanent basis), or it might be a case of restructuring the team you already have to realise its true potential. You may also want to consider the introduction of new learning and training programmes and initiatives. In all likelihood it will most probably be a combination of some or all of these elements.

Now we all know the pitfalls of choosing partners based on cost alone. Customers getting nasty surprises early on into the partnership, and who can forget sitting in front of an e-auction portal as a provider. Both don’t feel much like the start of a true partnership!

In general many organisations that we speak to are disenchanted with the bid approach. They are frustrated that all of their hard work and effort is rarely rewarded with the desired end result. Typically the process begins with them defining the scope of the requirement and preparing the document. Then the documentation is sent to selected providers inviting them to bid. Once all of the proposals are in, the organisations that are shortlisted enter into negotiations to get the best possible deal before the contract is signed. Is this really the most effective way for businesses to engage? I believe not.

I would ask organisations to create a two-way engagement where provider and customer work together to explore potential solutions and build a partnership that works. Surely it makes sense to take full advantage of the knowledge, expertise and experience of those whose speciality is talent management. After all, they have been there, seen it and done it many times before. What is more, these discussions will inevitably be far more productive than the time spent preparing and responding anonymously to a tender.

So why does this happen? The inherent problem with the bid process is that it is seen as secretive and competitive, rather than being both collaborative and communicative (two essential elements of any successful people-based solution). The role of the bid approach is to secure the best value deal for the organisation (which in essence is no bad thing). However, contracts often falter or even fail because despite delivering exactly what they promised, the service-provider isn’t actually delivering what has been requested or needed. No-one is to blame, it is simply a case of the process not allowing room for the right conversations to take place. To me that doesn’t sound like great value or good business sense.

So, is a two-way tendering process that enables a more collaborative approach, ability to meet business to business, propose an approach, solution and commercial model that works for everyone in a true partnership that challenging? 

At Optamor we invest significant value in building solutions with our customers, harnessing people analytics to create and explore options, and more importantly a partnership. This approach enables us to discuss and explore potential approaches and provide alternatives, predict challenges and propose commercial models that share risk and reward based on performance.  

For me that sounds more like a partnership in the making!  



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