Appropriate talent acquisition and staff retention are constant aims for any successful contract research organisation (CRO). Still, the importance of a preferred supplier list (PSL) can often be overlooked, leading to opportunities missed and projects stalled. Whatever area of research you’re working in - from pharma funding to biotech development or medical device production - defining best practices and optimised use of your PSL can lead to meaningful recruitment and greater success for your team.
We know that a CRO's recruitment challenges are considerable. Working at such a large scale over a breadth of projects in a changing industry landscape makes efficient recruitment outsourcing a necessity. However, we see the routine pitfalls of an outdated PSL leading to lacklustre output all too often, with acquisition returning talent that doesn’t quite fit your needs as innovative recruitment has been sacrificed for ease and speed, and an atmosphere of recruitment complacency against other organisation demands.
Unfortunately, there is no set process to improve and act upon potential issues with a PSL partner - should they occur. From my experience, seeking continuous insight from other options in your market can be a crucial factor in ensuring you add optimum value when lists are reviewed. A shocking number of suppliers allow the majority of targets to be filled by larger businesses, leaving lower-level partners needing to do the bare minimum. Whilst there is usually no issue with fulfilment in these circumstances, there is a lack of attention to detail and efficiency which over a longer period of time can be seen to cause issues.
Keeping a finger on the pulse for competitors can not only ensure there is a backup plan (should you plan to revisit your PSL) but also ensure you are able to keep current partners on their toes using insight from other options in your network. Just a few tweaks to your existing model could be all it takes for renewed success. So what steps can you implement to create ultimate efficiency and ensure your business thrives? Let’s take a look.
You need to know what you’re dealing with before you know where you need to make changes. Review your current PSL and check in with your recruitment team on efficacy and general relationship with each supplier. Introduce a regular reviewing process and update your suppliers on this process - this can help mitigate complacency within your own company and from preferred suppliers in future practice. These steps can ensure greater confidence in your suppliers and continued expectation management, with optimised recruitment efforts.
Understanding your recruitment suppliers' needs and working interests can help nurture balance in your relationship with preferred suppliers and ensure the best return on talent acquisition. Inviting recruitment suppliers to explain their position also opens the conversation for you to detail your vacancy needs, allowing both sides of the supplier relationship to be fruitful, maintain a positive relationship, and ensure continued efficacy for all parties.
We know it’s exhausting to continuously field generic sales calls or emails, and it can become a reflex to shut new recruitment suppliers down when you already have a PSL. However, ignoring all fresh recruitment talent is another surefire step towards complacency and a stagnant recruitment process.
Give consideration to the select recruitment suppliers who demonstrate an understanding of your business and talent needs, prioritising nuance and professionalism, and remain open to discussions with these quality providers with an end goal of keeping your supplier list fresh and innovative to changing industry demands.
Whilst the challenges of top talent acquisition demand any CRO remain agile and adaptive, a robust approach to your PSL can make recruitment a smoother process for all teams. If you’re ready to discuss how a specialised recruitment consultancy can help take your talent to the next level, get in touch below.
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