By Elliot H. Clark
For many years, HRO Today has provided numerous customer satisfaction based rankings of providers through the HRO Today Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction surveys. We appreciate the notoriety and respect the practitioner community has placed in the methodology of the ranking. However, we only perform this kind of study in up to 10 areas of technology or service. This leaves many categories that are not covered or fall neatly into the Baker’s Dozen program.
Juxtaposed to these needs is another disturbing trend. As workforce issues heat up with the global economy, there is a greater demand for HR services and new technology solutions. This causes new providers to flood the space—which can be good and bad for the market. New providers can bring new approaches and innovations. But when a new provider fails to perform, word can spread through the HR community and raise concerns in the entire industry. I have long referred to unqualified providers that claim to have capabilities beyond the scope of their experience as “Faux POs.” There needs to be a way to protect unwitting clients from the lure of a Faux PO provider. A more comprehensive system is necessary to help identify the best providers.
In consultation with the HRO Today Services and Technology Association Advisory Board, we have elected to create a “Trusted Provider Program” under the auspices of the Association. Here is the proposed program in broad strokes:
- The Association will create a standard of ethics and performance that providers must meet to be part of the program.
- There will be some due diligence process yet to be determined. (We have a lot of data on Baker’s Dozen participants, but that is only a small percentage of the provider universe.)
- Companies that ascribe to the ethical standard and pass due diligence will get a “Trusted or Certified Provider” badge to display on their logo, website, and collateral.
As they say, the devil is in the details. There will be an important discussion in the first two hours of the HRO Today Services and Technology Association Membership Summit on October 18th in Philadelphia. Those in attendance can begin the process of developing the standards of performance and ethics. We hope to constitute an ongoing committee from the group of attendees. You do NOT have to be a member to attend, but you will NEED to be a member to be on the standing committee. We will be looking for both practitioner and provider members for the committee.
The goal is fairly simple. We want the practitioner audience to recognize that there is a fair arbiter and registry of provider capabilities that they can rely upon. The Association will work to elevate its brand and build awareness of this service. The certification will help alleviate some of the due diligence investigation of new providers as we will have preliminary qualification that they can perform the service or have the product they are selling. This program will not have the depth of the Baker’s Dozen and will not be “ranking” providers; rather, it will just give a rating (similar to bond ratings). Whether the rating has multiple levels is up to the committee, but initially even a single-level rating system is better than the current lack of independent verification in this industry.
Please consider attending the membership summit to be part of this important conversation and we will update as the program launches in 2019.