Recently, six regional health systems formed an alliance to share resources and information related to workforce challenges. While the systems will exchange information on best practices to improve diversity and employees’ well-being, the real win will be the reciprocal staffing arrangements. Dire staffing shortages, high burnout rates and elevated labor expenses have driven new ways of solving old problems. Would we have seen this approach taken ten years ago? Probably not.

As organizations re-imagine the future of work, it’s important to remember how interconnected the world is. The new bottom line is simple: Leveraging this interconnectedness improves profitability, talent pools and thought leadership. Building a strong partner ecosystem is strategic and, quite frankly, vital to the health of the agency.

Some partnerships are apparent — for example, the partnership that you have with your candidates. Keeping them engaged requires careful relationship management, ensuring the long-term success of your client partners and your job seekers. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. You might think, “We’ve checked that box — we have this partnership thing 100% covered.”

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Partnerships aren’t that one-dimensional. The ability to find and match talent is the primary business service. But what about how you find and match the talent? Doesn’t that involve your technology vendor partners? What if you win a new piece of business in a region where you don’t have ready talent pools? Having a partnership there would ensure rapid time-to-productivity. What about learning providers that host annual conferences for your recruiters? And even your text messaging provider?

Keep it simple. Just like there’s no need to sign up for every new social media platform out there, there’s no need to sign up for every potential partnership or tool. Audit what you and your team need and select the best-in-class from there. It’ll save you time and money and allow you to prioritize partnerships to your business goals.

Appoint a leader. Depending on the partnership, it is valuable to appoint a single person who is responsible for meetings and coordinating tasks. Having a single source for the partnership ensures that those who are most impacted by the partnership are in charge and you avoid the “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem.

Have goals and track your results. As anyone in staffing will tell you, not much matters if you don’t get results. Moreover, you won’t know if your results are the right ones if you don’t have goals. Opening your partnership with goals in mind will make sure that everyone is on the same path towards success.

Staffing firms cannot miss opportunities, making it a competitive business that is heavily reliant on technology. Additionally, building a staffing firm brand that reflects a commitment to being a strategic partner can be a critical differentiator. And, to fully capitalize on every opportunity, isn’t it better to have a cooperative model that fosters collaboration with other agencies? Being the respected brand that pops up in every conversation can make your firm the winning vendor — and partner — of choice, every time.

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