We use cookies to make this website work better for you. If you continue you consent to this but you may opt out if you like by following this link.


Vendor engagement in outsourcing

Creating good engagement between client stakeholders and the prospective suppliers of the services being outsourced is something I advocate strongly, as you will have noted from the first three articles (securing business engagement, defining your procurement business case, agreeing the scope) in this HR Services Procurement Best Practice series. But how do you engage to ensure you get the best response?

Simply put there are two distinct groups when it comes to vendor engagement, those that do and those that won’t or can’t. I recognise certain groups are restricted by guidelines that govern their procurement practices. Where this doesn’t apply I encourage organisations to demonstrate from the outset how they will work with the vendor in a framework that is transparent, demanding and collaborative because this reflects the type of organisation that most vendors would relish the opportunity to work with, and ultimately impacts the kind of solution they can offer.

The dangers of not engaging enoughI’ve seen numerous examples of inviting vendors to bid for programmes of work, but not providing a medium for them to engage fully in advance of the procurement process starting, or even during the process resulting in inadequate proposals or vendors removing themselves from the process.

I don’t think this is the way most organisations would want to operate once the services are up and live, and wastes a crucial opportunity to engage fully with prospective suppliers, impart a more detailed understanding of needs and wants, establish whether both parties are a good cultural fit for one another and ultimately receive a proposal that is a better fit with a price that is accurate and sustainable.

How businesses are engaging vendorsAround the world I am seeing more organisations adopting non-traditional procurement practices recently where iterative design principles are being used alongside extensive engagement to procure more suitable and tailored solutions from the market. Based on the concept that even the best laid plans go awry, this concept is ideal for the unpredictable world of resourcing. This means working with a provider on a cyclical process of 'protoyping', testing, analysing and refining, mean it's easier and less costly to make changes.

I applaud these approaches and would actively encourage more organisations to abandon the traditional RPI, RFP, BAFO process in favour of a more engaging, iterative design process.

To support this our teams run workshops around the world based on these approaches, with a range of first time or experienced buyers, to discuss what this could look like in reality. If you’d like to attend one of these then contact me directly and we will get you booked into the next available one. 

Jon Mannall

Jon Mannall
Global Head of Sales, Solutions and Innovation, Hays Talent Solutions
Jonathan is the Global Head of Sales, Solution and Innovation for Hays Talent Solutions, having joined Hays in 2011. Previous roles held at Hays included Client Director, Service Delivery Director and Head of Sales for the UK. He is now responsible for leading the approach to engaging and securing new clients and to ensuring that the products and services offered by Hays Talent Solutions continue to meet the changing needs of our global, regional and local customers. For more information about Hays Talent Solutions, visit our website

Prior to joining Hays, and after completing his Masters in Philosophy and Management, Jon worked in the RPO and MSP sector for 10 years with a range of Financial Services, Public Sector, IT & Telecommunications, and Insurance clients in Sales and Operations Director roles.

Reports and insight

Looking for more inspiration?

See a selection of our most recent reports, whitepapers and surveys. 

What we do

Ideas in action

Read our case studies to see how our expertise has helped others like you.

Get in touch

Have a question?

Interested to learn more about what you've read?