The Double Edge Sword of SLA’s
If you are a staffing vendor of any ilk, SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) are a necessary part of the contracting process. They are designed to protect both the vendor and the client by making plain the objectives of the assignment.
The dangers however are when SLA’s stunt the creative opportunities a project might bring by not rewarding, and often punishing, the activity. Here are some ideas that Vendor’s and Client’s may want to consider when crafting SLA’s to build in opportunity to encourage creativity that could exponentially increase results.
- Define but modify. It is important to define what a deliverable may look like. This could be a candidate that is qualified against some standardized criteria, or research defined by a baseline quantity. While this is a good common sense SLA to include, you may want to consider allowing modified criteria to be delivered and counted if it indeed proves to be useful.
2) Keep the main thing the main thing. Seems simple enough, but so many projects are defined more by metrics than by results. Make sure you are not delivering to hit numbers but rather to exceed result expectations. After all, that is why the project exists in the first place.
3) Compromise but do not conform. The business landscape is ultra-competitive, so getting that next deal is always a top priority. However, signing a client with steep SLA’s that are going to be a strain on your companies ability to succeed could have much larger negatives than the benefits of additional top line revenue. Key members of your team could burn out and leave your company, your overall P&L could suffer, and more importantly your team could fail the project simply because it was doomed from the beginning. Finding quality projects is much more important than volume. It is critical that you believe in your team enough to ‘fight for the good pitches.’