There may not be any single client that is more inviting to staffing firms than the local, state, or federal government. A staffing relationship with government agencies can mean a steady stream of ongoing business from a client with infinitely deep pockets. The government is always changing and as a result, it offers a constant flow of new opportunities to firms that have established themselves as reliable staffing resources.
Establishing an Identity
Perhaps the most important step in securing a successful business relationship with the government is making the company known to the people that make the hiring decisions. If a staffing firm is able successfully service even a single government contract, a great window of opportunity has been opened. In a government environment, there are often many layers of requirements to any hiring decision that are completely irrelevant to the process of selecting the best vendor. In short, it is often not the most appropriate firm that gets a contract, but it’s the firm that is best known to the people that are involved in the decision-making process. So, if a staffing firm has established itself as being capable of providing reliable IT staffing support, it is not unlikely that that firm would be given the opportunity to service a Financial staffing contract, simply because the hiring manager is familiar with them. The reality is that the government is often more concerned with processing any hiring decision than they are with making an informed hiring decision. Being aware of this fact and working hard to establish a familiarity with any government contacts can yield huge rewards.
Although there are often mandatory application processes and bidding procedures to navigate before a firm can be qualified as a government vendor, the effort is almost certainly worth it if your firm has the flexibility to manage the complexities of the relationship. That flexibility, however, is an important consideration and should be weighed thoroughly before pursuing work with the government. The need for flexibility is important because the government is probably the most inflexible organization in existence. Often, the legislative and bureaucratic requirements are so intense that the sales cycle can be extraordinarily long and may ultimately be a dead end if a government project is scrapped for any reason. A staffing firm must be in a position to devote a large amount of sales and account management resources to dealing with the government, when short-term returns are not always realistic. In many instances, government pay cycles for contract are legislated to be 90 days or longer. Carrying payroll for that duration may not always be feasible for a staffing firm.
The ultimate goal in a government staffing relationship is to become the first option of the individuals that process staffing decisions. The government is a demanding client and one that will test the resources and resolve of any staffing firm, but for the firms that can make the relationship work, the opportunities are endless.