Federal procurement staffing refers to when you need to staff positions for a federal contract. These positions don't necessarily work for the federal government, but rather for you in your role as a federal contractor.
Filling positions required for federal contracts is a major challenge, with the government signing more than 11 million contracts every year. It's also tough to win a contract, with just a 44% average win rate. Entering into the bidding process with a solid procurement staffing strategy, however, can help you win more contracts—and get up to speed quickly when you do win a bid.
How Can You Win Federal Contracts?
How can you beat the odds against winning any given federal contract? It helps to know about new contracts early, fully understand what the contract entails, and have access to staff to fulfill the contract needs.
To win more federal contracts, you need to:
- Ensure you meet the requirements laid out in the RFP
- Perform in-depth market research regarding the contract
- Prepare a detailed proposal and competitive bid
- Outline all the roles necessary to fulfill the contract—and demonstrate an ability to quickly fill those positions
- Be available to answer any questions from the contracting agency
Of all these activities, being able to demonstrate that you can staff to fulfil a contract is one of the most important. How experienced are you with federal procurement staffing?
How Does Federal Procurement Staffing Work?
Federal procurement staffing is temporary staffing by contractors to fulfill the obligations of a federal contract. These contract employees do not become federal employees and are typically not full-time employees of the contractor. Instead, they're temporary employees of the contractor for the length of the contract only.
The nature of contract employment presents a number of pain points for the contractor. These include:
- Quality candidates might want a more stable full-time position, not temp work that ends when the contract ends—which means you're competing against traditional industry employers
- Even though they're not directly employed by the government, employees still need to meet all government regulations and requirements
- Otherwise-qualified candidates may be disqualified due to security reasons, or hiring may be held up while waiting for security clearances
- As an employer, you also have to adhere to all government employee regulations, including diversity obligations
- If you included unnaturally low salaries in your bid in order to keep costs down and come in with a lower bid, you may find it difficult to find employees at the low salaries you specified
Fortunately, working with a temporary staffing agency that specializes in hiring for federal contract projects can alleviate some or all of these pain points. The best staffing agencies are experienced with all the ins and outs of government contract work and know where and how to find the best recruits.
5 Staffing Tips to Help You Win More Federal Contracts
Staffing well in preparation of bidding on a federal contract can help you win more contracts. Here are five effective staffing tips to consider.
1. Clarify and Define Contract Roles
Federal agencies scrutinize each contract bid in fine detail. They particularly examine each bidder's understanding of and ability to staff key positions.
The first part of this is key. The contractor must clearly define what roles are needed to fulfill a contract. That entails understanding how each role fits with the scope of the contract and then describing in detail what the job involves and the job's qualifications.
The more details you can provide, the better; the government will realize that you fully understand what's involved in each role. Glossing over the details and writing too general a job description might indicate, to the government, that you don't fully understand what's required—and thus aren't qualified to win the bid.
The government also must have confidence that you can adequately fill the positions specified in the contract. There are three ways you can convince the government that you can staff key positions:
- You already have people on staff designated for key roles
- You've shown your ability to staff similar positions for previous contracts
- You indicate that you're using an experienced federal staffing agency to help fill the positions
That's right, using a temporary staffing services agency can not only help you find the right team for the contract, but also convince the government that you're the right contractor for the job.
2. Calculate Your Workforce Costs
It's also important to know how much you'll be spending on the workforce to staff a contract. This helps you determine your actual bid while maximizing your margins.
If you don't have adequate expertise in recruitment and staffing, calculating your workforce costs may be challenging.
Even if you clearly specify what roles you need you may not have a good grasp on what it will cost to staff those positions, especially in competitive industries like IT and healthcare.
If you underestimate your staffing costs you could end up slashing your margins or even losing money on the contract. If you overestimate the costs you could overpay for labor or, even worse, submit a bid that is noncompetitive.
It's important, then, to have a good grasp on what you'll be spending on a given contract's workforce. That requires a full understanding of the given market, current staffing trends, current salaries, and other relevant factors.
If you don't have the appropriate staffing expertise, you need to partner with a company that does. That's where a staffing agency with experience in federal contracting comes in. They'll better know the current trends and salaries and have the contacts necessary to quickly and efficiently fill your open positions.
What might be perplexing and time-consuming for you is all in a days' work for experienced federal staffing contractors. Just make sure you choose an agency with experience in the particular industry involved in the contract.
3. Do Your Research
When it comes to winning federal contracts, ignorance is not bliss. The more you know about a given contract and what's expected of you, the better the bid you can prepare. That includes educating yourself on the positions necessary to fulfill the contract, and requires you do to do the appropriate amount of research up front.
This is particularly true if the contract involves an industry or activities in which you're not fully familiar. You might not know all the roles you need to fill or the details about each role. Without this knowledge you can't start hiring and you can't even submit an informed bid. Bidding blind, especially when that blindness applies to job positions and staff, can cause you to either lose the bid or win the bid with unrealistic staffing and salary expectations.
There are two solutions to this issue. One is to spend the time and money to research the positions yourself, which may or may not be totally successful. If you don't know what you don't know, it's easy to overlook key details.
The second solution is to hire a temporary staffing agency that can do the research for you—or that already knows what you need to know. There's no point in reinventing the wheel if a staffing agency can bring you up to speed quickly about the positions you need to fill.
4. Cast a Wide Staffing Net
When it comes to staffing contracted positions, don't limit yourself to the same old recruitment sites and activities. You want to cast a wider net than that to reach a larger pool of qualified candidates.
Where can you recruit talent for your contract project? Here are some of the sources to consider:
- Traditional job boards such as Monster and LinkedIn
- Job boards targeting candidates with government security clearance
- Social media
- Recruiting firms that specialize in hiring for federal contracts
The talent pool you assemble, by the way, needs to be diverse. If all you're getting are straight white males from a handful of similar schools, you may run afoul of government diversity guidelines. You want your efforts to attract candidates of all genders, races, religions, and backgrounds—and then choose the best candidates from that diverse pool.
5. Consider a Federal Staffing Agency
As you can see, all of these tips for staffing for federal contracts can involve using a temporary staffing agency that specializes in hiring for federal contractors.
A federal staffing agency, such as Quadrant, is familiar with all applicable government requirements and has a built-in pool of qualified talent to choose from. (Quadrant's database includes more than 1 million candidates for IT, healthcare, and corporate-level candidates alone.)
Instead of trying to go it alone, working with a federal procurement staffing agency can ease your burden, help you make more successful bids, and ensure that you find the right candidates for the contracts you land.
Let Quadrant Help You Tackle Federal Procurement Staffing with Confidence
When you need help preparing or staffing for a federal government contract, turn to the federal procurement staffing experts at Quadrant. Our experienced professionals can help you:
- Clearly define contract roles
- Accurately calculate workforce costs
- Provide necessary job and regulatory research
- Provide a ready-made pool of qualified job candidates
Our Federal division offers a variety of innovative long- and short-term staffing solutions for government contractors, especially in the technology and healthcare sectors.
Consider Quadrant when you're preparing your next government bid—or need to staff for a successful bid. We'll help you build the contract workforce you need.
Contact Quadrant today for your Federal procurement staffing needs.