Over the years, I’ve written many tender submissions and know the feeling of ‘drowning’ versus ‘smooth sailing’ and the anxiety involved in the process.

The employment services sector is experiencing the agonising wait for official announcements regarding contracts for Workforce Australia Enhanced Services, Employability Skills Training (EST), Career Transition Assistance (CTA) and Self-Employment Assistance (SEA). It’s a good idea to use this period to start preparing for the result and putting scenario plans in place to deliver or (potentially) wind up a service.

During the past few weeks, I’ve been talking with CEOs about the highs and lows of tender outcomes. Winning a contract is a great reward for the hard slog of tender writing and an important recognition of your service, but the real work has only just begun. The implementation and change management will be challenging. If your submission is a success, here’s a couple of tips to get you started:

  1. Prepare for migration to a new contract. While there is little room to negotiate in the legal sense, providers should run their numbers one more time to ensure they are comfortable with the financial viability of the contract. Service Delivery Plans for Jobseekers and Employers also need to be prepared within eight weeks of gaining the license.
  2. Appoint a project manager to get ready for ‘go live’. Getting ready to launch the program is a project in its own right. Dedicate a project manager to ensure that key tasks and risks are identified, resources are assigned, and timelines are put in place. This should include key elements of your implementation such as: risk management plans, marketing strategies and channels; current and new leases for office space (in high demand right now); and recruitment and workforce development.
  3. Celebrate your success with the team. Employees working on a bid are often doing so on top of their normal jobs. But you’ve won and it’s time to celebrate. Share the news with the staff involved first and recognise each of them for their efforts. A small celebration may be appropriate. Don’t forget to maximise the positive PR by informing your entire organisation and external stakeholders. At the same time, winning can bring significant change so start considering your change management plan.

The reality is that you win some and you lose some. Losing a tender is never fun. But one CEO reminded me that even a rejected tender is still a useful experience. If you’re unsuccessful, here’s a checklist to consider:

  1. Ask for feedback. Make sure you request feedback on your submission which may help you to understand how your proposal was perceived and identify improvements for the future. Sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it’s not, but either way it’s a step forward in closing the loop and moving onto the next priority.
  2. Dig deeper. While the tender submission is the most significant element of your proposal, there are other factors which may impact the decision. What is your risk rating with government? How is your brand and performance perceived by government? Is it innovative, do you stand out? Are there any jobseeker complaints or compliance issues identified by the department that haven’t been adequately addressed? Take some time to reflect on these questions and deconstruct your proposal with your team.
  3. Thank the team. You won’t be the only one experiencing a sense of loss and rejection. Maintaining employee engagement during this time will be critical. Identify your top talent and continue to inspire their careers. The next few months will be difficult, especially if you’ve lost funding, and the reality is that this business is all about people.

While the market for employment services feels like uncharted waters right now, we’ll soon experience a turning of the tide. I hope it brings good news for your organisation, and most importantly for Australia’s job seekers who deserve the very best service.

By Paul J Diviny, Director, Prospert

Over the years, I’ve written many tender submissions and know the feeling of ‘drowning’ versus ‘smooth sailing’ and the anxiety involved in the process.

The employment services sector is experiencing the agonising wait for official announcements regarding contracts for Workforce Australia Enhanced Services, Employability Skills Training (EST), Career Transition Assistance (CTA) and Self-Employment Assistance (SEA). It’s a good idea to use this period to start preparing for the result and putting scenario plans in place to deliver or (potentially) wind up a service.

During the past few weeks, I’ve been talking with CEOs about the highs and lows of tender outcomes. Winning a contract is a great reward for the hard slog of tender writing and an important recognition of your service, but the real work has only just begun. The implementation and change management will be challenging. If your submission is a success, here’s a couple of tips to get you started:

  1. Prepare for migration to a new contract. While there is little room to negotiate in the legal sense, providers should run their numbers one more time to ensure they are comfortable with the financial viability of the contract. Service Delivery Plans for Jobseekers and Employers also need to be prepared within eight weeks of gaining the license.
  2. Appoint a project manager to get ready for ‘go live’. Getting ready to launch the program is a project in its own right. Dedicate a project manager to ensure that key tasks and risks are identified, resources are assigned, and timelines are put in place. This should include key elements of your implementation such as: risk management plans, marketing strategies and channels; current and new leases for office space (in high demand right now); and recruitment and workforce development.
  3. Celebrate your success with the team. Employees working on a bid are often doing so on top of their normal jobs. But you’ve won and it’s time to celebrate. Share the news with the staff involved first and recognise each of them for their efforts. A small celebration may be appropriate. Don’t forget to maximise the positive PR by informing your entire organisation and external stakeholders. At the same time, winning can bring significant change so start considering your change management plan.

The reality is that you win some and you lose some. Losing a tender is never fun. But one CEO reminded me that even a rejected tender is still a useful experience. If you’re unsuccessful, here’s a checklist to consider:

  1. Ask for feedback. Make sure you request feedback on your submission which may help you to understand how your proposal was perceived and identify improvements for the future. Sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it’s not, but either way it’s a step forward in closing the loop and moving onto the next priority.
  2. Dig deeper. While the tender submission is the most significant element of your proposal, there are other factors which may impact the decision. What is your risk rating with government? How is your brand and performance perceived by government? Is it innovative, do you stand out? Are there any jobseeker complaints or compliance issues identified by the department that haven’t been adequately addressed? Take some time to reflect on these questions and deconstruct your proposal with your team.
  3. Thank the team. You won’t be the only one experiencing a sense of loss and rejection. Maintaining employee engagement during this time will be critical. Identify your top talent and continue to inspire their careers. The next few months will be difficult, especially if you’ve lost funding, and the reality is that this business is all about people.

While the market for employment services feels like uncharted waters right now, we’ll soon experience a turning of the tide. I hope it brings good news for your organisation, and most importantly for Australia’s job seekers who deserve the very best service.

By Paul J Diviny, Director, Prospert