Agency Evaluation Issues
These days it is unusual if the Agency does not participate in the evaluation program. Benefits of their participation include:-
- Uncovering gaps in perception. A common problem in unraveling relationships is that the agency is unaware of a problem because they think they are performing well in a particular area. Equally, we often encounter situations where the agency feels it is underperforming while the client is actually quite happy with the level of performance! Either way the agency needs to know about these situations and a Gap Report is an extraordinarily graphic and effective way to communicate this.
- Ensuring that the agency is fully engaged in the process. The very discipline of having to prepare a self-assessment should be a process of self-discovery for the agency. Being reminded about the priorities in the relationship – and reflecting upon your performance in a disciplined manner – can only be helpful for the Agency.
- Demonstrating fairness. By giving the agency its opportunity to provide input, the client demonstrates even handedness.
Help the Agency Participate
Best practice relationship evaluation programs facilitate agency participation as follows:-
- Initially, the Agency (or agencies) is often asked to contribute or comment on the questionnaire or scorecard. (While agency input is welcome, at the end of the day the client has the right of veto, not least because the agency line-up can change and the same questionnaire or scorecard may be used across several different agencies).
Prior to the implementation of each review the Agency needs to be alerted in a similar manner to Client participants – timing, goals, process, etc.
Agency feedback is collected “bottom up” at the level of local accounts as per the Client set-up.
Agencies should be offered the choice of how they contribute, either individually or collectively as a team. (In our experience, most agencies prefer to collect input collectively as a team whereas most Clients prefer to collect input via individual inputs which are later aggregated to form a team position.)
Agencies should receive some kind of feedback at the end of the process. Optimally this should take the form of an Action Plan meeting.