11 min read

Why Recruiting and Retention Matter in Government Contracting: Strategies for Success

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In today's highly competitive federal government contract landscape, success hinges on building and retaining a talented workforce. With the right recruitment and retention strategies, you can attract and retain the top performers you need to achieve your goals. 

In this blog post, we'll explore the power of recruitment and retention in bidding federal government contracts, sharing insights to help you score higher in your proposal evaluation.  

 

The Importance of Support Contractors in the Federal Government 

Federal government contractors play a vital role in supporting the mission of federal agencies and departments. GovCons provide a wide range of services, including IT support, administrative support, logistics, and security services. These services help federal agencies and departments operate efficiently and effectively, allowing them to focus on their core mission. 

Much of the work performed by GovCons today, was previously performed by government employees. By out-sourcing many jobs to GovCons, the government has also out-sourced the responsibility for recruiting, hiring, and retaining qualified staff. It is not simply an option to staff the contract as detailed in the proposal, it is a requirement to do so. 

 

The Importance of a Recruiting and Retention Plan 

Most Request for Proposals (RFP), require that you detail your staffing plan, as well as how you will recruit and retain the qualified workforce once they are determined. Often during contract transition, a GovCon must hire some percentage of the incumbent contract staff and new recruits to fully staff the contract. This may mean on-boarding hundreds of personnel within 30 days – which can be challenging for many GovCons, but especially challenging without a proven process and team to execute the recruiting plan. 

The proposal that your team submits in response to a government RFP usually becomes part of the contract that your company signs when they are awarded the contract. The contract is your legal commitment to fulfill the approach you agreed to provide, including the number of personnel and expertise presented in the staffing plan. 

 

Recruiting and Retention Challenges for Support Contractors 

Recruiting and retaining employees can be a challenge for many companies, particularly in the highly competitive government contracting industry. Support contractors must compete with other contractors for top talent, and the federal government's strict hiring requirements can make it difficult to find candidates who meet the necessary qualifications. 

Geographical areas with many government agencies and corresponding support contractors such as, National Capital Region, Huntsville, AL, Tampa, FL, Colorado Springs, CO, or Research Triangle, NC - often face high levels of turnover. The nature of government contracting ensures that contracts are awarded for a limited time, meaning that employees may only be on the contract for a few years before it ends. Additionally, support contractors may lose employees to other contractors or to insourcing by the federal government. 

 

Why the Government Cares About Your Recruiting and Retention Process?

The federal government cares about the recruiting and retention process of its support contractors for the following reasons:

 

Their Mission Success is Directly Impacted by You and Your Employees 

Firstly, the government relies on GovCons to provide critical services that are necessary for the agency's operations. If a support contractor is unable to recruit and retain top talent, it could impact the agency's ability to perform its mission. For example, if a support contractor providing IT support is unable to recruit skilled IT professionals, it could result in system downtime or cybersecurity breaches. 

 

Ethical Hiring Practices 

Secondly, the federal government has a vested interest in ensuring that its contractors are following ethical and legal hiring practices. Federal contractors are subject to various laws and regulations related to hiring, including equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination requirements. If a support contractor is not following these requirements, it could result in legal and reputational risks for the federal government.  

Government evaluators must have confidence that the contract awardee can successfully and completely adhere to the many Federal laws that dictate hiring government contractor personnel. Some of these include:  

  • Procurement Integrity Act (PIA) establishes strict rules that govern the conduct of government employees and contractors during the procurement process. 

  • Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) establishes the policies and procedures for the acquisition of goods and services by federal agencies. One of the provisions of the FAR is the requirement to provide incumbent contractors with a fair opportunity to compete for follow-on contracts.  

  • The Service Contract Act requires that government contractors pay their employees prevailing wages and fringe benefits as shown in the Wage Determination attachments with the RFP.  

  • The Davis-Bacon Act establishes similar requirements for contractors working on construction projects. 

  • Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) details the agreement reached between the employer and the labor union that will govern the employment for the employee-members of that labor union. 

Non-compliance with any of the employment regulations creates more work for the government customer, who has chosen to source those issues to a contractor.

Emphasizing your proven process to recruit and retain employees alongside your commitment to compliance with all of the applicable regulations will help your team score higher in the evaluation process.

 

How Support Contractors Can Improve Recruiting and Retention 

GovCons can take several steps to improve their recruiting and retention process and demonstrate to their federal government customers that they are committed to providing high-quality services. 

Firstly, support contractors should focus on creating a positive work environment that fosters employee engagement and well-being. This can include offering competitive salaries and benefits, providing opportunities for professional development and career growth, and creating a culture that advances career path, education, safety, and quality. 

Secondly, your Recruitment and Retention Plan should demonstrate that your company invests in the hiring process to ensure that they are attracting top talent. This can include using data-driven hiring practices, developing relationships with universities and professional associations, and leveraging social media and other digital channels to reach a wider pool of candidates. 

Finally, build long-term relationships with your employees. This can include providing ongoing training and development opportunities, offering flexible work arrangements, and creating a culture of open communication and feedback. 

 

How a Recruiting and Retention Plan Impacts Contract Award 

Recruiting and Retention is often part of the Management Plan of a proposal, which is usually NOT a pass/fail section, but is scored on an adjectival scale as defined in the Evaluation Criteria of the RFP.  

Why is this important? It means your proposal is assigned points, strengths, and weaknesses based on your approach to the RFP instructions for recruiting and retention. Here you have the ability showcase your experience and successes with recruiting, hiring practices, retention, employment awards, and commitment to employees’ work/life balance. 

Just as in the rest of your proposal, you are looking to score the highest points possible. Be sure the Recruiting and Retention response is always in accordance with the Proposal Instructions in Section L, evaluation criteria of Section M, and any references to personnel metric reporting, hiring, termination, and employee qualifications shown in the PWS/SOW or other RFP sections. 

 

Conclusion 

As a federal government contractor, your recruiting and retention process for employees is important to your customer - the federal agency or department you are working for. The federal government relies on support contractors to provide critical services that are necessary for the agency's operations, and employee turnover or recruitment difficulties can impact the quality of these services.  

By prioritizing employee well-being, investing in the hiring process, and building long-term relationships with employees, support contractors can improve their ability to recruit and retain top talent, which in turn benefits their federal government customers.  

 

 

This is the 7th blog post in the 11-part series, "Playing to Win: Strategies to Scoring Higher and Winning Federal Government Contracts". There is a companion download, which includes editable customizable PowerPoint and Word graphics based on each blog post topic. Be sure and check out the Recruiting and Retention graphic, as well as others including a new capability matrix, risk management charts, and safety plan.

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OneTeam is a complete, secure, cloud-native collaboration platform for GovCons to track, qualify, capture, propose and win more contracts with fewer resources by streamlining and automating processes. Our experienced team writes extensively about business development topics and best practices.

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