We tend to shy away from partnerships with other HR vendors due to confidentiality reasons. Have any of you had very successful partnerships with other HR vendors? I see a lot of opportunity in this area and yet when it gets right down to it I don't want potential partners to become potential competitors. How have you handled this?
Nothing good happens without communication, and communication is risky
I have built successful partnership with many HR suppliers, some that have generated muti-millions of dollars on both sides. The bottom line is that nothing good happens without communication, and yes communication is risky. Don't build a lot of "thin" partnerships, but keep your eye out for vendor professionals in a complimentary space that you connect with and that your gut tells you can trust. Do a "shake and bake" test to see if you can both benefit. If so, go deep on those partnerships, but don't ever share your secret sauce with anyone.
When I was on the HR supplier side, I was involved with many successful partnerships with other HR providers. Our company's sold to the same buyer in the HR department, but we clearly offered different (yet complimentary - which is why we partnered) products / services. As a result there were no channel conflicts or confidentiality issues.
The only confidentiality issues would be in the event of a break-up whereby both company's knew very detailed information about each others businesses. But that's where contracts come into play. And lets face it, you have the same risk when an employee leaves your firm and goes to work for a similar company.
But the reality is that few of our partnerships ever dissolved and if those types of concerns surfaced, we'd probably never go into the partnership in the first place (which is why you need to carefully select your partners much like you would a spouse). And regardless of the partner, there may be aspects of your business (secret sauce) that you never share with any partner if it is considered that critical.
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