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Managed Service Provider - Best Practices

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You stand to gain many advantages when your organization hires a managed service provider (MSP) to handle your contingent workforce needs. Entrusting an MSP to identify and manage a stable of temporary staffing vendors, ensure fulfillment of worker orders, assure compliance with tax and labor regulations, and provide other services can deliver peace of mind and allow the company to focus resources on creating value and developing market share. But outsourcing the external workforce management function does not mean you can sit back and forget about how you engage contractors and freelancers. On the contrary, working with an MSP still requires in-house oversight, strategic direction and constant drive to improve workflow. Only by establishing a true partnership with your MSP can you realize the cost savings and efficiency gains outsourcing the contingent workforce function promises.

Establish Workflow and Governance

While your MSP will bring professionalism and experience to the process, the people within your organization and the workflows you have developed should contribute to how the MSP designs and tailors its products to best serve your particular needs. You have to work closely with your MSP partner to devise and execute talent strategy, ensure scalability, and future-proof your labor acquisition needs. Assigning a team of HR, Procurement, Finance, and other internal experts to liaise with your MSP will help focus workforce tactics on overall business objectives.

Outsourcing non-traditional worker procurement and utilization activities requires strict change management control to ensure implementation that does not disrupt your firm’s productivity. Bringing your new talent management program online quickly requires a solid plan that includes buy-in from a variety of stakeholders.

Work with your MSP to ensure all stakeholders have a voice in determining the program’s objectives. Each should be satisfied that their department’s needs are considered, their responsibilities delineated, and their productivity aligned with the company’s mission. Assuaging hiring managers’ doubts is key. They may be suspicious of an outside organization’s ability to accommodate their labor needs. As a result, hiring managers are liable to “go rogue,” circumventing the MSP to hire off-contract. To prevent this costly and unregulated spending, take pains to ensure hiring managers understand the process and are comfortable that talent needs will never fall through the cracks. Show them that if they stick with the program, their talent gaps will be filled more quickly, at less cost, and with more thought than otherwise possible.

Determine Scope

Including your MSP in an evaluation of stakeholder needs and existing workflow and infrastructure will help determine the form and direction your workforce scheme should take. The MSP professionals who will run your program will want to understand your firm’s culture, unwritten rules, and established processes in order to orchestrate systems that complement, rather than conflict with, your established operations. The best MSPs will gather as much information as possible to design a regimen that shores up any perceived weaknesses and allows new processes to work with existing systems. This will avoid duplication of effort and allow insights to be shared so each department works efficiently and the company accomplishes its purpose and fulfills its customer promise.

The scope and design of the service package your MSP recommends will be a function of your company’s current state of workforce utilization and its desired level of holistic talent management as you progress through the maturity curve. To optimize this journey, your full-time staff and MSP liaison team will need to provide as much detail as possible.

Whether you and your MSP decide on to conduct a formal scope assessment or to simply arrive at a consensus service level is less important than coming up with a plan that governs how each worker type is brought on board and for tasks within your organization each is best suited. Knowing exactly what you can expect from your MSP during each stage of the contingent workforce utilization experience will instill confidence and giver early indications of when you will need to make exigency plans to cover any out-of-scope talent need. Too many similar exceptions may point to the need to expand the scope of services the MSP delivers. Makes sure your initial scope of work addresses these points:

  • What hardware and software will be used, and who is responsible for any changes or upgrades required on-site?
  • What will the onboarding and offboarding processes look like?
  • How will the MSP facilitate communication with vendors?
  • What safeguards does the MSP employ to ensure data security?
  • How will conflicts and exceptions be resolved?

Communicate Operational Data

With the scope of service established, your MSP can begin planning how best to serve as your advisor, suggesting services that match your capabilities and go-to-market strategies. You are paying for the MSP’s expertise and its supplier relationship management abilities. This knowledge and experience can be applied best when the MSP gains full insights into your way of doing business. With this understanding, you and your MSP can install systems that create fully integrated, system-wide solutions.

For the partnership to work, you will need to be open about how you want to solve your workforce issues. Sharing first-party contingent worker data will help your MSP make information-based, real-world decisions. Much of this data may be proprietary, so working with a partner you trust implicitly is critical. Give the MSP information including your vacancies, current levels and percentages of full-time, part-time, freelance, temp, and other worker classes, time-to-fill, and other metrics. Armed with this information, the MSP will be able to not only quickly solve immediate staffing shortages, but also derive a process for predicting future needs and analyzing the causes of delays or other service gaps.

A full view of how and why your workforce management plan has evolved allows your MSP to automate some processes and allow others to continue to operate as-is, freeing resources for tasks that add value. For instance, if your organization has built open relationships with labor suppliers, the MSP will not have to act as a gatekeeper, shielding your team from vendors seeking to access competitive information. Hiring managers can discuss open positions, helping vendors to source better candidates, streamline billing, and facilitating fulfillment. When this happens, everyone gains and profits increase.

The Metasys Advantage

Metasys has the experience and the processes to build strategic partnerships with organizations of any size and contingent workforce objective. Our services complement and reinforce your in-house team’s and system’s capabilities to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of your talent acquisition and vendor relations operations. Responsive and dependable, Metasys takes the hassle and worry out of compliance and fulfillment tasks, allowing you to concentrate on your core functions. We invite you to contact Metasys to discuss how we can help you transform your non-traditional talent management process into a source of strategic advantage.


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