MSP / Contingent LaborTalent Acquisition

From Cradle to Grave

Best practices to ensuring your program’s success.

By Julie Planko 
A managed services program (MSP) can be an integral way to manage a company’s contingent workforce. But there are a few best practices to follow in order to reap the rewards of that practice. Program adoption begins during the implementation phase and is a very important measure to monitor throughout the lifecycle of the program. From an implementation standpoint, it is critical for the MSP to understand an organization’s current landscape and the existing pain points for the customer. It is also vital to fully understand the processes that are in place to obtain talent management resources. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• Process. What is the typical process to obtain contingent services?
• Approval. How does a contingent labor requestor obtain
budget approval?
• Request build. Does the organization utilize job descriptions when communicating their openings to the supply base? If so, where are they retained?
• Sourcing. How does the client engage suppliers? What’s the typical resume flow and do the suppliers short list?
• Selection. How does the client interview candidates? Who determines the rate?
• Due diligence. Who administers the process and how involved is the hiring manager?
• Onboarding. What does the hiring manager do to prepare
for the contingent worker’s arrival? What responsibilities lie
with suppliers?
• Timecard/expense approval: What’s the process and frequency? How does invoicing work?
All of these discovery questions are important to drive program adoption early in the program. Fully understanding how the process works pre-MSP can positively impact the future state design, ensuring a user-friendly system and program for all user groups: hiring managers, key stakeholders, and suppliers.

Overseeing Change Management
Change leadership and executive level support are mission critical to a successful and timely deployment. As a best practice, it is important to dedicate team members to effectively manage and drive a comprehensive communication plan and strategy. Best practices related to change management that will enhance program adoption include the following:
• Identify “change champions” within the client business units—high-using managers, resource coordinators, and/or executive-level personnel—and engage them in the design and implementation phase.
• Ensure executive sponsorship has a stake in the success of the program by effectively communicating key corporate initiatives that hiring managers will need to clearly understand and embrace.
• Position the program correctly—it is not an HR or Procurement initiative but rather a corporate strategy to attract top talent most effectively and meet an organization’s growing demands.
• Establish a strong escalation plan in order know when to escalate and have a recommended solution in place when escalating so timely decisions can be made.
Train to Gain
Creating a thorough training plan for all user groups is key. By having an effective and detailed training plan for suppliers, they will become advocates for an MSP program and assist in messaging the value of the program to the hiring managers.
As the project moves from the implementation stage to operations, it is essential to provide training to hiring managers and suppliers, as well as other business units or teams that are defined as high-user groups. A cost-effective training method is via webcasts, and a standard training plan is comprised of the following milestones that have a direct impact on program adoption:
• A supplier introductory meeting announces the program and outlines supplier registration requirements and deadlines.
• Mid-implementation supplier information session further defines how the program will be designed and provides an opportunity for the supply base to interact with the program office team.
• Go-live training session(s) provides users with increased knowledge of the VMS technology, future state processes, and the value-add of program management office.
• Distribution of FAQ’s to all users, including hiring managers and suppliers, outlines the reason and benefits of the MSP program.
• Distribution of operational user guides as easy reference documents outline important processes—how to submit a candidate, onboard, offboard, etc.

Keep Suppliers Happy
Investing in the supply base throughout the implementation process strengthens the overall adoption of the MSP program. Often times, supplier representatives have the best relationships with the end-using hiring managers. If the MSP can successfully develop strong partnerships with the supplier community, the suppliers in turn can assist in sharing the value of the MSP program with the end user.

One way of developing this relationship is by conducting pre- and post-launch supplier forums. During the forum, the MSP can share the expectations of the program and convey the need for true partnership supplier relationships. Suppliers need to share with program leadership the challenges they are facing in the industry and how it affects their ability to deliver a quality product. The more the program office knows the better positioned they are to make operational changes.
The MSP should develop and implement a strategic plan associated with reporting and analytics. The more information readily available through frequent reports, the more likely users are to fully understand contingent spend, opportunity, skill set usage, program usage, and supplier activity/performance. End-user level and executive level reports allows the business owners insight into program usage. Supplier activity reports summarize the business opportunity and activity levels at the individual supplier level.
Adopt, Adopt, Adopt!
Throughout the implementation cycle, there is continued focus on establishing a desirable program that drives program adoption during the infancy of the program. Program adoption does not stop with implementation. It certainly carries through to the operational phase. Take advantage of the program management office to assist in daily operational questions and provide top-notch customer service to all user groups. Be sure to have your MSP challenge any red flags before technical, process, or systemic issues pop up.

Julie Planko is global supply base manager for Allegis Group Services.

Tags: HRO Today Forum North America, HRO Today STA, MSP & Contingent Labor, Talent Acquisition

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