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Crowdstaffing featured as Rising Star and Premium Usability HR platform in 2019

Crowdstaffing has earned the prestigious 2019 Rising Star & Premium Usability Awards from FinancesOnline, a popular B2B software review platform. This recognition is given out annually to products[...]

May 13, 2019

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Elite MSP Programs Are Engineered to Evolve


Part 2 of 2 in a series (Part 1: MSPs are masters of collaboration

Progress comes with change

In every program they support, MSPs constantly renew and innovate the service. Fresh offerings are introduced, coverage expands, scopes become more complex and existing solutions are enhanced. The best programs are those engineered to evolve. Although many MSPs in the industry today are now focusing on their maturity models and transitioning from tactical to strategic states, there still exist plenty of providers who are entering the inaugural stages of a program, either because of new client awards or taking over legacy engagements from incumbents. If you really think about it, program go-live isn’t the end of implementation -- it merely signals the beginning of a new implementation. As MSPs grow and bring added value to clients, they undertake new projects. Once steady state has been achieved, it’s time to begin a new endeavor.

As we discussed in the first article of this series, MSPs continuously seek new avenues of improvement through a process of ongoing projects. Every facet of the solution touches countless stakeholders and involves many moving parts. And that’s a lot of change. Success springs from the unification of cooperation and collaboration. Yet, to prevent disruption, optimize operational efficiencies and ease all stakeholders into the transition, a formal change management practice can make a world a difference.

Communication, transparency and collaboration turn chaos into clarity

Challenges can arise during any stage of a project, whether it’s the introduction of a new service offering, deployment of a new VMS or program expansion. One of the most important lessons we have learned from the MSPs we support is to avoid unnecessary pitfalls, thereby eliminating challenges that could become roadblocks. Elite MSPs understand the importance of facilitating change across their client, supplier and contingent talent communities. They avoid working with poorly executed communications plans, and they involve key stakeholders or those who understand the business needs of the user community in every step.

Communications across all levels of the client’s team, the staffing suppliers and the contingent workforce must be carried out in a manner that prevents disruption to the daily workflow. As DCR Workforce points out, some of the most common obstacles to watch out for at the onset of a new project or implementation include:

  • Unclear roles and responsibilities
  • Hiring manager resistance to program participation
  • Delays in providing critical business data
  • Receiving incomplete data
  • Supplier resistance to program participation
  • Scheduling conflicts with the client’s other strategic initiatives

A successful transition requires a thorough understanding of potential roadblocks, having resources who can execute thoughtfully, and forging a collaborative partnership with client and supplier stakeholders to manage the project. This is where MSPs can hit a homerun by engaging these mission-critical groups.

To foster widespread program adoption, world-class MSPs ensure that communications leaders are engaged. This is crucial for preventing lags in the implementation due to communication protocols, approvals or other factors. When hiring managers, supplier partners, contingent talent and even the client’s internal staff are not personally informed of change, managing that change becomes a barrier to a successful deployment. When MSPs champion a system of collaboration, they maintain open communications and receive support from advocates who can promote the program’s adoption throughout their organizations. Learn about the 7 undeniable reasons to make hiring managers a significant part of the SLA. 

The benefits of change management at an organizational level

One of the biggest advantages change management brings is that it establishes a conceptual framework for people, processes and the enterprise. It’s a support mechanism to help everyone affected understand the change, its effects, its benefits and the reasons for embracing it.

  • When change is planned and managed, bolstered by collaboration and cooperation, its benefits are uncovered before the process even begins. This gives everyone the opportunity to explore and comprehend the change, motivating them to participate.
  • Change management helps align all the parties involved: hiring managers, supplier partners, contingent workers, internal client staff and MSP teams.
  • When change is formalized as a process, the MSP and its suppliers can respond faster to client requests. They can also better assess the overall impact of the change to anticipate and prevent obstacles.
  • Through proactive communication, cooperation and collaboration, the change can be implemented without disrupting or degrading the daily operations of the existing program.
  • Organizational efficiencies can improve because the concerns of the stakeholders have already been acknowledged and incorporated into the plan before any actions are taken.
  • The time needed to introduce the change decreases substantially. More importantly, the potential for success soars.
  • Performance increases among all stakeholders because they feel supported and understand the process about to occur.
  • Preventative maintenance is inherent in change management: MSPs and their supplier partners can easily anticipate challenges and respond to them promptly.
  • Formal planning decreases the risks associated with change.
  • From a financial perspective, change management helps contain costs upfront and increases the return on investment.
  • Change management is also a continuous improvement effort, allowing the MSP and its suppliers to develop new best practices, study lessons learned, launch leadership development initiatives, improve team performance and relationships across all groups in the program, and more.

The advantages of change management at an individual level

While hiring managers, MSP professionals and staffing partners may seem to be the parties most engaged in the project, the changes that arise will reach every individual attached to the program. Establishing a formal change management process supports a smooth transition from the familiar to the new, preserving morale, generating excitement, maintaining performance and enhancing the image of the company.

  • Change management hides nothing, and in its visibility brings support and understanding to individuals about their concerns with the change.
  • Change management lays the groundwork for effective, ongoing communications strategies.
  • A well-fashioned process promotes the ideal perception of the change to internal workers, contingent talent and even the client’s customers. In this manner, it greatly reduces any resistance to the change.
  • Including everyone in discussions of the change, as well as in the process itself, strengthens morale, cooperation, collaboration, communication, productivity and the quality of work.
  • Through a carefully planned and articulated approach to upcoming change, MSPs can mitigate stress and anxiety before the process begins, encouraging loyalty to the program and making individuals eager for the outcome.
  • Change management focuses on positive experiences. It emphasizes opportunities and progress rather than discord or unfamiliar aspects.

Creating a change management plan

An effective and systemic process of observation, analysis, reporting and execution defines a seamless change methodology.  And just as every MSP program is customized to each client, so too are the best change management plans. Here, however, are some best practices for creating a change management methodology from a leading workforce consultancy:

  • Method
    • Successful change management requires acceptance from all stakeholders.
    • People accept change better when peers provide leadership during the change.
    • As part of the change management program, MSPs should continually seek opportunities to involve relevant stakeholders and to transition ongoing activities to these professionals or teams.
    • Because change is individual as well as organizational in nature, MSPs should take great care to ensure that all stakeholders transition smoothly through the phases of change: awareness, understanding, involvement and ownership.
  • Deliverables
    • Design the sponsorship model
    • Conduct stakeholder impact analysis
    • Plan communications
    • Deliver training schedules
    • Implement change
  • Critical Success Factors
    • Organizational buy-in, leadership support from clients and supplier partners
    • Comprehensive planning
    • Consistent, clear and timely communications
    • Thorough training

A formal change management process ensures that clients, suppliers, contingent workers and all other stakeholders understand and support the change. It’s the final building block that brings cooperation and collaboration together. And this support is what makes change possible, driving innovation, competitive advantages, progress and new opportunities for growth.

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