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March 31, 2020

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MSPs Drive Continuous Improvement for Continued Client Success

Despite stabilization, gains and encouraging employment figures, we continue to live in the shadow of economic recovery. There persists some level of stagnation, and many companies struggle to capture the explosive growth that defined the late 1990s. This has placed tremendous pressure on managers to innovate, create and consistently deliver value -- all while sourcing high-caliber talent who can transform those goals into realities. With their time consumed by strategic decision making, they need help defining future state business models and driving continuous improvement. That’s why bringing in an MSP is imperative to growth.

Continuous Improvement Ensures Growth

It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of priorities and fluctuations in the market. Everything today moves at the speed of technology, which is exponential. Unfortunately, as managers try to juggle their responsibilities and keep pace with changes, they end up moving at the speed of yesterday. The popularity and increasing use of the contingent workforce is helping hiring managers stay on top of projects, contain costs and develop elastic solutions to complex challenges. However, that can sometimes lead to short-term thinking.

Although contingent talent and SOW contractors excel at tackling immediate needs and pressing tasks, a company’s far-reaching objectives don’t end in six months or a year. Bringing an MSP aboard accomplishes more than fast access to better workers, overhead reductions, risk mitigation and overall operational efficiencies. MSPs specialize in continuous improvement initiatives. We sometimes forget that much of the power behind the model is its ability to fuel the ongoing evolution of the program.

When implemented properly, an MSP engagement is a strategic partnership. Its strengths extend beyond the daily responsibilities of managing staffing vendors and their talent. MSPs bring an unparalleled level of expertise in human resources, project management, compliance and business development. That last point, though frequently overlooked, is significant.

MSPs Embody Continuous Improvement

When we talk about continuous improvement, we’re not just referencing the obvious. Certainly, MSPs have pioneered more effective means for deliver amazing candidates, sourcing staffing agencies, establishing competitive rates, and enforcing practices that ensure compliance with corporate policies and labor regulations. They also act as consultative business partners for a company’s wider mission.

As DCR Workforce asserts, “The MSP should continually be presenting greater insight into the effectiveness of your program, and suggesting avenues to better candidates while increasing return on investment. The right partnership will yield tremendous benefits.”

Even if clients don’t realize it, the process begins early in the relationship. Before program implementation, MSPs conduct discovery and Voice of the Customer sessions. These meetings involve a series of structured discussions that focus on the client’s experiences, needs and desires. MSPs glean much more than just current workforce data.

  • They come away with a highly detailed understanding of the client’s program needs and business goals.
  • They construct a common “language” for the team going forward.
  • They develop key inputs for setting the appropriate design specifications for the effort.
  • They create a useful springboard for solution architecture and technology innovation.
  • They design sustainability, growth and ongoing refinements to the program.
  • They use the data collected to forecast requirements for the mission and build a thriving future-state solution that facilitates the client’s business evolution.

The Basics of Continuous Improvement

Every MSP has its own unique set of processes, yet each generally adheres to a basic framework that includes these core elements.

Quality Management. Nothing is more important in an outsourced workforce program than quality. At the end of the day, exceptional talent and staffing partners trump cost reductions and streamlined operations. Through a variety of methodologies, MSPs develop a formalized needs assessment analysis that incorporates the perceptions and input of every client stakeholder engaged in the program. This ensures absolute alignment between hiring managers, staffing suppliers and MSP program teams. The result is the placement of the most skilled and best matched talent.

A multi-faceted Quality Assurance Program addresses contractual commitments, establishes a baseline from which to measure supplier and service performance, and motivates ongoing improvements in all MSP solutions. The approach encompasses regional demographics, workforce dynamics and cultural considerations for the client’s business environments across the enterprise. A fundamental process structure usually includes:

  • Identifying and engaging key client stakeholders, as well as staffing partners
  • Determining processes, policies and procedures
  • Creating Standard Operating Procedures, which are continually updated and include best practices learned from the MSP’s experiences with other accounts and industries
  • Performing ongoing audits and performance monitoring
  • Conducting recurring business reviews and strategy sessions
  • Identifying opportunities for refinements or innovation, and then formalizing those details in an executable continuous improvement plan

Engagement. Program success remains consistent when every participant is motivated and committed to the mission. MSP program managers are instrumental to engagement. As customer experience specialists, they are dedicated to satisfaction and excellence. Throughout the program, MSP teams measure engagement levels of hiring managers, staffing partners and contingent talent. This is accomplished through regular surveys, interactions and formal communications.

Performance. During implementation, MSP program teams work closely with clients to determine key performance indicators (KPIs) and service level agreements (SLAs). These metrics are used to gauge the performance of staffing partners, contingent workers and the MSP team itself. If goals aren’t met, well-crafted SLAs spell out the remedies and allow the MSP to take action before real problems develop. The historical data collected also enables MSPs to hone the solution to accommodate future demands.

Supplier Audits. Elite MSPs do more than just review staffing partners for compliance with established SLAs. They provide their suppliers with a forum to discuss performance expectations, innovations, procedural issues and input for future program enhancements. This kind of communication event helps MSPs convey clear messages about changes in business and procurement strategies, giving incumbent and prospective suppliers the opportunity to align with the optimal future state direction.

How Continuous Improvement Benefits Clients

After all the planning, evaluation and testing, a strong continuous improvement program delivers a wealth of benefits to clients. Here are just a few.

  • An initial assessment of the client’s current operational effectiveness. When MSPs first come in, they quickly discover that many organizations don’t have a solid command of their workforce figures. MSPs gather and analyze all data to create a baseline that compares the client’s existing approach to market standards such as fill rates, time to fill, prevailing rates and markups, labor laws, tax rules, employment classification and supplier performance.
  • MSPs offer expert recommendations for eliminating redundancies, decentralized processes and preventing work practices that undermine the potential of the program long term.
  • MSPs provide clients with a program design that presents specific, measurable improvements and time frames for accomplishing them.
  • MSPs enforce standardized contract agreements across the supplier base, ensuring consistency and universal compliance with terms, conditions, SLAs, rates and responsibilities (e.g., sourcing, screening, onboarding, off-boarding, managing talent and more).
  • They deliver solid plans for filling all positions rapidly and with the best talent available. Strategies include techniques for requisition distribution, monitoring responses, intervening when submissions drop in volume or quality, and forecasting future hiring demands to build a pool of talent before needs arise.
  • MSPs and their staffing partners help hiring managers perfect their job postings and descriptions through expert guidance. These enhancements ensure that the right candidates are attracted to the positions.
  • MSPs promote ongoing and direct feedback between clients and staffing partners for complete visibility into performance and improvement opportunities.
  • Through their VMS systems, MSPs enhance the future outcome of the model with people analytics, business intelligence and workforce insights. This enriches decision-making processes. When clients have a comprehensive roadmap of their talent pool and staffing capabilities, they become empowered to expand their businesses without the uncertainty of disruptions or setbacks.

Continued Success Springs from Continuous Improvement

“It takes a village,” they say. With MSPs and their staffing partners, clients receive an entire town. MSPs handle all the responsibilities of managing suppliers and contingent workers -- they oversee reporting, metrics tracking, supplier selection, requisition distribution, billing, the transformation of fixed costs to variable costs, and more. The benefits of an MSP program are virtually undeniable today, yet many clients still focus on these engagements as solutions for projects or easing the burden of overseeing a complementary talent team.

The reality is that MSPs have the wisdom and data to help clients grow their whole enterprise. Competition today is fierce. The victors will be those organizations that are always innovating, delivering and improving. The continuous improvement strategies of MSPs can help clients secure their continued success.

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