The world of work continues to evolve – quicker than it ever has before – and competitive organizations are increasingly investing in the power of a contingent workforce to become more agile in these disruptive times. As employers everywhere are using more forms of contingent workers, it’s likely that your organization is also getting on board with the same transformation.
According to McKinsey, up to 30 per cent of an organization’s workforce in the U.S. is made up of contingent workers, with employers having unprecedented access to a talent pool of 42 million of them. And while the rise of flexible talent provides many benefits, it also leaves employers grappling with the hurdles of managing the many complexities that come with these types of workers.
For answers, organizations committed to a more strategic approach to contingent talent management are turning to a Managed Services Program or Managed Services Provider (MSP) as an effective resource.
If you’re considering investing in a Managed Services Program or are interested in learning how an MSP can help optimize contingent workers to drive real business value across your organization, the following insights will help you make an informed decision.
What is an MSP?
A Managed Services Program, also often referred to as a Managed Services Provider, is the outsourcing of the management of an organization’s contingent workforce by an external resource under a single model of governance.
Today, Managed Services is one of the fastest growing outsourced talent acquisition solutions, with Everest Research Group reporting that the global MSP market surged 10.1 per cent between 2015-2016, with experts predicting the solution to outpace global economic growth.
Why do organizations partner with an MSP?
As tech and globalization continues to drive business strategies, it’s critical for employers to become more agile, and a contingent workforce is the widely-adopted answer to bridging skills gaps and driving both growth and innovation.
At its most basic delivery level, an MSP will help an organization easily streamline and manage its entire contingent workforce program by improving efficiency, controlling costs and mitigating unforgiving fines, penalties and reputational damages associated with compliance risks.
While early MSP models maintained a focus on process improvements and cost savings, more mature MSPs, however, are now seeking ways to increase access and delivery of high caliber talent while reducing time to hire. To do so through the use of technology stacks, MSPs are leveraging direct sourcing solutions for greater access to talent pools and niche skills, sourcing alternative acquisition resources like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other initiatives that increase savings while ensuring quality talent engagement and retention.
Different types of MSP models
Typically, MSP programs fall into one of these models:
Vendor neutral: All MSP vendors have equal opportunity to fill a position within a specific time.
Master vendor: A Preferred or Master vendor is given preference to fill a position first but must release the role to other vendors if they fail to find talent within a specific time.
Hybrid: This type of model will include elements of the first two programs.
MSP drivers, MSP focus and benefits
For most organizations partnering with a Managed Services Provider, there are seven key drivers that are aligned with specific operational challenges. These drivers include:
1. Operational challenge: Minimizing risk of non-compliance
MSP focus: On/Offboarding with contingent workforce audits and rate compliance visibility.
Benefit: Improved compliance, including rate compliance and worker on/offboarding compliance; better worker classification audits to minimize co-employment risks.
2. Operational challenge: Controlling rogue costs related to spend
MSP focus: Cost control.
Benefit: Greater visibility into costs using vendor performance metrics to ensure effective negotiations and development of sourcing strategies.
3. Operational challenge: Drive for improved performance and cost efficiencies
MSP focus: Closer supplier management with access to benchmark rates.
Benefit: Increased contingent workforce quality and performance with reduced time-to-hire. This is a result of supplier base optimization and requisition optimization through hiring manager feedback on services and formal Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
4. Operational challenge: Sourcing hard to find talent
MSP focus: Developing new sourcing models.
Benefit: Support in implementing technology in conjunction with delivering process change.
5. Operational challenge: Speed of change and large ramp up of worker volumes
MSP focus: Agility to support peaks and troughs of contingent worker needs.
Benefit: Outsourcing the MSP program can be a more effective way to manage business cycles.
6. Operational challenge: An increase in complex operations
MSP focus: Souring optimization to support diverse needs.
Benefit: Scaling your contingent workforce program to new markets where internal knowledge may be limited.
7. Operational challenge: Managing VMS technology and integrations
MSP focus: Service and technology support.
Benefit: Significant operational changes can require a new solution as it remodels its blended workforce. An MSP will support these tech changes across the entire contingent workforce delivery.
Beyond these key drivers, competitive organizations are also turning to an MSP in order to build on their employer brand and leverage the use of predictive analytics to ensure a better contingent workforce program with access to niche skills.
Is an MSP right for me?
An MSP will require organizations to have a minimum amount of contingent worker spend in order for the program to be successful and self-sufficient.
When deciding whether or not an MSP is the right solution for your organization’s needs, there are first some basic and more complex factors to consider. First, it’s critical to understand how much contingent workers are currently costing your organization. It’s a unique number to individual employers, yet can be difficult to account for, as nearly 60 per cent of contingent worker costs is unaccounted for in the average organization. You’ll also want to know how current buying is being done for the various elements of your contingent workforce and what controls are in place to manage the current program.
Additional questions on your checklist should include:
- Has my contingent workforce program outgrown my current management strategy and are my needs become more complex?
- Am I securing contingent workers in the time frame I need to?
- Do I have clear visibility into contingent worker spend?
- Have recent policy changes made me concerned about compliance?
- Am I engaging more contingent workers now than I have in the past, and do I plan on securing more in the future?
The role of a trusted MSP partner
A trusted partner should be committed to advising on the best solutions available to meet an organization’s business goals and to delivering innovative services that transform how they acquire and manage talent. This is done by listening to an organization’s specific needs and tailoring a solution that delivers both short and long-term value across an entire contingent workforce program.
Your MSP partner will also help manage and mitigate risks associated with operating a contingent workforce. If you're interested in engaging contingent talent, or want deeper insights into how to manage the risks posed by your current program, download our free whitepaper: A Checklist for Contingent Worker Risk: