4 Challenges the Right Supplier Can Help Managed Staffing Programs Overcome

Jul 1, 2021

The expectations for managed staffing programs (MSP) have only increased over the last year. Organizations of all sizes across industries expected scalability and readiness from their contingent workforce, shrinking with budgets and rebounding when opportunities or sheer necessity arose. MSP partners that responded with adaptability, strategic thinking, and efficiency were able to deepen their trust with top-tier organizations. As always, high-quality suppliers were their secret weapon.

Since the elevated expectations of the last year are here to stay, it’s important that your business identifies staffing suppliers that are capable of performing at a higher level. Here are the challenges that separate the next-generation of managed staffing program suppliers from garden variety suppliers.

1.) Providing Strategic Talent

The benchmarks for quality suppliers have evolved. Organizations have gone from being more content with a steady stream of transactional placements to expecting strategic talent, whether they’re part of statement of work (SOW) projects or supplied as needed throughout the year. For your business to transcend the basic service level or delivery agreement, you need suppliers that are willing to embrace the same strategic or consultative approach as your business.

The best managed staffing suppliers are putting themselves in your shoes, observing the possibilities and challenges facing your business, and making proactive choices to help you gain an edge in the verticals and regions where you operate. They are capable of doing so because they practice that mindset when they approach all their clients.

For example, when the w3r Consulting team was working with a financial services company eager to launch their own customer portal, we delved deep into the needs, requirements, and business objectives of our customer. We made it our priority to understand just how important their contingent workers would be in responding to customer questions and concerns. Then, we built a behavioral interview process to verify those people who would excel. Moreover, we leveraged that success and the lessons we learned about their business to provide assistance through several subsequent projects.

2.) Fostering Consultant Engagement

Despite higher unemployment numbers, the first half of 2021 has been characterized by a lack of supply to satisfy the demand for talent. With public health concerns still so fresh as well as ongoing worries about child and elder care, managed staffing programs need to find ways to engage consultants throughout the entire process to make sure that they can fill everything from projects to a scaling workforce. Your suppliers are crucial to keeping candidates feeling engaged and respected throughout the process.

The ability of your supplier to create a strong candidate experience, constantly working to improve and receive feedback on their candidates as well as engaging consultants directly is instrumental to a variety of stages in the process. In our experience, ongoing work to motivate and retain quality consultants is what separates top-tier suppliers from the rest. When inevitable turnover happens, the right supplier will be able to backfill the position and keep your clients productive.

How can you tell whether a contingent workforce staffing partner lives up to your expectations? There are a few signals that can offer a glimpse into the engagement initiatives:

  • Testimonials – How are consultants talking about their experience? People tend to articulate the overwhelmingly positive or absolutely negative. When they do, you receive a glimpse behind the curtain. To monitor those sentiments, w3r uses Great Recruiters, offering our candidates a voice during the recruiting process and learning from their feedback. Plus, it’s a great way to show our own recruiters their value to our consultants, clients, and team.
  • Employee Satisfaction Measures – Not all organizations are going to measure employee satisfaction and engagement levels the same way, but some understanding of these metrics is essential. Whether it’s Net Promoter, employee engagement surveys, or some other metrics, your partner needs to have insight into how their efforts and culture contributes to an optimal work environment.

3.) Hitting Your Metrics and SLAs

Your business is already held to a high standard. Across your various clients, there are a wide range of KPIs and metrics that you must meet and exceed in every program. With greater scrutiny from client stakeholders for deliverability from their executive team, those expectations will inevitably trickle down to your business. It’s up to your suppliers to live up to the elevated standards.

From the early consideration process, the right suppliers will be transparent concerning their performance measures, showing their overarching approach to measuring results. They may even have specific measures across industry niches or exacting client programs.

What should your recruitment solutions partner be measuring? Metrics can vary between projects, but it is important that they cover these cornerstones:

  • Time-to-Fill/Time-to-Submit – For STEM positions, the average time to hire is increasingly out of control. IT positions can take as many as 45 days and healthcare positions can take 49 days. The best MSP suppliers will show their ability to keep hiring on the extreme lower end, keeping time-to-submit for all MSP submits within 24 to 48 hours, reducing your overall time-to-fill turnaround times.
  • Submittals-to-Interview – Your managed staffing program is judged on quality, so your supplier should be as engaged with the ratio of submittals that make it to the interview process. If suppliers can’t show evidence that they are performing well in this metric, you should move on to a higher performer.
  • Coverage – Can your supplier have the resources dedicated to helping you manage all of their open requisitions? Often, inexperienced or poorly managed recruitment partners struggle to handle all of the volume of openings they agree to provide coverage for. Candidate/Submission coverage from your key partners should be a minimum of 80% for all open positions.

4.) Scaling to Support the Enterprise

The expectation of an MSP staffing partner is to provide consistent, fast, and compliant candidates to a mid-to-large-scale organization on a regular basis. Whether they need a steady supply over the course of the year or the full detachment at once, you are expected to guide them through the most difficult challenges.

Achieving that success requires your business to wear a variety of hats, sometimes outside of your primary area of expertise. Depending on the complexity and size of your client, you may be asked to source and staff contingent labor in various skillsets and industries. Your suppliers can offer you tremendous leverage if they can scale to recruit for a range of skillsets.

For example, w3r Consulting is experienced at supplying talent for nursing and care management, IT, operations, financial services, customer support, engineering, HR, and more. This enables our clients to receive the same level of strategic guidance, consultant engagement, and KPI support while accessing candidates from across a variety of industries and areas of expertise.

Want to see the difference the right supplier can make for your managed staffing program? Take a look at our eBook to see how we helped elevate our clients.



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