After countless iterations of self-managing your contingent labor program, you've decided to take the leap and bring on a professional. You know the right Managed Services Provider (MSP) will need to seamlessly integrate with your company, have relevant industry experience, and make financial sense − but how do you know what you really need from an MSP partner?

An MSP is an organization engaged by a company to manage all of its contingent labor processes as well as the associated vendor supply chain. MSPs manage the talent acquisition process, contribute to non-employee onboarding and offboarding, and oversee vendor compliance and performance. The MSP is, in essence, the engine behind most managed staffing programs. Understanding how your MSP program will operate is equally as important as who you'll ultimately select.


What You Need from Your MSP

When choosing your MSP, there are some basic factors to consider, and ones that are a bit more complex. To start, you'll need to understand how much contingent labor is currently costing your organization. This is unique to each company and is partially driven by the number of contingent workers and suppliers. Before engaging an MSP, you'll want to know how buying is being done for the various segments of flexible labor and what controls are in place to manage the program.

The early stages of your MSP program are typically focused on transaction successes — cost reduction, processes and procedures, or evaluating vendors. Over time, however, the focus should shift to more strategic aspects of how non-employees move into the company and how the management and engagement of these employees occurs.

When you begin to shop around for an MSP partner, you want to look at both your program and the provider holistically. Since most MSP programs are a long-term commitment, it's important to really do your homework.

To help you assess if one MSP is a better fit over another, here are 6 things you need from them.


1. One Provider; Full Range of Services

Many companies rely on several providers to manage contingent workforce programs; one for staffing, one for payroll, one for RPO, etc. Selecting one dedicated partner that not only provides MSP but can also provide a variety of additional services creates a single point of contact. By streamlining communication and enabling the provider to see into all aspects of your workforce spend, a good provider will save your organization significant time and money. Why? Because a single provider with a full range of service offers the most comprehensive solution.


2. Industry Experts

Your provider should have relevant industry experience. The best person to manage contingent labor needs is someone who has worked in your profession and understands the industry like the back of their hand. Don’t be afraid to ask potential providers for the credentials of the team that you’ll be working with − including areas of expertise in recruiting, understanding of the laws and compliance in contingent workers, etc.


3. A Custom Solution 

A credible provider understands that your particular needs and situation are unique – there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Your MSP partner should research your company, evaluate your contingent labor requirements and make recommendations for a tailored program.


4. Reporting Capabilities

To judge whether your investment is paying off, your strategic partner should benchmark productivity, study staffing patterns, report on efficiencies and recommend improvements. Understanding their reporting capabilities upfront will enable you to measure the success of the program as well as benchmark future stages.


5. History of Success

Make sure you are dealing with a well-established company with a history of success and financial stability. Ask for references from clients and consult with HRO’s Bakers Dozen for top ranked MSP providers.


6. Strategic Alliance

The ultimate goal for any potential partner should be an alliance, one in which your success and vision for the future are key parts of each day of business. An alliance is a solid partnership that is built over time and advances the goals of all involved.


An MSP can yield immediate cost savings, but the real success of any program is finding a partner that will evolve as the priorities of your program and business change over time.




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