Having recently survived an MSP implementation as a buyer of staffing services, I understand wanting an on-time, clean and precise deliverable that is seamless and successful.
However, I understand that depending on what hat you wear, the definitions and motivations behind those goals will differ. Nevertheless, we all want the same thing.
Given my experience, I have some advice on how suppliers can thrive through an MSP implementation:
Be genuine. Take the time to learn about the needs of my company before the pitch. “Please add us to your vendor list” is not a pitch, nor does it reveal any unique selling factor. I appreciate a brief and genuine inquiry of the needs of my organization, process and powers that be involved for vendor approval, and the right time to follow up.
I have on occasion agreed to begin a new engagement with a supplier solely because I felt like we had a genuine conversation. Likewise, I have declined engagements due to “bad vibes.” If I take a call, it means I looked into your firm’s capabilities and there is a chance for engagement.
Timely and accurate responses. If you are in the engagement process and negotiating contracts, please keep the red-line changes to a minimum. Sometimes, redlining is necessary. Regardless of the paperwork, timely and accurate responses are appreciated. At this point I am vigorously advocating for you to be in the program. Chances are we have all played a part in contract negotiation and supplier onboarding; bringing the correct players to the table and providing timely communication speaks volumes. Any resistance or delays from the supplier are visible to the buyer, even with the MSP as the buffer.
MSP alliance. The goal of implementing an MSP is proper management of the contingent workforce. MSPs are key to providing process, compliance and cost control. For many suppliers, working in our contingent workforce program is just another day. But many programs never worked with an MSP before and are lost at every turn. I value high-accountability relationships that give room for growing pains and allow the benefit of the doubt.
Do not be afraid to ask the MSP for feedback, a better understanding of a process and details about a new job that was released. This system will also enable you to gain a better understanding of the organization and potentially provide process improvements in areas that might be causing strain between all the stakeholders. I care about my suppliers being able to succeed, which ultimately makes the MSP successful.
Rogue spend. This partnership is solely dependent on compliance with the program. So do not be enticed to break the rules, such as if managers ask you to work around the MSP. Likewise, do not reach out directly to managers to “woo” them either.
Your responsibility is to communicate back to the MSP so you do not get put on the naughty list. We all have horror stories; just one bad experience can ruin the reputation of a supplier for years.
So much work goes into sourcing, especially for passive candidates, finding THE ONE right candidate is not simple. As a recruiter, one of the first things I came away with was a sense of urgency. But the hiring managers/ companies you support have full-time jobs that include hiring people. In fact, hiring is at most 5% of their job. Giving feedback or replying to a staffing supplier is undeniably low in their scheme of things. However, we hold our hiring managers to internal service-level agreements that encourages them to give feedback to help the success of the MSP. At your end, stay close to the MSP, utilize them as your virtual hands in the mix, keep them up to date with any information you might receive. This will help you remain a preferred vendor.
Providing quality candidates with clean and consistent documentation is the peanut butter to the MSP jelly. I just want the PB&J sandwich.