For a moment, forget that you’ve been in the staffing industry for years and that, as a managed service provider to contingent workforce programs, you can speak the language fluently, using terminology like “IC vetting,” “staff augmentation” and “statement of work.” Forget that you understand thoroughly how to calculate bill rates and markups. Imagine instead that you are a professional who is now getting familiar with the term “contingent worker” and the MSP world or just started with your client’s company and doesn’t know the process nor policies.

Each touch you have with that engagement manager as the program’s MSP creates an impression. Most program offices work hard every day, churning through requisitions, candidates, work order changes and invoices. A large percentage of the transactions the team is diligently and quickly executing involve one of those impressions with the engaging manager. What impression are you leaving? Typically, many programs try to survey the users to see what they think. But while surveys are helpful, they take time and can create an impression in and of themselves. Here’s another way to find out.

Take a Gemba walk. Gemba is a term and approach from Lean manufacturing principles (aka Lean Six Sigma). It means to walk the process such that you can see with fresh eyes and experience firsthand the product or service every step of the way.

In context of impressions, I invite you to walk your own process and experience those impressions from the engagement manager’s (or workers’) perspective. At the end, you should have learned answers to these three questions:

  1. Does the customer — internal stakeholders, contingents and staffing suppliers — understand who we are and the value we provide?
  2. Does the customer feel good about our service?
  3. Did we make it easy for them?

For the typical program, the stops on your Gemba walk will include:

  • Confirmation of requisition submission.
  • Notice of candidates to review.
  • Weekly reminder of timesheet approval.
  • Request for approval of miscellaneous expenses or corrections.
  • Status of worker onboarding.

Review your journey end-to-end, evaluating it on criteria such as:

  1. Holistically, do the impressions support your program brand? What tone is coming through in your communications? How does it look? Is it consistent across the impressions? Do they each support the program mission?
  2. How does each impression impact overall satisfaction? How many emails, notifications, alerts and approval requests are being sent to the users? Are they each distinct and valuable? Are there new capabilities of your company email service or of the VMS that you could utilize to make the user’s experience better and easier?

Once you have completed this evaluation process, take steps to improve your customer experience. This can include:

  • Creating templates that both support brand consistency and improve customer service.
  • Clarifying what action the manager must take and/or what steps are next. Anything less will cause confusion, delay and likely a lot of unnecessary back and forth.
  • Ensuring the program team is utilizing best practice templates and verbiage and not creating the messages from scratch each time, which can create inconsistency and add waste.

As you look to refine or improve, take heart that your improvements will not only enhance customer satisfaction but can also improve program efficiency.

Final thoughts. You may be thinking this is neither the charge of the MSP nor an effort explicitly directed by your CW program owner, but I challenge you to find any program owner who wouldn’t welcome such efforts and insights to improve the engagement manager’s experience and therefore, the compliance and adoption from that population.