Deploying a Managed Service Provider: Navigating challenges and embracing solutions

Adopting a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can be a game changer for your business; but it can come with challenges.

Implementing a Managed Service Provider

MSP programs offer a streamlined approach to the recruitment process, serving as a centralised hub for talent acquisition, process standardisation and best practice integration.
However, there are pitfalls to look out for when implementing an MSP, consider:
  • The most effective way to transfer or import data to your new program. 
  • Who will engage the MSP system and how you craft your communication strategy. 
  • The key stakeholders that need to be involved and bought into the project to ensure success. 
  • The boundaries between what’s in scope for your new managed service provider, and what lies outside it.

Navigating challenges with Managed Service Providers  

As a leader in MSP we’ve collaborated with clients across a diverse range of industries and regions. Choosing the right solutions provider is just the start of the journey. Aligning vendors, suppliers, clients and employees to a common goal can be a significant challenge. Here are key takeaways to steer clear of potential pitfalls and ensure a successful MSP implementation.   

Steering through common challenges and pitfalls in MSP implementation 

Take time to reflect 

After a detailed tender process to select the right provider, it's important to not to rush into implementation. Like any big change program, failure often stems from a lack of planning and governance, or there simply not being enough resource to help manage a complex and ever-changing process.

Transferring recruitment data into your MSP  

Whether you're dealing with an existing program or building a new one, data handling, security and transfer requires careful consideration. Existing systems offer a smoother transition with the transfer from one MSP to another requiring no change in technology, while new MSPs necessitate thorough planning and coordination with data and technology experts. If there is no system in place, those key sourcing/procurement contacts are critical to arranging supplier information and the general stakeholders of the program. 

Defining a clear communication plan  

A well-defined contingent worker procurement process will underpin the overall success of your MSP. There are many stakeholders to consider when mapping out a communication strategy, each with different needs within the program: 
  • internal communications (for the MSP team) 
  • users of the program (hiring managers) 
  • staffing suppliers 
  • the workers themselves. 
To ensure the seamless integration of contingent workers, it's essential for hiring managers to understand how to engage them – guiding them on where to direct their actions and inquiries. Simultaneously, staffing providers need to be familiar with how to access requisitions and navigate rate cards, with the MSP being the key source of these critical details. 
In some instances, clients opt for a closed-off approach that can inhibit proactive communication between staffing suppliers and hiring managers. This often gives rise to complications and implementing regular and contextually relevant communication ‘gates’ for all stakeholders will promote consistent and productive communication, mitigating any potential obstacles.

Appointing a program champion and identifying key stakeholders   

The success of contingent workforce programs hinges on effective governance and engaged stakeholders. Your team must have the authority and the determination to enforce the new program.  
Stakeholder buy-in across the organisation is essential when setting up your MSP processes. The most successful programs have sponsors who actively advocate the program's advantages for hiring managers, workers and suppliers. 
If people start to circumvent the program, it can become very difficult to manage. The optimal strategy for mitigating rogue spend and attempts to bypass the MSP is before the program's launch. We recommend the implementation of ‘stage gates’ to prevent the procurement of contingent workers outside of the program. These gates serve as a safeguard, ensuring that all workers are engaged throughout. 
To monitor the system, consider leveraging accounts payable. New vendor setups should only be permitted if they are approved through the program and payments should only be made to approved suppliers going through the program. 
You can also enforce stage gates through IT lockdowns. Most larger organisations must maintain a worker record that grants system access and physical access to the building. 
Another example of a stage gate is where only the MSP team can classify non-employers as contingent labour. This exclusive access prevents individuals from gaining physical access, IT security access and application access, even if an employer attempts to bring them on-site.  

Setting and maintaining expectations in the MSP program  

It is critical to define the elements that are in scope and out of scope for your MSP. This is especially critical when dealing with exceptions and program rules. By creating a well-defined escalation process, you can ensure clarity regarding when and how exceptions are made. 
Clearly outline what type of workers are part of the program and who is excluded, based on how the company wants to structure their MSP. 
A governance board and a robust change control process are good control factors. With these processes in place, the initial bid will require final sign off on what the project scope is on the front end. Then the change control process will be wrapped across the implementation. If, at any point, a stakeholder asks for an entirely different solution, you can go back through that formal process for a change control sign off. 

MSP solutions: What comes next 

Implementing a new MSP solution is a big undertaking for everyone involved. It's important to maintain open communication channels from the project's outset through to its launch. Following this guidance will help steer you through the implementation journey, allowing your company to discover, and engage, top talent. 

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