Like many companies, Aurora Bank determined our managed service program wasn’t working very well for us. Our managers were not pleased with the overall quality of hires and time-to-fill metrics. Our agency staffing partners (at least most of them) felt disconnected from the program. Communication was poor, therefore feedback was slow. As manager of talent acquisition, I had higher expectations, and I knew I could tweak the program and get better results for all of us.
In addition to cost savings, I wanted control, choice, manager compliance, competition, user-friendly technology, process management and vendor cooperation — all without compromising quality of hire and time-to-fill metrics. With more than $20 million in spend, I knew we could create something a bit different: a program my managers could count on and trust, something vendors would stay engaged in and produce for us, and an agends that the managed service provider could embrace and feel successful with.
There are various schools of thought with regard to the level of control and involvement MSP programs should have within a company. In my experience, here are the five most important facets of a properly implemented program:
- Make the program vendor neutral and control the vendor list. Create competition and results will follow. I valued the agency relationships I have created and want to reward those agencies with spots on our coveted “approved vendor lists.” I also want personal relationships with our agency partners should issues arise.
- Let your managers have some power. I let our managers suggest/add vendors and have input on all policy changes. I encourage them to have relationships with vendors and not just our MSP. A program that they help “own” creates participation and less renegade behaviors.
- Allow agencies to speak with managers directly. I often hear how MSPs control this. I feel that open communication with managers that want relationships provides for better potential fits with agency candidates. In addition, agencies can often get better and quicker feedback — both which help quality of hire and time to fill metrics. Also, agency recruiters will stay more engaged and not feel that they are sending resumes into a “black hole.”
- Hold agencies accountable, but allow flexibility. We create a scorecard for each vendor, holding them accountable for pre-determined metrics important to our business. We sit down with our vendors and share that feedback and their respective rankings within our program. For stellar agency partners, we might allow program flexibility by negotiating mark-up caps or other contract terms. I want cost savings, but not at the expense of not getting agencies’ best candidates. We allow flexibility throughout the program in a variety of ways.
- Pick a managed service provider that you can partner with. Whoever you choose as your MSP, make sure that they can customize a program that works best for you. They need to be innovative, cooperative, value customer service and most of all — flexible.
Creating your own managed service program is hard work, but it can be rewarding. Achieving a balanced program — one that works for your managers, your agency partners and your MSP — is a win for all.
Brett Gerber is vice president of talent acquisition at Aurora Bank FSB.