SI Review: May 2011

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Straight Talk from the Customer

Why working as a team with your MSP can help business

When participating in MSP programs, all staffing suppliers are subject to the same processes and procedures. Occasionally, though, a staffing firm in our program will challenge the MSP model and try to work around the system. Such efforts can be frustrating for all parties -- the MSP, hiring managers, staffing suppliers and the corporate program manager. I would like to take this opportunity to offer some advice to staffing firms so they can avoid such situations to become and remain valued suppliers.

Each company's MSP program is custom-tailored to meet its unique needs. Representatives of the company and the MSP will have spent considerable time and effort creating the processes and terms in order to meet those needs. Before electing to participate in an MSP-managed program, suppliers should be fully aware of all the requirements and expectations of the program.

The contract terms typically are non-negotiable and address such issues as payment terms, vendor-funded fees, rate cards, service level agreements, etc. Fully understanding the program prior to committing to participate will aid in managing expectations down the road.

Follow the Rules

Here I discuss specific areas that require cooperation.

Understand and follow terms. Participating staffing companies need to understand and follow the MSP contract terms and rules of engagement.

Communicate with the MSP. Be sure to contact the MSP team if a hiring manager contacts you directly regarding: a new requirement for a contingent worker, feedback on a submitted candidate or scheduling an interview with a candidate. Working with the MSP team can ensure the proper process is followed.

Suppliers should be sure the MSP team remains the main point of contact for the hiring managers. This will ensure that hiring managers will have a less stressful hiring experience if there is one contact rather than several different companies and contacts to remember and communicate with.

Document. Use the VMS technology (if part of the MSP program) to document all steps and actions, such as candidates, resumes, interviews, hiring manager feedback, timesheets, expenses and on-boarding.

Even playing field. Understand that a vendor-neutral MSP program offers an even playing field, providing all staffing suppliers requisitions at the same time with the same information. Working within the MSP program environment enables all staffing firms to compete equally for new job postings.

More Opportunities

There can be many benefits to taking the time to partnering with the MSP. Such a partnership may open additional opportunities for the staffing firm with other hiring managers, departments and locations across the organization.

Furthermore, after a supplier has demonstrated high-quality performance consistently across the account, the MSP may recommend the supplier to other current clients or include the supplier in recommendations to participate in programs for new clients.

Staffing suppliers will have the opportunity to work more closely with the MSP to understand trends in the industry and to discuss specific challenges being faced by clients and other suppliers.

If you are seeking to participate in a corporation's MSP program, talk to the MSP team to understand the maturity of the program and determine if there are current opportunities. If not, check back with the MSP team periodically (no more than every 6 months) to determine if there have been any program changes that may provide an opportunity for your company.

If you are designated as a preferred staffing supplier in an MSP program, understand your performance is always under review and that the MSP team and VMS tool (if part of the program) provide detailed supplier performance data. If you wish to remain a preferred supplier, commit to always exceeding expectations!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Holly Olszewski is global contingent workforce manager, global procurement department at BMC Software Inc.

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