A critical component of any organization’s decision when selecting a managed service provider (MSP) to manage their contingent labor spend is the provider’s ability to optimize their supply base. Managed Service Providers must therefore create collaborative environments between their clients and the suppliers supporting the program. Here’s how the workforce manager collaborates with the MSP to promote an environment of collaboration.
Create a Feedback Loop
When sending out a job fulfillment order, ensure the supplier receives a clear understanding of the need. For example, make sure the suppliers are providing timely feedback on the availability of candidates and that they’re sharing information on critical metrics such as how compensation rates align with the talent they encounter.
When addressing program operations, ask the supplier what the hiring organization can do to better support the suppliers’ ability to serve the program, especially if there are commonalities with the feedback provided. Create an action plan to incorporate supplier feedback into the program as this helps to ensure mutual success.
It is also a beneficial practice to solicit feedback through anonymous channels as well. You’re likely to hear more frank and honest assessments when people aren’t required to go on the record. Such an option would be to survey suppliers through anonymous review sites in order to gain feedback that they might not be comfortable sharing directly.
Set Clear Expectations
Establish thorough performance guidelines to ensure suppliers know what is expected of them if they’re to participate in the MSP. Be clear regarding how they will be measured on their scorecards and communicate clearly to the supplier any time those measurements should change.
Confirm how suppliers’ performance ranks in comparison to other suppliers. This benchmarking is useful to help suppliers visualize where they have room to improve and where they may be leading the competition. For example, nextSource divides suppliers into three categories and conveys to each supplier where they fall in the hierarchy of the MSP network. The simple categories nextSource uses are:
- Top Performers
- Solid contributors
- Needs improvement
By providing these simple guidelines to all suppliers, the program helps suppliers understand how best to work with the MSP team.
Further, take steps to inform suppliers on other critical actions/activities as well. For example, set expectations on the suppliers’ grasp of the mechanics of submitting candidates in a VMS system. Convey clear guidelines as to what suppliers should do when a customer reaches out to them directly or when they contact a candidate who has already been submitted for a position.
Create Opportunities to Share Mutual Successes
Sharing praise and positive results helps drive ongoing improvement. Report to the customer when a provider was able to deliver that hard-to-fill position. With a client’s permission, share program information with suppliers. Summarize the information regarding program spend, opportunities filled and program growth/expansion plans with suppliers. Inclusion in this way conveys to the supplier that they’re valued by the program. You may even consider summarizing a recent client Quarterly Business Review into 3-5 slides to share with the suppliers.
Creating mutual opportunities has a similarly engaging effect. Suppliers that are top performers in a specific category or geography will likely be a great provider for other programs. Leverage your partnership (and the suppliers’ desire to increase volume) to expand the opportunities available to them.
Lastly, collaborate on sales strategies, looking for mutual leads and/or opportunities where all participants can effectively partner to deliver solutions.