Takeaways from Recent VMSA Conference Highlight Attaining MSP Excellence


The pros at nextSource take seriously the commitment to staying ahead of trends, innovations and advancements in the field of workforce management. For this reason, we routinely send key personnel to attend the top industry conferences and continuing education events relevant to all areas of contingent workforce and overall human capital management. Most recently, nextSource sent a delegation to the VMSA Live event in Miami. Here’s a synopsis of the key takeaways from this always-informative event.

For those uninitiated, VMSA Live is a one-day annual conference that brings together the full spectrum of the contingent workforce supply chain: from the enterprise buyers to the suppliers of contingent labor, and everyone in between including: managed service providers (MSPs), vendor management systems (VMS) and the other providers that support the global talent ecosystem. Our expert practitioners attended a number of deeply insightful breakout sessions exploring strategies for improving the contingent workforce programs we design and deploy for our clients.

Our delegation came back from the event with some very focused perspectives on (among other things) how to optimize MSP efficiency given the current labor environment. All the speakers were in agreement that today’s near-record low unemployment is driving exceptionally stiff competition for talent and any program must be able to quickly engage the required talent before it is lost to competitors. With an effective zero percent unemployment rate in the IT skill set, workers are telling staffing companies who they want to work for!

To address this hyper-competitive playing field, smart MSPs are scrambling to improve their programs’ response times. The recommendation from the experts at VMSA was nearly unanimous―MSPs must better manage their hiring managers.

MSP program teams are historically very good at managing suppliers; however, objective assessments reveal they must do a better job of managing their client hiring managers. This puts them in the awkward position of having to dictate policy and process modifications to their clients. While it requires a delicate approach, those MSPs succeeding in this regard are deftly illustrating to their customers the danger inherent in processes permitting hiring managers to issue requisitions without taking the important next steps to communicate in a timely manner and with enough detailed feedback to help the suppliers fill the requisition.

Discussions in the VMSA conference revealed that although many hiring managers are adept with communication to their MSP, there are always some whose lagging (or lack of) response skews the data of the overall program. Again, the challenge for the MSP provider is to gently, and in the spirit of partnership and collaboration, urge all stakeholders―suppliers, MSP, and the client―to develop processes and operational frameworks fostering a sense of common purpose and organizational alignment. Without it, the time lost in pursuit of communication is enough to ensure the competition snaps up the available resources in the interim.

Fostering this environment of trust, partnership and communication however, is critical to identifying areas ripe for improvement. With the proper approach, and sensitivity to the realities facing each stakeholder in the program, this environment can and will be achieved. The benefits of success in this regard cannot be overstated.

Is your contingent workforce MSP working up to expectation in this competitive environment? If there’s more that could be done to ensure it is, nextSource stands ready to assist with the most contemporary tactics, strategies and best practices culled from leading edge professional conferences like VMSA. Call us today to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current operations and for insight into opportunities to improve!

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