The SINGULAR Most Important Activity for Driving Effective Supplier Partnerships


With available talent scarce and staffing suppliers working harder than ever to source good workers in a low unemployment environment, the perennial question for workforce managers remains pertinent. How does one develop the best supplier partnerships to drive the greatest value and return? And how can an MSP help ensure your program is a priority for their staffing partners when those partners are being pulled in so many directions?

The answer, as with so many challenges in life, is to keep it simple! Talent is scarce and staffing firms have no shortage of work for customers who are all clamoring for good candidates. So that’s why at a recent nextSource Supplier Summit, we actively solicited feedback from the suppliers serving MSP programs. We asked them what MSPs and the customers they serve could do to stay top of mind and ensure ready access to the right talent in a timely fashion.

We expected their answers to include new, wildly innovative ideas. In reality, what we heard loud and clear was a reiteration of the same best practices which have always been suggested by suppliers to their customers. This is not because the suppliers are failing to innovate. Rather it just reflects the fact that solid fundamentals when it comes to supplier relations have never grown obsolete. In fact, in today’s tight market, they’re more relevant and important than ever.

One practice suppliers mentioned over and over again when asked how to ensure timely fills and appropriate candidates was, “make sure the MSP or hiring agent provides accurate, correct, and current 2019 job descriptions for all requisitions.” Suppliers said it makes all the difference when a description clearly and unambiguously articulates the specific technology skills they’re seeking in an IT resource for example, as well as a brief description about the projects involved. A generic/incomplete job description simply copied and pasted from the VMS will not be met with the same rigor as one provided by the hiring manager explicitly describing the skills needed. And, in today’s market, that description is part of what will be used to attract talent to the role as well.

This seemingly most basic of recommendations is ultimately the most valuable. Being accurate with job descriptions saves money for supplier and employer alike by collapsing times to fill, lowering attrition rates and ensuring the correct pay rate for the role. All of which translates to more effective MSP/supplier relationships. Greater hiring manager satisfaction means shorter times to fill. Lower attrition rates means lower overall rates of employee turnover. Overall, the chain reaction of success enabled by this one single best practice ultimately goes a long way toward preserving an organization’s “employment brand” which helps attract talent.

The moral of the story? As much as things change, there’s no denying the importance of observing strong fundamentals like this one important practice.

This blog was provided by nextSource’s Joe Olstadt, director of business development.

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