Does your workforce partner complete you? (Part 2 of 2)

In Part one, I talked about the financial realities of managed staffing programs, and in particular, the challenges of a vendor-neutral program. In part two, we'll look at the fit of your program and your Vendor Management System (VMS) or Managed Service Provider (MSP). This is what I like to call, "Who did you bring to the dance?"

It's not a stretch to say that contingent staffing can be compared to a delicate dance between staffing vendors, HR, procurement, managers, and the contingent workers. It's usually not the Hokey Pokey, where everyone is in sync. But it also shouldn't be a mosh pit where people are doing everything from slam dancing to a full body dry heave.

To begin, take a look at your program. The key starting point is to figure out some of the reasons you have a VMS/MSP program ("the dance") in the first place, and how it's gone so far. Here are some things to think about.

    • Have you always had the dance, and you just keep putting on the same event every year (i.e. same RFP year after year)?

    • Did you have a dance committee? Who was involved in the decision to have the dance, and are they still involved? What's the theme for the dance (cost savings, vendor consolidation, centralization, etc.)?

    • What is your organization's current situation? Are you still thinking about the big dance (global), or should you scale back? Is it going to be larger or smaller than last year?

Now think about these things in light of the changes your company has made over the past couple years, and in terms of what you'll need in the future. What's changed since last year's dance? What would you change if you could?

OK, now it's time to think about your date (your VMS or MSP). Sometimes you don't know if you brought the right date until you get to the dance, hear the music, and see her on the dance floor. So when you chose a company to partner with, what type of date did you choose?

    • The Just Friends Date: They were the best option at the time (your largest supplier), but you constantly find yourself looking around the room.

    • The Trophy Date: You have what everyone thinks is the hottest date (biggest name), but you quickly find out that she can't dance, doesn't like the same songs, or only has one move.

    • The Card Date: Seemed like a sensible choice (lots of programs and references), but when the music starts, she just stands in one place and kind of "shoulder" dances.

    • The Overdressed Date: All about appearances (good sales presentation, lots of features), but when you get there, she turns out to be high maintenance, and spends so much time in the bathroom, you barely make it to the dance floor.

Now I was taught that you stick with the one you brought to the dance. But in the business world, sticking with one idea/program/model is usually not sustainable or advantageous to an organization. In today's world, you need options and flexibility.

So think about what type of contingent workforce dance you have going on and who your date is. Chances are the music has changed. More importantly, your date might have changed too.

Oh yes, and one last thing. If you are thinking about taking that college guy/gal, beware of getting too far ahead of yourself. You could be risking a broken heart. (Look for more on program maturity in future posts ...)

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