Today’s Trends in Contingent Workforce

The number of layoffs in the tech industry has been more than just headline-grabbing, it’s caused leaders to rethink how they staff. We’ll look at contingent workforce trends, how organizations are optimizing the latest patterns, and why Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have been on the rise.

Growth in Contingent Labor Force

The growth in the contingent labor force is nothing new. It’s something of a byproduct of the changing times. With people more mobile than ever before, they crave the same flexibility from their jobs. Moreover, an increasing number of individuals are extending their working years. Baby boomers, in particular, are committing to stay active in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age, contributing to a shifting demographic landscape in the employment sector.

On the hiring side, organizations are starting to see how they can optimize their resources without sacrificing the quality of their results. Instead of having multiple parties work independently, Vendor Management Systems (VMS) and MSPs like Monument can be brought in to organize it all, so there are no dropped balls.

Around 80% of organizations use a contingent workforce of some kind, with about 65% of organizations planning to increase their usage of contingent workers in the near future. These are organizations that may struggle with turnover or they may just have uneven or unpredictable workloads. Regardless of why an organization turns to a contingent workforce, many often stumble onto a more efficient business model. The key is finding the right people to bring it all together.

Remote and Hybrid Workforce Adoption

The tech industry has been one of the most stubborn about coming back into the office, despite everything from incentives to threats from their employers. (It’s clear that there is something lost when people can’t work face-to-face, though the answer to this basic problem is far from one-size-fits-all.) This has led to organizations feeling pressured to find compromises where everyone can thrive.

Monument has seen how contingent workers can be used to improve the results of a remote or hybrid workplace, particularly when the organization is under strain. By providing full-time staff with more resources, organizations can simultaneously improve morale and productivity.

If you’re wondering who’s going to manage it all, the best MSPs have developed a track record of being able to strategize from top to bottom. Whether the question is how much to spend, how many workers are needed, or which suppliers to use, leaders can trust the right MSP to oversee it all.

Technological Trends

Gen AI and intelligent automation are everywhere these days, with companies across all industries at least curious about what it can do for them. This is a controversial subject for some, but it’s also an opportunity to cut down on the inefficiencies that are likely plaguing your employees. Ideally, technology can be used to facilitate the onboarding of a contingent workforce, so the contingent workforce can continue to adjust or add value to the company’s current systems.

Monument has seen clients drown in data, either failing to use it correctly or failing to use it at all. AI has the power to streamline analytics and reporting, but companies that put too much trust into it may inevitably find themselves wishing they hadn’t. If you’re looking for an MSP that has done their homework and successfully applied that research to individual organizations, you can trust Monument to deliver.

Focus on Skills, Not Experience

A contingent worker succeeds and fails by the strength of their skills. Even more than an employed worker, who could conceivably coast in a large organization based on a largely inflated résumé, a contingent worker has a limited amount of time to prove their worth. If they can’t hack it, they may not even make it until the end of the project, let alone be invited back should the organization need them again.

The trends are very straightforward here: if the organization isn’t able to ascertain the true value the worker brings, their entire contingency strategy can be compromised. Monument has helped our clients drill down on the exact expertise they need to fill each role, so there are fewer hiccups along the way. It can be difficult to find people who have the skills, personality, and availability to match the company, but it is possible when you use an MSP with the right connections and reputation within the industry.

Growth of MSPs

Given the contingent workforce we’ve covered, it’s easy to see why a quality MSP would be worth its weight in gold. A contingent workforce comes with a number of benefits, but it also comes with endless questions about how to staff, onboard, train, and wrap up.

The liability alone would be enough to make any employer question whether it was really worth it. MSPs have the expertise to take over even the most unwieldy of projects, finding ways to break down each phase into digestible pieces. They can maintain communication between workers and staff members, ensuring that both sides are on the same page about what’s expected.

When it comes to hiring a workforce, it’s important for organizations to understand not just how contingent workers view the situation, but also where they’re coming from. It’s not about catering to their demands, but about finding a bridge between the two (sometimes competing) objectives. It’s the MSP that can be the go-between, which is why organizations need to find teams that can successfully work with people from every walk of life.

There are a lot of risks for full-time employees on both sides of the aisle. Contingent workforce trends show that employees want to maintain their autonomy, and organizations want to have some flexibility when they’re staffing for major projects.

Contact Monument Today

Since 2003, Monument has been able to lead contingent workforces by focusing on both long-term goals and day-to-day execution. This isn’t a case of micromanaging employees, but about finding people who can commit to the job until it’s done. We manage everything (and everyone) under the umbrella for as long as our clients need us to. Contact us today to see how we can help!

Importance of Data in a Contingent Workforce Program

A contingent workforce program speaks to a business owner’s need for efficiency, though the reality of these programs are often far from the imagined ideal. This is partially because common metrics often fail to account for multiple external factors and partially because organizations simply don’t have enough information to evaluate their strategy in the first place.

If you want better returns, integrating additional data can have a major impact on how much value you derive from a contingent program. We’ll look at what’s measured, how to use it, and which tools you can use to collect it.

Intro to Data in Contingent Workforce

All companies have plenty of data to work with, whether it’s observed data of worker behavior or hard data vis-a-vis final project completion. Measured data for a contingent workforce typically includes the following:

  • Number of workers: It’s not just how many non-employees are working on the project, but how many are working on any given day across your entire organization. 
  • Suppliers: If you have more than one supplier for your workforce, you need to track their performance, rates, and how much they’re contributing to the bottom line.  If you have one supplier, you’ll need to weigh worker output against the cost of each hire. More data will make it possible to secure the best workers for the best price.
  • Timing: When it takes weeks to find a person for a time-sensitive position, you sacrifice the agility that a contingent workforce was supposed to account for. When you have more data available, it’s easier to estimate project completion — particularly if you need highly-skilled professionals.

The major challenges with these multiple moving parts appear when collecting this often disparate data and attempting to figure out how each piece fits in context with the others. Developing a data strategy and utilizing the right tools and systems to help interpret the data will have a marked effect on your final outcome.

Logistics with Data Usage

When it comes to the logistics of data usage, most business owners find themselves using data retroactively instead of proactively. Trend information is important, but best-in-class programs are able to use data to help identify rocky water ahead prior to those waves crashing. Proper analytics can help business owners stay on budget by leveraging data to ensure the right contingent workers are being utilized and to identify who are making the most contributions to the bottom line. 

There’s more to data usage than pure cost savings, though. Business owners can also use data to grow an organization, particularly if they’ve had trouble scaling in the past. Data makes it possible to find reliable solutions that will work as well in a pinch as they do for carefully planned initiatives. It’s also a veritable lifesaver for SOW management. You’ll not only know who is working on what, but you’ll also know when certain tasks are falling behind. Faster intervention leads to fewer conflicts, revisions, and hard feelings.

Business Strategy Usage

In addition to the operational and logistical benefits, data usage plays a pivotal role in shaping the business strategy of a contingent workforce program. By leveraging data effectively, organizations can make informed decisions and drive overall success. Here are key aspects of business strategy where data usage proves instrumental:

  • Scalability and Growth: Scaling a contingent workforce program requires accurate information to overcome challenges effectively. Data analysis helps businesses understand program performance, identify growth opportunities, and adapt to market demands by determining the ideal size.
  • Risk Mitigation and Cost Optimization: Data-driven decision-making in contingent workforce management helps businesses mitigate risks and optimize costs by identifying inefficiencies and areas of high expenditure. This enables organizations to renegotiate contracts, improve supplier selection processes, and optimize resource allocation, resulting in substantial cost savings without compromising quality or productivity.
  • Strategic Workforce Planning: With the help of data, organizations can strategically plan their contingent workforce to meet future demands. This enables proactive talent acquisition, addresses skill gaps, and facilitates targeted training programs to enhance workforce capabilities.
  • Performance Evaluation and Partnership Optimization: This data empowers businesses to conduct objective performance evaluations of suppliers and workers, enabling them to identify top performers and optimize their contingent workforce ecosystem. By comparing key performance metrics against established benchmarks, organizations can strengthen valuable partnerships while swiftly terminating underperforming ones, resulting in cost reduction and improved decision-making.

Day-to-Day Operations Use

There are a lot of reasons to think of data much like you would any other product. The importance of data in a contingent workforce program represents a key shift from instinct-driven cultures, and it means finding ways to maximize the asset just as you would any other.

  • Cycle time: Accurate cycle time estimation is tied to everything from non-employee requisition submittal, time to interview, worker selection, to final returns. Managers need to evaluate how much time is needed for different milestones in the cycle so they can set proper expectations on how quickly a worker can start once a requisition is submitted. This is the only way to streamline the contingent workforce process. 
  • Contractor management: It’s easiest to coach when you can measure. Better daily data can help identify areas of excellence and areas for improvement for each contractor in your organization. 
  • Market comparative analysis: From rates to market trends, daily data can be used to assess how supply and demand is fluctuating from day to day. Proper rate analysis can reduce the number of unpleasant surprises for your contingent workforce, and market trend analysis can help you prepare for changing needs in your industry.
  • Supplier organization: While you may only have so much control over a third party, better data can show you where the cracks are. Whether you’re overpaying or facing multiple missed deadlines, more information means stronger performance evaluations, so you can make better decisions.

You Need the Proper Tools

If you’re wondering how you’re going to keep up with all of this analysis in the midst of the rest of your workload, it may help to know there are automation tools available. A vendor management system (VMS) is designed to take care of the daily drudgery that can easily fall by the wayside when you’re in the thick of things. For all the data flowing through your many processes, you can harness and leverage it to build stronger operations.

You can also consider how a managed service provider (MSP) would find creative solutions based on your organization’s needs. The importance of data in a contingent workforce program cannot be overstated and neither can the systems, tools, and labor it takes to put it all together. An MSP is used to the intricacies of contingent workforce management, particularly as it relates to their clients’ data and metrics. If you’re looking for a team that will strip down the data to what you need to know, Monument Consulting can help you see the big picture so you can reduce the time, money, and energy you spend on your contingent workforce.

What is Total Talent Management?  

A contingent workforce program speaks to a business owner’s need for efficiency, though the reality of these programs are often far from the imagined ideal. This is partially because common metrics often fail to account for multiple external factors and partially because organizations simply don’t have enough information to evaluate their strategy in the first place.

If you want better returns, integrating additional data can have a major impact on how much value you derive from a contingent program. We’ll look at what’s measured, how to use it, and which tools you can use to collect it.

Intro to Data in Contingent Workforce

All companies have plenty of data to work with, whether it’s observed data of worker behavior or hard data vis-a-vis final project completion. Measured data for a contingent workforce typically includes the following:

  • Number of workers: It’s not just how many non-employees are working on the project, but how many are working on any given day across your entire organization. 
  • Suppliers: If you have more than one supplier for your workforce, you need to track their performance, rates, and how much they’re contributing to the bottom line.  If you have one supplier, you’ll need to weigh worker output against the cost of each hire. More data will make it possible to secure the best workers for the best price.
  • Timing: When it takes weeks to find a person for a time-sensitive position, you sacrifice the agility that a contingent workforce was supposed to account for. When you have more data available, it’s easier to estimate project completion — particularly if you need highly-skilled professionals.

The major challenges with these multiple moving parts appear when collecting this often disparate data and attempting to figure out how each piece fits in context with the others. Developing a data strategy and utilizing the right tools and systems to help interpret the data will have a marked effect on your final outcome.

Logistics with Data Usage

When it comes to the logistics of data usage, most business owners find themselves using data retroactively instead of proactively. Trend information is important, but best-in-class programs are able to use data to help identify rocky water ahead prior to those waves crashing. Proper analytics can help business owners stay on budget by leveraging data to ensure the right contingent workers are being utilized and to identify who are making the most contributions to the bottom line. 

There’s more to data usage than pure cost savings, though. Business owners can also use data to grow an organization, particularly if they’ve had trouble scaling in the past. Data makes it possible to find reliable solutions that will work as well in a pinch as they do for carefully planned initiatives. It’s also a veritable lifesaver for SOW management. You’ll not only know who is working on what, but you’ll also know when certain tasks are falling behind. Faster intervention leads to fewer conflicts, revisions, and hard feelings.

Business Strategy Usage

In addition to the operational and logistical benefits, data usage plays a pivotal role in shaping the business strategy of a contingent workforce program. By leveraging data effectively, organizations can make informed decisions and drive overall success. Here are key aspects of business strategy where data usage proves instrumental:

  • Scalability and Growth: Scaling a contingent workforce program requires accurate information to overcome challenges effectively. Data analysis helps businesses understand program performance, identify growth opportunities, and adapt to market demands by determining the ideal size.
  • Risk Mitigation and Cost Optimization: Data-driven decision-making in contingent workforce management helps businesses mitigate risks and optimize costs by identifying inefficiencies and areas of high expenditure. This enables organizations to renegotiate contracts, improve supplier selection processes, and optimize resource allocation, resulting in substantial cost savings without compromising quality or productivity.
  • Strategic Workforce Planning: With the help of data, organizations can strategically plan their contingent workforce to meet future demands. This enables proactive talent acquisition, addresses skill gaps, and facilitates targeted training programs to enhance workforce capabilities.
  • Performance Evaluation and Partnership Optimization: This data empowers businesses to conduct objective performance evaluations of suppliers and workers, enabling them to identify top performers and optimize their contingent workforce ecosystem. By comparing key performance metrics against established benchmarks, organizations can strengthen valuable partnerships while swiftly terminating underperforming ones, resulting in cost reduction and improved decision-making.

Day-to-Day Operations Use

There are a lot of reasons to think of data much like you would any other product. The importance of data in a contingent workforce program represents a key shift from instinct-driven cultures, and it means finding ways to maximize the asset just as you would any other.

  • Cycle time: Accurate cycle time estimation is tied to everything from non-employee requisition submittal, time to interview, worker selection, to final returns. Managers need to evaluate how much time is needed for different milestones in the cycle so they can set proper expectations on how quickly a worker can start once a requisition is submitted. This is the only way to streamline the contingent workforce process. 
  • Contractor management: It’s easiest to coach when you can measure. Better daily data can help identify areas of excellence and areas for improvement for each contractor in your organization. 
  • Market comparative analysis: From rates to market trends, daily data can be used to assess how supply and demand is fluctuating from day to day. Proper rate analysis can reduce the number of unpleasant surprises for your contingent workforce, and market trend analysis can help you prepare for changing needs in your industry.
  • Supplier organization: While you may only have so much control over a third party, better data can show you where the cracks are. Whether you’re overpaying or facing multiple missed deadlines, more information means stronger performance evaluations, so you can make better decisions.

You Need the Proper Tools

If you’re wondering how you’re going to keep up with all of this analysis in the midst of the rest of your workload, it may help to know there are automation tools available. A vendor management system (VMS) is designed to take care of the daily drudgery that can easily fall by the wayside when you’re in the thick of things. For all the data flowing through your many processes, you can harness and leverage it to build stronger operations.

You can also consider how a managed service provider (MSP) would find creative solutions based on your organization’s needs. The importance of data in a contingent workforce program cannot be overstated and neither can the systems, tools, and labor it takes to put it all together. An MSP is used to the intricacies of contingent workforce management, particularly as it relates to their clients’ data and metrics. If you’re looking for a team that will strip down the data to what you need to know, Monument Consulting can help you see the big picture so you can reduce the time, money, and energy you spend on your contingent workforce.

Should You Be Direct Sourcing Contingent Labor?

At its core, direct sourcing is a strategy where a company begins to look toward an internal candidate pool as a potential source for temporary employees. While every organization is a bit different, a direct sourcing environment usually has three basic elements: a technical solution that is used to get the aforementioned candidates into the recruiting funnel, a process or strategy to then curate those candidates, and compliance.

Examples of how direct sourcing is used include tapping into employees who may have recently retired, those who are “silver medalists” in that they may not have been selected for a previous role but are still viable, and those who have been referred by others.

 

Why Use Direct Sourcing?

 

All told, direct sourcing brings with it a wide range of different benefits that cannot be ignored. Maybe the most immediate of these is that a business gets to use the power of its strong employer brand to not only attract top talent for an available position but to retain them as well.

This also gives them the ability to get someone into an available role as quickly as possible, which in turn allows them to start performing faster than would be traditionally possible. In other words, by leveraging an internal candidate pool, companies can potentially reduce the time and resources required to identify and recruit suitable candidates.

Other benefits include the fact that direct sourcing gives businesses access to known, proven talent (as opposed to requiring them to go searching for them), along with the fact that they are already well aware of a candidate’s experience within the context of the position that needs to be filled.

 

Benefits of Direct Sourcing

 

In a larger sense, direct sourcing can save your business time. By filling available positions quickly, it decreases the amount of time it takes for those positions to start being productive and generating revenue. Direct sourcing also can be a viable way to drive cost savings across the board. This is especially important given an organization’s current rate structure. 

From the point of view of the client, another benefit of direct sourcing is that it helps significantly improve worker quality. The people you’re tapping into are already familiar with your organization, therefore they can “hit the ground running,” so to speak. You have a robust pipeline of pre-identified candidates to draw from, which also comes with the ability to redeploy known talent in a way that makes sense given your current goals. The productivity gains that come with this alone can be enormous in most situations.

From the perspective of the candidate, direct sourcing is also a great way to continue to build a long-term relationship with the client. It’s access to an opportunity that they might not otherwise have if they were on the outside looking in, which can be a potential chance to further their career. It also gives them the ability to work and be productive in a known environment, as opposed to “starting over” with a new employer. It’s also a way to choose positions that they’re inherently interested in, which can be a way to drive their commitment to the workplace as well.

 

Principles of a Direct Sourcing Program

 

Generally speaking, there are five main principles of any viable direct sourcing program to be aware of. They include:

 

  • Strategy: Businesses need to utilize their brand to build a talent pool that may include retirees, referrals, recruited talent, and more.

  • Technology: A digital platform is required to create talent pools by leveraging ATS, HRMS, and VMS systems.

  • Curation: Candidates need to be managed in a way that connects the right people with the right open jobs through curators, such as Monument Consulting.
  • Payroll: A payroll provider is also required to act as the employer on record (EOR) for any temporary workers on assignment.

  • Redeployment: Finally, businesses need to be able to quickly redeploy known workers who can begin immediately and excel quickly, thus reducing the time to fill available positions.

 

Timelines for Implementing Direct Sourcing

 

Again – every organization is different, which means that the timeline for direct sourcing can and will often vary wildly. Having said that, direct sourcing implementation typically takes between 13 and 18 weeks. Through Monument Consulting, this includes a program readiness assessment of the current program, strategy, goals, and best practices.

During this period, there will also be a review of a business’ technical operations and procedures to help make sure that all technical configurations, integration requirements, and financial resources are being met. Based on what you discover, various teams can be set up for operations, training, and a larger program office.

At this point, a technical build can proceed. This can include setting up and configuring client instances, branding, VMS integration, job board integration, and other key factors. Once completed, testing and a complete user training program can be conducted.

Finally, a candidate campaign and a proactive marketing strategy can be developed that includes social media, various recruitment sites, and an effective email campaign.

 

Ingredients for a Successful Direct Sourcing Program

 

In addition to access to known talent and client branding/marketing efforts, ingredients for a successful direct sourcing program include:

  •  Buy-in from all key stakeholders. That includes at the executive level and in terms of talent acquisition, marketing, legal, and even business users.

  •  Program ownership and accountability, especially from those at the top of the organization and with regard to team leaders.

 

Key Success Factors

 

One of the key success factors for any direct sourcing program involves the ability to identify skill sets to source via this channel. Businesses also need to drive volume through the direct sourcing channel to promote healthy activity.

Overall, success depends on your ability to provide “preferred” status to direct sourcing channels for release and distribution. A client’s brand will also need to be leveraged and an internal careers page should be created. This will go a long way towards attracting the largest pool of potential candidates to each open position – which in and of itself is the most important benefit of all.

If you’d like to find out more information about whether you should be utilizing direct sourcing contingent labor, or if you’d just like to discuss your own situation with a professional in more detail, please contact the team at Monument Consulting today.

What is a Contingent Worker & What are the Different Types?

Companies today have to be more flexible than ever before. While the markets have always moved quickly, the pace in the digital age has undeniably ramped up. It’s led to decision-makers having to become more creative about who they hire and why.

What is a contingent worker? Contingent workers are not permanent employees of an organization, but instead work on a temporary or contract basis. Contingent workers are hired to perform specific tasks or projects for a limited period of time, and may be brought on board to fill a gap in the workforce to provide specialized expertise or to address a short-term staffing need. Contingent workers may include independent contractors, temporary employees, freelancers, consultants, seasonal workers, and other types of non-permanent workers.

 

Benefits to Hiring Contingent Workers

 

Contingent workers can be drawn to their work for a variety of reasons depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. Some potential benefits include flexibility, variety, independence, skill development, increased diversity, and potentially increased compensation for specialization. As many benefits as there are for the workers, though, there are plenty of benefits for the employer as well.

Quality

A contingent worker can be someone who works in a skilled trade or requires no training, meaning you’re paying for quality. Instead of having to invest a certain number of hours on training someone — which often defeats the purpose of hiring an employee at a lower hourly rate — you get someone who can jump right into the role.

The focus is not on the process that the person is taking, it’s the results that they produce. So, instead of having to walk someone through the entire game plan and monitor them throughout, you get exactly what you’re looking for without the hassle.

Speed

A contingent worker can typically start when you need them to. The right supplier can expedite the search, supply you with a list of candidates, and set up the contract as fast as possible. You can also hire a contingent worker directly. Should the contract go well, you can have a discussion with the worker and then either assign another contract or issue an extension.

This benefit can be a lifesaver when there are skill gaps or hiring shortages. Staffing snags are common in companies, but the ripple effects can be disastrous. One hole in the company can end up crippling multiple departments. A contingent worker can step in on an ad-hoc basis, streamline operations, and keep revenue stable for the company.

Costs

While contingent workers may look a little more expensive at first glance, consider how much you’ll save in benefits, retirement costs, and paid time off. Plus, all taxes are managed by the employee, which can save the accounting team and payroll operations some hassle. In addition, contingent workers are non-salary employees. Once the project is done, you no longer have to pay them anymore.

 

Types of Contingent Workers

 

In the gig economy, there are more examples of contingent workers than ever before:

  • Independent contractors
  • Freelancers
  • Consultants
  • Temp workers
  • Gig employees
  • Non-payroll
  • Outsourced employees
  • Indirect labor

While there are a number of designations for contingent workers, the IRS largely lumps everyone in the same category. So even if a freelancer traditionally works fewer hours than an independent contractor (on average), the basics remain the same. How you choose to label your contingent workers will likely depend on the nature of the project, the employees you’re planning to hire, and the timeline.

 

What to Consider Before Hiring Contingent Workers

 

Compliance & Risk Mitigation to Employment Laws

 

There are certain companies who will take advantage of contingent workers, which has led to a national debate about how to restructure employment laws. Certain states, like California, have already made changes to regulations. If you want to stay in compliance, you’ll need to know how to stay within the letter (and, ideally, spirit) of the law.

 

Flexibility for Workers

 

Contingent workers are ready to get straight to work, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any unexpected events along the way. Whether it’s an economic change or family tragedy, you’ll want to build in some flexibility to the project. If you’re wholly dependent on one contingent worker, it can be just as debilitating to lose them as it would be a full-time employee.

Few Restrictions on Contingent Workers

 

While contingent workers can be highly skilled professionals (e.g., software engineers, etc.), they don’t have to be. You can hire people for simple tasks like data entry all the way up to your most complex endeavors. Plus, you can have them work either on-site or off, depending on the needs of the project.

Avoids the Need for Layoffs

 

It’s unfortunately easy for companies to overestimate the workforce they need, particularly if they’re in a sustained period of growth. Only when it’s in the rearview mirror do hiring managers realize that they overstepped in terms of full-time staff. When you hire contingent workers, your workforce is much more flexible allowing your headcount to change according to the ebbs and flows of your business. 

Visibility

 

Contingent workers are there to do their jobs, and they’re used to working under the radar. Ideally, you hire them, they finish the work, and then companies can reassess the next best steps. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’re entirely hands-off.

You need to know who’s working on different projects, where they are, what their role is, and how many hours they’re putting in. This standardization is critical to getting the job done — whether you’re managing on your own or employing a Managed Service Provider.

 

Managing Contingent Workers with Monument

 

If you’re wondering how to fit contingent workers in with the rest of your workforce, sometimes it helps to talk to a specialist. Monument Consulting helps companies navigate the tricky landscape, so no one finds themselves in hot water down the line. We’re here to not only answer questions but ultimately take some of the burden off your shoulders. Contact us today to see how we can help you get more done.

MSP vs VMS: What are the Differences?

Generally speaking, a business will leverage a wide range of different resources in order to effectively manage its contingent workforce. This is especially true of those organizations that are in the process of rapid expansion, reorganization, or restructuring of third-party talent.

If your business is in this position, you may have seen two terms regularly used in your research: MSP and VMS. But what are the differences between an MSP vs VMS, and how do they both ultimately contribute to the same larger whole? The answers to those questions require you to keep a number of important things in mind.

What Is an MSP?

Also commonly referred to as a Managed Service Provider, an MSP is a term used to describe a team of people who are singularly dedicated to managing all facets of the contingent workforce program on behalf of a business. This includes essential functions such as supporting the sourcing of suppliers, shortlisting resumes, onboarding of contingent workers, and rate card market analysis – essentially helping to manage the entire req to check lifecycle for a company’s contingent labor workforce program.

Note that in some situations, an MSP may be an internal team of people that is self-managed by the business. More commonly, however, this is an independent, third-party organization performing tasks like those outlined above.

The responsibilities of an MSP will vary and are indeed typically tailored to meet the unique needs of a business. Having said that, examples can include but are not limited to things like:

  • Program management.
  • Reporting and tracking.
  • Supplier selection.
  • Negotiations and management.
  • The day-to-day management of requisition processes.
  • Managing invoices.
  • Payment reconciliation.
  • Rate benchmarking.
  • Business intelligence.
  • Regulatory guidance and compliance.
  • And more.

Note that an MSP will also act as a kind of “command center” for all third party talent within an organization.

There are many benefits that an MSP will bring with it, chief among them being reduced costs. In many situations it may be easier to hire someone else who specializes in these aforementioned functions than it would be to tackle them yourself. An MSP allows you to bring in true experts and leaders in the field without the costs of building that knowledge in house. Another benefit of an MSP is increasing compliance and decreasing risk. This is primarily done through MSP management of the onboarding and offboarding process, as well as frequent audits. This expertise also helps to significantly streamline processes, which improves productivity across the board.

Enlisting the services of an MSP can also help with the implementation of management strategies, along with making meaningful changes to the ones that are already there. MSPs can assist with program maturity models, the visibility of contingent workforce metrics, they can help consolidate the invoicing process, and more. They can also help make sure that all contingent workers are in compliance with all relevant policies, procedures, and laws.

Note that regardless of the unique needs that an MSP is filling, their performance will still be measured based on the same core metrics. Those are the quality of the work that they’re performing, the amount of time it takes them to reach a desired outcome, and the cost of their services relative to the amount of money they are ultimately saving the business.

What Is a VMS?

A Vendor Management System (also commonly referred to as a VMS for short), on the other hand, is a term that refers to the technology that supports the daily operations of a workforce program. It also involves the data that travels throughout a business’ essential processes, all based on an SaaS (software-as-a-service) model.

The responsibilities of a VMS include but are not limited to capturing day-to-day action in a contingent workforce lifecycle. This might involve tracking the process of identifying a need and/or request, assistance with the overall hiring process, managing the onboarding and offboarding processes, invoicing, assisting with payment processes and more.

One of the major benefits of investing in a VMS includes creating a higher level of visibility into mission-critical data, which in turn brings with it robust reporting capabilities. Organizational leaders will no longer have to wonder about the who, what, and where questions as they pertain to a contingent workforce pool. They will know, beyond the shadow of a doubt. This almost immediately brings with it the opportunity to identify areas for cost savings and efficiency improvements that would have likely otherwise gone undiscovered. After a period of time, it allows for forecasting and trends to be easily spotted, giving the user the ability to front run any problems that might be coming.  It also helps to avoid compliance and risk-related issues, too.

How Do MSP and VMS Differ?

While a Managed Service Provider and a Vendor Management System are both invaluable parts of a contingent workforce program, they’re two totally separate ideas and should be treated as such. An MSP refers to the team of people, while a VMS is the technology they use. For a very simplistic example, an MSP would be the contractor you hire and the VMS would be the tools he or she uses to build a house. Both have the same goal – building the house – but they’re totally separate in the larger scheme of things. Often, an MSP is brought on as a consultant to help pick the VMS; much like the contractor would recommend what building materials to use to build the house.

To that end, an MSP and a VMS work together in partnership to create a smooth, simple connection between the user (like the hiring manager, for example) and the suppliers and/or vendors that they’re working with.

Companies can use both an MSP and a VSM to manage their contingent workforce. Or, they can self-manage with only a VMS by their side. Which of these two options is the most appropriate will ultimately come down to the organization and the unique needs that it is trying to accomplish.

Founded in 2003, Monument Consulting is built on a commitment to our clients and our shared values. Through our genuine passion for delivery, relentless pursuit of perfection, and bold decision making, we are creating a more agile contingent workforce so businesses can dream bigger, receive the benefits they need, and achieve more. Our expertise is proven, and we’ve worked with a suite of Fortune 500 companies to help implement innovation that lasts. Our agile model allows us to pick the best tool(s) based on the flows and gestures that will truly meet our client’s needs and bring them the best outcomes.

If you’d like to find out more information about what the major differences are between a Managed Service Provider and a Vendor Management System, or if you just want to speak to a professional about your own needs in a bit more specificity, contact us.

What are the Stages of SAP Fieldglass Implementation?

The SAP Fieldglass Vendor Management System (VMS) is a powerful tool which allows your company to coordinate external workforce programs. Companies of all sizes leverage the Fieldglass tool to drive efficiency, reduce costs and gain productivity.

When implementing Fieldglass, it’s critical to have a defined process that helps your employees, leadership and key stakeholders understand a clearly defined road map. A well thought out SAP Fieldglass implementation process, with well-defined stages and milestones, will help track progress and guide all participants towards the shared goal of a successful launch.

 

What is SAP Fieldglass?

 

SAP Fieldglass is a cloud-based system used to find, connect with, manage and pay an external workforce. With the rise of the gig economy and contract workers, there is an ever-increasing need for systems to manage, coordinate, align, and integrate this component of the modern workforce.

 

According to SAP, 42 percent of the workforce spend today is on external workers. A recent survey also reported:

 

  • 73 percent of respondents indicated an external workforce was important to operating at full capacity and meeting demand
  • 55 percent said that without an external workforce, their organizations could not conduct business as usual
  • Only 20 percent had the systems necessary to adequately manage external workers and turn off access at the end of a project

 

What does Fieldglass bring to the table? Its solutions provide various tools to help manage an external workforce, including:

 

  • Contingent Workforce Management: Allows enterprises to find, manage and pay external employees, automating management to streamline processes, improve security, and boost productivity
  • Services Procurement: Source, manage, and pay external service providers, including contractors, consultants and agencies
  • Worker Profile Management: Track and manage workers not covered by a Statement of Work or a job posting
  • Assignment Management: Manage external work assignments across multiple projects to improve cost controls, efficiency, and compliance

 

The Monument Consulting Approach to SAP Fieldglass Implementation

 

For the most effective SAP Fieldglass implementation, Monument Consulting uses a well-defined methodology. With distinct, articulated phases and gates, our strategic implementation plan provides a clear path for all members of the implementation team. The methodology continually lays out where the project stands and what needs to be done.

Each client’s situation is unique, and the methodology for SAP Fieldglass implementation is flexible to allow for efficiency and progress at each stage. At its core, our methodology is designed to ensure Monument Consulting knows the current state and the desired outcomes of the implementation. That knowledge allows our consultants to design a customized implementation solution that meets our clients’ goals and delivers.

While each client’s circumstances will vary based on scope, resources, and time, in most cases the SAP Fieldglass solution can be implemented in 21 weeks. Success depends greatly on the client’s ability to engage the right stakeholders to ensure that buy-in, sign-off, communication and engagement are all managed carefully at each phase. Engaging the right stakeholders early and at predefined intervals minimizes the need for rework, which can have an impact on the overall project timeline.

 

What Are the Stages of SAP Fieldglass Implementation?

 

There are six phases to the Monument Consulting implementation methodology. Each phase has a gate assigned to it that corresponds to a key project milestone. The gate is designed to ensure that decisions are made whether to move to the next phase, continue work on the current phase, make necessary changes to the current phase before moving forward, or putting the project on hold.

Here is a closer look at each phase and gate.

 

Pre-implementation

 

The pre-implementation phase involves discovery, where the Monument Consulting team works with the client team to understand the current state of systems, technologies and desired outcomes. Critical to this phase is understanding the pain points – whether it’s decentralized workforce management, out-of-control workforce costs or a need for more efficiency. This is the first step towards developing a cohesive project plan that delivers desired results.

In the first three phases of the project, there are a few key milestone meetings to facilitate the transition from project start to discovery and pivoting into design.

 

Discovery

 

This SAP Fieldglass implementation phase helps to reduce risks, identify opportunities to enhance the program and develop a cohesive road map. In this phase, the project team researches, collects and assesses information about the program, the current state, and the desired future state.

The discovery stage allows consultants and the project team to determine the goals, vision and possible risks. It helps define the architecture and approach needed for project success. This phase involves analyzing data, understanding interdependent systems, interviewing managers and key stakeholders, and establishing priorities.

 

Design

 

The design phase is where the future state begins to take shape. This phase includes numerous session attended by the client’s full project team where they will be stepped through detailed future state wireframes and see the solution come to live via SAP Fieldglass demos that have been configured per the working future state requirements. 

The design phase offers the client an opportunity to provide final input before requirements are documented and finalized. The client will be asked to sign off on requirements to close out the design phase. 

 

Testing

 

Once the SAP Fieldglass implementation solution has been designed and the requirements have been signed off, testing will be the next key step. Monument Consulting will execute extensive testing of the VMS followed by System Integration Testing with the client to ensure all established feeds are working as expected. Testing closes with an opportunity for select client users to test the VMS solution via User Acceptance Testing.

 

Launch

 

When testing concludes, the new Fieldglass configuration is moved from a testing environment to a production environment. The launch phase is an exciting time, the culmination of months of hard work and dedication.

Integral to the process of any new system is change management. Employees, vendors, and stakeholders will need to understand and become familiar with new technologies, systems, and procedures. Data migration may change. Suppliers may need to be onboarded. Each of these steps is essential for sustained success and buy-in.

 

Hypercare

 

Monument Consulting recommends a hypercare period of 2-4 weeks after go-live with a 90-day stabilization period thereafter. This time helps ensure everything is working as designed, the team has a chance to work out any links and teams can analyze program results. It helps to identify optimization recommendations and reach a state of stability before any changes are implemented.

With Monument Consulting, you can develop a powerful solution that helps manage external workforces. To learn more about our services, contact us today.

What is an MSP in Staffing?

Regardless of what type of business you’re running, one of the key elements for success is, and will always be, your workforce.

Managing a workforce effectively is paramount – especially as a business continues to grow and evolve over time. Keep in mind that human resources and administration take time and effort. With that evolution, your human resource administration must also evolve with the right attention and effort applied. Without the increased effort, it can be difficult to scale efficiently and cost-effectively.

Thankfully, MSPs are one option to help handle a business’ administration of staffing concerns. But what is an MSP in staffing? What do they have to offer, and why are they worth considering? The answers to these questions are straightforward, but you have to keep a few key things in mind to determine whether this is the right move for you.

What is an MSP?

Also commonly referred to as a managed services provider, an MSP is a third-party organization utilized to more effectively manage a business process. Specific to contingent workforce programs, an MSP will increase your company’s day-to-day operations, allowing the entire process to flow effortlessly. An MSP can immediately enhance technologies associated with your contingent workforce program, support vendor management, increase reporting capabilities, and increase compliance. Contingent workforce is more critical than ever as organizations continue to evolve, and the implementation of an MSP can help ensure a company is successful in its growth.

The Advantages of an MSP in the Staffing Industry

A managed service provider in the staffing industry manages an outsourced contingent labor program for a business. An MSP brings with it an array of different benefits that cannot be ignored. Chief among these is the level of market expertise they bring with them.

For Example, if a business is entering into a new territory, they may not be familiar with the specifics they need to succeed. This is particularly common when a business enters a new country for the first time. There are unique labor laws, tax considerations, and compliance and licensing issues that a business needs to be aware of. It can be unrealistic to maintain this knowledge in-house, but with an MSP you can get instant access to people who already do.

Another major benefit that MSPs have to offer involves increased process efficiencies. Managing a contingent workforce can quickly become a full-time job when it comes to elements like human resources and administration. This can cause issues down the line, since organizational leadership already has a lot on their plate to focus on. An MSP can step in to streamline and centralize existing processes – providing full visibility of, and data around, these processes. This allows leaders the flexibility to focus on their business needs.

But for many organizations, the biggest advantage of an MSP has to do with the program scalability that they offer. With the right MSP and contingent workforce, businesses can ramp up and ramp down contingent labor resources as-needed. They become more agile than ever before, allowing them to enter new markets quickly and leave just as fast should the need arise.

Additional benefits of an MSP include but are not limited to:

  • Technological expertise. An MSP will be well-versed in all the latest contingent workforce related IT tools and VMS technologies. An MSP brings expertise in the integration and implementation of these systems.
  • An MSP can make sure that an organization’s handling of their workforce and other activities remains compliant, avoiding potential fines and other penalties down the road.
  • Visibility into spending. Organizations will have more visibility into their spending in a way that uncovers their true return on investment in all areas. This in turn allows them to better understand where cost management opportunities lie.

How to Determine if Your Business Should Use an MSP

While many of the benefits of an MSP partner are hard to ignore, that doesn’t mean this is the right move to make for all types of businesses. Every organization is unique unto itself. After all – what works for one isn’t necessarily the best fit for another, and MSPs are absolutely a part of that idea.

Generally speaking, if you’re feeling like your own internal contingent workforce program isn’t effectively managing costs and doing what it can to eliminate risk, bringing in an MSP is likely the way to go. The same is true if you don’t already have a rigorous process in place for vetting and reviewing the people who are applying for available positions.

Without a type of vendor management system (VMS) that gives you a bird’s eye view of the enterprise, managing a contingent workforce can become overwhelming. If your business is struggling to handle compliance, spend policies, risk mitigation, or immigration tracking – an MSP can help you address all of these concerns and more. If your business resources are being impacted by the volume of your contingent workforce, turning to an MSP may be right for you.

What is the Cost and How is the MSP Fee Paid For?

The cost of a fully managed MSP can vary depending on the level of service, geography, and contingent workforce types the MSP is helping to manage for you. The cost and payment method will be negotiated prior to work starting.

In some scenarios, the Client will pay the full MSP fee for all services that are rendered (Client Funded). In other scenarios a portion of the MSP fee will be paid by the Client and a portion will be paid by the Vendor (Hybrid Funding). In a final scenario, Clients can choose to have an MSP fully funded by vendors (Vendor Funded) with a small % withheld on each vendor invoice.

Ultimately, it depends on which model works best for you and your program.

The Monument Consulting Approach

All told, an MSP in the world of staffing can act as an essential part to any organization. Not only are you tapping into a team of trusted professionals who can assist with everything from procurement to human resources and everything in between, but they also bring with them consistent and efficient processes that will stand the test of time.

At Monument Consulting, we tailor our approach to the unique needs of each client. Rather than insisting on some type of “one size fits all” process that doesn’t really exist, we take the time to learn about your business and its needs – all so that we can do whatever it takes to help you accomplish them in the most efficient way possible.

If you’d like to find out more information about what an MSP is within the context of staffing, or if you’re just eager to begin your own journey right away, please don’t delay – contact Monument Consulting today.

What is Contingent Workforce Management

A contingent workforce program speaks to a business owner’s need for efficiency, though the reality of these programs are often far from the imagined ideal. This is partially because common metrics often fail to account for multiple external factors and partially because organizations simply don’t have enough information to evaluate their strategy in the first place.

If you want better returns, integrating additional data can have a major impact on how much value you derive from a contingent program. We’ll look at what’s measured, how to use it, and which tools you can use to collect it.

Intro to Data in Contingent Workforce

All companies have plenty of data to work with, whether it’s observed data of worker behavior or hard data vis-a-vis final project completion. Measured data for a contingent workforce typically includes the following:

  • Number of workers: It’s not just how many non-employees are working on the project, but how many are working on any given day across your entire organization. 
  • Suppliers: If you have more than one supplier for your workforce, you need to track their performance, rates, and how much they’re contributing to the bottom line.  If you have one supplier, you’ll need to weigh worker output against the cost of each hire. More data will make it possible to secure the best workers for the best price.
  • Timing: When it takes weeks to find a person for a time-sensitive position, you sacrifice the agility that a contingent workforce was supposed to account for. When you have more data available, it’s easier to estimate project completion — particularly if you need highly-skilled professionals.

The major challenges with these multiple moving parts appear when collecting this often disparate data and attempting to figure out how each piece fits in context with the others. Developing a data strategy and utilizing the right tools and systems to help interpret the data will have a marked effect on your final outcome.

Logistics with Data Usage

When it comes to the logistics of data usage, most business owners find themselves using data retroactively instead of proactively. Trend information is important, but best-in-class programs are able to use data to help identify rocky water ahead prior to those waves crashing. Proper analytics can help business owners stay on budget by leveraging data to ensure the right contingent workers are being utilized and to identify who are making the most contributions to the bottom line. 

There’s more to data usage than pure cost savings, though. Business owners can also use data to grow an organization, particularly if they’ve had trouble scaling in the past. Data makes it possible to find reliable solutions that will work as well in a pinch as they do for carefully planned initiatives. It’s also a veritable lifesaver for SOW management. You’ll not only know who is working on what, but you’ll also know when certain tasks are falling behind. Faster intervention leads to fewer conflicts, revisions, and hard feelings.

Business Strategy Usage

In addition to the operational and logistical benefits, data usage plays a pivotal role in shaping the business strategy of a contingent workforce program. By leveraging data effectively, organizations can make informed decisions and drive overall success. Here are key aspects of business strategy where data usage proves instrumental:

  • Scalability and Growth: Scaling a contingent workforce program requires accurate information to overcome challenges effectively. Data analysis helps businesses understand program performance, identify growth opportunities, and adapt to market demands by determining the ideal size.
  • Risk Mitigation and Cost Optimization: Data-driven decision-making in contingent workforce management helps businesses mitigate risks and optimize costs by identifying inefficiencies and areas of high expenditure. This enables organizations to renegotiate contracts, improve supplier selection processes, and optimize resource allocation, resulting in substantial cost savings without compromising quality or productivity.
  • Strategic Workforce Planning: With the help of data, organizations can strategically plan their contingent workforce to meet future demands. This enables proactive talent acquisition, addresses skill gaps, and facilitates targeted training programs to enhance workforce capabilities.
  • Performance Evaluation and Partnership Optimization: This data empowers businesses to conduct objective performance evaluations of suppliers and workers, enabling them to identify top performers and optimize their contingent workforce ecosystem. By comparing key performance metrics against established benchmarks, organizations can strengthen valuable partnerships while swiftly terminating underperforming ones, resulting in cost reduction and improved decision-making.

Day-to-Day Operations Use

There are a lot of reasons to think of data much like you would any other product. The importance of data in a contingent workforce program represents a key shift from instinct-driven cultures, and it means finding ways to maximize the asset just as you would any other.

  • Cycle time: Accurate cycle time estimation is tied to everything from non-employee requisition submittal, time to interview, worker selection, to final returns. Managers need to evaluate how much time is needed for different milestones in the cycle so they can set proper expectations on how quickly a worker can start once a requisition is submitted. This is the only way to streamline the contingent workforce process. 
  • Contractor management: It’s easiest to coach when you can measure. Better daily data can help identify areas of excellence and areas for improvement for each contractor in your organization. 
  • Market comparative analysis: From rates to market trends, daily data can be used to assess how supply and demand is fluctuating from day to day. Proper rate analysis can reduce the number of unpleasant surprises for your contingent workforce, and market trend analysis can help you prepare for changing needs in your industry.
  • Supplier organization: While you may only have so much control over a third party, better data can show you where the cracks are. Whether you’re overpaying or facing multiple missed deadlines, more information means stronger performance evaluations, so you can make better decisions.

You Need the Proper Tools

If you’re wondering how you’re going to keep up with all of this analysis in the midst of the rest of your workload, it may help to know there are automation tools available. A vendor management system (VMS) is designed to take care of the daily drudgery that can easily fall by the wayside when you’re in the thick of things. For all the data flowing through your many processes, you can harness and leverage it to build stronger operations.

You can also consider how a managed service provider (MSP) would find creative solutions based on your organization’s needs. The importance of data in a contingent workforce program cannot be overstated and neither can the systems, tools, and labor it takes to put it all together. An MSP is used to the intricacies of contingent workforce management, particularly as it relates to their clients’ data and metrics. If you’re looking for a team that will strip down the data to what you need to know, Monument Consulting can help you see the big picture so you can reduce the time, money, and energy you spend on your contingent workforce.