When employing a VMS/MSP, some think it would be easiest to apply one set of rules to all stakeholders in the program — internally and externally. However, rarely will this work; it is even more unusual a program could have one set of rules that would meet all of the needs for all of the people. The quicker you realize this, the faster you can achieve higher levels of adoption as your toughest customers come on board. Stakeholders can enjoy the ride with a high-functioning contingent workforce program that delivers the results that are most important to the end user.

How do you do this? First, be sure your program objectives are in line with the company’s overall objectives. For example, if quality and speed to market are in the president’s annual message to shareholders, both should be incorporated into your program so you can help end users meet their individual department/company objectives.

Different departments will require a contingent process that adheres to rules that enable them to meet their objectives. Some may assume these departments are just resisting the structure of a new program, but that may not be the case. Make sure you are considering the business needs of each department and understand how they meet their company goals. You may find the way they utilize their vendors is a factor involved with meeting their goals. Here are a couple of examples.

Think about the engineering department, which typically has time-to-market pressures. However, if the product design does not meet quality expectations, the department will miss the mark. In these cases you may see a higher emphasis on quality rather than speed. The group’s preferred staffing vendors may have unregulated rates, but also may have the best resources to support their needs. This department may need a different set of rules for those niche vendors they rely on.

When the program is announced, end users get worried their niche vendors will stop supporting them with their best resources, which will affect productivity. In these situations, the program can be either the cog in the wheel preventing progress or it can be the hero. I would vote for the hero option myself; it may be a bit harder to manage, but worth it in the end. Establishing a separate set of rules to govern based on business unit needs will elevate the professionalism of the program in the eyes of the end user and the vendors supporting those needs.

If there is a manufacturing component within your company, they may be accustomed to a master vendor solution. Master vendor solutions enables the manufacturing line or shipping department to utilize a staffing plan that has built-in back-up workers to cover a vacant shift on little or no notice. Situations that require all workers to be present to meet manufacturing or shipping deadlines are difficult to support with a standard VMS/MSP, however, the MSP/program office should be well-equipped to manage a master vendor to an appropriate set of rules inside the overall program. Again, this is why a program would need different governance rules to meet varied business needs.

As you implement a new program or attempt to increase adoption in an existing program, the most important thing you can do is listen to the needs of the business. Do not pigeonhole them into one set of rules that will meet the generic needs of many. The most successful programs have delighted end users. This requires an understanding of their business objectives and acknowledging their uniqueness. Be a good listener and compromise for the right reasons with the goal of gaining another delighted customer. Adoption will automatically follow.