Most MSP operations were set up to focus on supplier optimization and cost savings. The enterprise client contracted with the MSP, which in turn contracted with the suppliers via flow-down agreements that outlined the level of direct contact suppliers could have with hiring managers, maximum number of submittals per supplier, payment terms and, quite often, volume or tenure discount terms. And many of those contract terms have been in place for years.

Then the pandemic shined a spotlight on what is and is not working within their programs. Given your MSP’s central role with multiple programs — and their respective challenges — it would be a good source when determining how to address your program’s needs. Now is the time to sit with your provider, reflect on how the program functioned for you during the pandemic, and imagine how you could restructure your program to fit your current and upcoming needs.

SLAs. Start with your service-level agreements. Do the measurements that were applicable before still have value to the business today? In a talent shortage, metrics around time to fill, early terminations, and rate card variations may have helped to increase program adoption. Now, as workers begin returning to work and talent needs increase, the metrics against which your provider is measured may need to change.

Program inclusion. You may also look at program scope much differently than you did before the pandemic. Take, for example, statement-of-work contracts and the individuals working as part of those contracts. When the work-from-home orders were issued, did you already know how to manage those contracts and who was on-site versus off-site? Did you have to go through each contract and work with the business unit to make accommodations for those SOW workers or did your MSP manage that for each contract? If that all fell on your plate, you may consider including your statement-of-work management as part of MSP governance in the future.

As we recover from the recession and return back to work, we will have some lessons learned and potentially new challenges. Consider how your MSP can help you with:

  • Alternative sourcing strategies. Establishing guidelines for determining when to utilize online staffing platforms to engage workers to perform parts of the work remotely.
  • Remote worker protocols. Establishing guidelines and protocols to manage your remote worker population.
  • Workforce tracking. Including statement-of-work individuals in your access and security tracking whether they work on-site or remotely.
  • Workforce planning. Deciding when it makes sense to hire an FTE, contractor or outsource parts of the work.
  • Diversity hiring. Bringing your diversity and inclusion programs beyond your employee population and into your contingent programs at the candidate level.
  • Payroll and compliance strategies. Utilizing talent pools of self-identified or platform independent contractors.

Your MSP provider can be your partner for innovation in many ways that you may not have considered. They have multiple technologies and strategies at their disposal. In addition, now is a great time to partner with your provider and revisit your program goals and objectives so you can reimagine how they might look if you started from scratch today.