Workday Podcast: Elevating MSP Contingent Workforce Programs with Strategic Partnerships

Managing contingent workforce programs becomes simpler when managed service providers (MSPs) partner with the right vendor management system. In this podcast, we talk with two MSP experts about how to form strong partnerships to better utilize the extended workforce.

Audio also available on Apple Music and Spotify.

The contingent workforce is an integral part of workforce strategies across the globe, and as businesses continue to bring on managed service providers (MSPs) to optimize their programs, they’re finding a need for technology that can help manage the end-to-end lifecycle of these workers. 

This is where many MSPs bring on a vendor management system (VMS) built to elevate these programs and simplify processes. By partnering with a VMS, MSPs can leverage external workforce data to better identify cost-saving measures and provide better service to their customers. 

Chelsea Vincent, technology service lead at Randstad Enterprise, and Greg Gary, vice president of workforce solutions at nextSource, Inc., discuss the benefits of partnering with a VMS on their contingent workforce programs. Their insights into frequently asked questions and wealth of experience with major industry players highlights the ways in which a strong partnership between an MSP and a VMS can elevate your contingent workforce program. 

Highlights from this Q&A include: 

  • “The NPS scores pay tribute to our ability to integrate fully into our customers’ business. Our talent advisors are able to guide and advise hiring managers based on data, which is driven out of the VMS.”—Chelsea Vincent, Chelsea Vincent, technology service lead at Randstad Enterprise

  • “We don’t want the manual. The automation and the control aspect, being able to make decisions and control the process—I think those are very critical pieces that we see as a huge benefit of utilizing a VMS.”—Greg Gary, Greg Gary, vice president of workforce solutions at nextSource, Inc.

  • “When we implement a new client program, right from the start we are looking to partner and bring the VMS vendor on the journey with us. So, from the RFP all the way through to expanding services to our implemented programs, we really want to share the success of what we offer to our clients. We all want to be part of the same ecosystem as it were, a one-team approach.”—Chelsea Vincent, Chelsea Vincent, technology service lead at Randstad Enterprise

Jess Richter: Managed service providers are integral to contingent workforce programs across the globe. Whether a program is small or large, MSPs need technology in place to support these workforce programs for their customers, both when the program is being built and long after the program has been running. That's where vendor management systems come in. A VMS is built to support the contingent workforce, and as such, MSPs across the globe are using them to run programs, small and large. Today, on the workday podcast, we're discussing the importance of vendor management systems, not just as technology to support workforce management, but as a partner to manage service providers.

Experts in their field, today's guests both have years of experience not only managing contingent workforce programs, but leveraging VMS solutions to benefit the MSPs that they work for. To start, please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your experience working, uh, for an MSP and also with vendor management systems. 

Chelsea Vincent: Thank you so much for having me today. My name is Chelsea Vincent. I am a technology service lead at Randstad Enterprise. I've been working in recruitment, gosh, for 14 years now. I started my journey in recruitment, uh, at Impellam Group in 2010. From there, I moved to science recruitment group, and I was there for about seven years and from that realm, I was able to be on the supplier side of MSP programs. I looked after a compliance team, and I was also supporting one of our biggest pharmaceutical accounts as a client relationship manager. Ending my tenure at SRG, I finalized my journey as a program manager. And I'd say that my first path into MSP and VMS experience was, was really at SRG. I really enjoyed working and mastering my craft around the talent technology that we utilized. From there, just kind of bringing my SME experience into recruitment technology, I decided to become an actual technology project manager. And I did so with Guidant Global. I ended up leading various-sized MSP and RPO technology implementations. And then in 2019, I was really lucky enough to be able to take my technical project management career over to Randstad Enterprise, which is where I have remained since. So I've been here for about five years now. And I've roughly supported about 12 MSP, RPO technology implementations as part of my time here. And I now currently look after a team of 16 tech PMs. What's great about being part of Randstad Enterprise family is that I get to really be in there working with the most innovative and tech-forward technologies that we have in the industry to be able to provide that back into our MSP and RPO programs. 

Greg Gary: Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here today. Uh, My name is Greg Gary, and I am the Vice President of Workforce Solutions and Partnerships with nextSource. I'm actually in the midst of celebrating 30 years in the industry. Started up three decades ago with,, AGS or part of that family in the recruiting side, with stops along the way with a lot of the bigger players: Robert Half, Spirion., then from there, pivoted over to the VMS side and worked for what's formerly known as IQ and Navigator. Then after that part of my career, I moved on to the MSP side. So I spent about 12 years in the MSP side, mostly from a sales and management perspective, with deals or organizations that have programs as small as 5 million up to the largest being 450 million. 

Richter: Thank you both. So let's jump right into the questions. How would you describe the most important aspects of a contingent workforce program? And what are the key ingredients to building a strong contingent workforce program?

Gary: That's an excellent question. I really think it start-- it really starts up front and making sure you understand what are you trying to accomplish, right? We don't want to be all over the place. We really want to get laser focused on where we need-- what we need to accomplish and how we want to do that. And that also starts then with that executive buy-in from the client side because one of the major pieces that we're going to see in-involved is change management. Then the last part I would throw in there would be that compliance part and then the data, the data and the analytics connected to it. Put all of those together. And those are really the main ingredients that I think are very critical in building a strong program.

Vincent: And I think, similarly to what you were saying, Greg, being able to have efficiency, through AI - I think that's one thing that wasn't mentioned. Being able to automate the most admin focused tasks that we have recruiters doing on a day-to-day basis so they can nurture their talent,so they can support suppliers or streamline the recruitment experience for, for the hiring managers. So that's one thing, I think, separately that is super important. I think, also having the right team structure. The right amount of people supporting a program, you know, from sourcing, screening, admin, recruitment, you know, and even down to our more centralized functions, so bringing along supplier management, talent marketing, FNI, tech support - I mean, the list goes on. And then lastly, I think, really it's all underpinning it with the technology, right? So the VMS, the tech stack that goes along with it, that's all really the backbone of successful program, for sure. 

Richter: How you use your vendor management systems? 

Vincent: I would say that, there's a lot of stuff that we use in the VMS, if I'm honest. That's the full end-to-end part of our recruiters' and talent advisors' daily life. What's important at the beginning is obviously having a really good job catalog allowing hiring managers to select the right template for their talent, ensuring that we have the right benchmarking around cost control, IR-35 compliance, and grading as well for the, client's requirements, supplier tiering. Having those, those good approval flows in system, sometimes that means you can remove complex PO processes. So really using the features around, you know, either standardized timesheet functionality or even down to time-in, time-out, clocking as well, and also being able to have it, so the candidate can submit those on the go, the hiring manager can approve those on the go. That's really key, I think.

Gary: Yes. I think Chelsea did a great job of really describing what we utilize them for.  The VMS is embedded in our processes. And as it brings efficiencies to our programs - you know, that's one of the biggest things it does - we are able to capture activity in one centralized location between customers, suppliers, the program team, and all with real-time data that can be captured on the hiring process. And that's critical, and we'll talk a little bit more about that. 

Richter: For our next question it relates to the previous one, but, what type of program do you typically bring a VMS into, and why do you find a VMS to be so useful for these contingent workforce programs?

Gary: So I would say, from an MSP perspective, we're typically going to look at organizations that have continued workforce spend. We'll go as low as 5 million within a program. Typically, that's a little small, but everyone can use reporting and analytics, no matter what size you are. But, you know, we see them as small as 5 million dollar opportunities up to several billion dollar opportunities. So really, it's, it's bringing in organizations that-- or, or looking at companies that are, are interested in understanding their business, in understanding what's really going on in the visibility of their organization, and are really focused on how do they enhance? How do they optimize what they've got and be able to report on and make sure that they're really going in the right direction?

Gary: You know, we talk about SOW management or services procurement. That's another area that's very big that's sometimes considered in the MSP, sometimes maybe outside of that. And two other main areas that I would say we see a lot of focus is employer of record and agency of record. Again, those three main areas are visibility, bringing you that visibility; control, control over your process; uh, and compliance. Compliance is huge, be it IC management, be it, any of the pieces within there. Compliance not only is big from an organizational perspective, but now it's become big from a regulatory perspective. There are ways that things need to be done, and there are consequences if they're not being done, both internally and regulatory. So I'll say those are the main areas that we find ourselves ensuring we do have a VMS. Anywhere where we know there needs to be visibility, there needs to be control, and there needs to be compliance.

Vincent: Yeah. I would say that we tend to bring them in more often than not. We deliver various levels of programs ranging from single country to our global MSP programs. You know, we bring those into support, as Greg mentioned, contingent statement of work, headcount tracking, to give that level of visibility for clients and to be able to bring it back into the ecosystem of their total, total talent, um, environment. So for us, it's really a no-brainer. You know, long gone are the days of using a spreadsheet to be able to track recruitment, um, having those shared user drives. That can't happen anymore. So we have to be able to have that VMS in situ to really drive those contingent programs for the clients. 

Richter:  kind of going along with that, how do your VMS partners interact with your business? And what do you do to foster a strong relationship between the VMS and the MSP?

Vincent: We have a very long-standing, robust partnership, with our VMS providers. In most cases, it's over 13-plus years. And when we implement a new client program, right from the start, we are looking to partner and bring the VMS vendor on the journey with us, right? So right from the RFP, right, all the way through to expanding services to our implemented programs, we really want to share the success of what we offer to our clients, right? We all want to be part of the same ecosystem as it were, a one-team approach we bring the VMS into our initial planning initiatives. So when we are starting to think about implementing we want to have them along the journey in that joined-up approach we tend to have standard RACI documents and timelines, especially based on complexity, of different programs. We ensure that we have frequent structured calls to discuss strategy, best practice, innovation, roadmapping, technical support, training and certifications, um, basically on a holistic but also program level, and we really like to get out there and attend those most important networking events that we have with our vendors, so making sure that we attend those workshops that they might be offering or that maybe we offer, and we invite them to, to our sessions. I think a really important piece is also having that open and honest, candid discussions that we have with our partners. Really just kind of picking up on different feedback and supporting discussions on new releases, new features, pilots, you know, giving our lens to it so that they can improve the customer experience, but also so that we can also help to improve the customer's experience, um, as well. I think just in general, having that one team approach, that one ecosystem is, is so, so important as, as part of the partnership as well.

Gary: Yeah. I think you touched on some great pieces there. The reality is our business, as we see it, is focused on three pieces: people, process, and technology. And as you can see, be it an MSP or a VMS, all three of those are critical to our success. Clearly, the technology being the VMS and it's why this partnership, the VMS-MSP partnership, is so important. It's critical that we're on the same page. We want to first ensure that we both have an understanding of the client and what they're trying to accomplish not only within the contingent workforce program, but overall as an organization, because many times, we're not just looking to see what your program is going to be today. We're looking and saying, "Hey, if in three years from now, if your program still looks the same as it did when we started, well, then we haven't done a good job," right? Because just think about how much our society, how much our world changes over a three-year period, right? We've seen so many different shifts and so many different trends over those times. So it's critical that we're, we're aligned.

Richter: And you know, something that you mentioned in particular is, "What does a program look like in three years?" And so something I, I did want to discuss is what results have you seen customers achieving from building or formalizing a contingent workforce program with an MSP and a VMS supporting them? Were there any key features of the VMS in these examples that raised the bar for managing that program? 

Gary: Absolutely. We-well, let's start with a key feature and one that we're jazzed over. I guess, call me a data nerd. I don't know. But, um, data, data, data, data, right? Data, analytics, reporting, the ability to report, to monitor, and to measure performance. To me, just the major keys, right? Because as you have all of those, it helps you in building your relationships. It helps you in maintaining them. It helps also in how you structure them. So I would say analytics and reports just are absolutely mammoth key features of the VMS that are important to anything we're doing. Now throw in AI and that component and how powerful that's become. And again, it just makes it-- it makes a program work and function so much better. It really does. So now, on to where are the results, typically? I would say the four C's. All right? Cost savings, cost avoidance, control, and compliance. So as we go down through those from a cost savings perspective, I know we as an organization have 10 areas that we focus on within cost savings: some, supplier rationalization, alignment of rogue spend. Those are a couple of examples of things that we utilize where we can make a true difference within cost savings.

Gary: Cost avoidance, another very big one, right? Shortened cycle time, increased retention, increased supplier participation. All critical pieces. Control, you know, we talked earlier about the alignment of rogue spend. I cannot tell you-- I mean, I'm sure Chelsea would say the same. I cannot tell you how many programs when we walk in, one of the main comments they'll say is, "Well, we don't really know what our spend is because not everybody is following our process," right? A big piece. So that control and being able to bring it in and really reel it in and set ways of having control properly, critical.  And we've seen those results coming from that. How is that played out? We'd say that, typically, in our programs we typically will see between 6 to 14 percent first-year cost savings. And in one of our programs, several of our programs, we've seen it actually go into the 20s, uh, up to 22% in one particularly. So what's great about that again is not only are we putting things in place, but we're able to show direct results. So those would be the areas I would say where we've seen the biggest results, um, throughout our programs.

Vincent: So I'd say that, in looking at how our customers achieve that amazing successful results from the contingent workforce program alongside the VMS, what I see being the common denominators, common success factors, are transparency, control, and compliance. I think these are some real key themes of the day, aren't they, Greg? So, you know, ensuring that that the NPS scores pay tribute to our ability to integrate fully into our customers business. Our talent advisors are able to guide and advise hiring managers based on data, which is driven out of the VMS. I think, across all of our programs, you know, we see various areas of achievement, from our customers with the support of an MSP and VMS. In tactical terms, I would say, it's time to hire SLAs. It's cost savings. You know, Greg touched upon rogue spends and things like that. Candidate satisfaction results, also something that we see  that we're able to report on now. And I think some of the key features that really enable the MSP team to work seamlessly are integrally linked to the reporting capabilities and real-time data. Again, another topic of the day, data. Data is king. The ability to act in a transparent and compliant way every stage of the process; that's super important. I've touched upon AI and automation in some of these areas today. I think our NPS scores across all of our accounts allow us to monitor to improve, enhance, and innovate constantly together with our VMS partners. So I think some of those are the, the key features that enable us to, to really interact with our MSP teams a-alongside the VMS as well.

Richter: One more question left and I think I might know the answer to it. But where do you see the biggest benefit to your business from using a VMS?

Vincent: Gosh, it's really hard. I would say first off. If I had to put on one or just highlight one, I would say the biggest benefit to us using a VMS we see is being able to utilize a platform that's one source of truth, right, both for our MSP programs, but also our clients. Having a technology that allows an MSP and client to maintain visibility, control, and compliance all in one place, across multiple countries, regions, continents, for its contingent workforce, it's not only key for sustained growth, but it also really allows, for a continued sourcing of great talent.

Gary: It's becoming a theme, right? You're hearing the same things. Biggest benefit: visibility and dataI know for us one of the biggest things that we focus on, uh, is predictive analytics, right? Uh, We talked a little bit about that earlier, but that's a critical, critical piece. And the only way that's possible is with visibility into the data of the program, so just a tremendous benefit of a VMS, because I can assure you, none of us want to do this manual, so that VMS experience is so critical. And then I would say two other areas that are of importance are just the overall automation. We don't want the manual; the automation a-and the control aspect. Being able to make decisions and control the process, uh, I think those are very, very critical, critical pieces that we see a-as a-- as a huge benefit by utilizing VMS.

Richter:  Awesome. Thank you both so much. That was the last of our questions. I really appreciate the time that you guys took out of your day for this.

Gary: Thank you so much, Jess, Chelsea. Being a part of this, this is a wonderful conversation. It's a topic that's near and dear to my heart, to nextSource's heart, uh, and something that I just believe is so critical to our society, to all of the organizations that are out there. So, always willing to help, always willing to have these types of conversations. And I already look forward to the next one we get to have. So thank you again for allowing me to be a part of this.

Vincent: Thank you all so much for having me. It's been a pleasure. I've really enjoyed myself, enjoyed having the convo with Greg and Jess. I hope that you take some really key aspects away from this podcast and  you can start to see those themes coming in. So, a lot of big themes out there. And, yeah, I'd love to be back again to do another session with you all. And glad to be representing Randstad Enterprise as well today. So thank you again, and until next time.

Richter: Awesome. Thank you both so much. You've been listening to the Workday Podcast with Greg Gary from nextSource and Chelsea Vincent from Randstad. If you enjoyed what you heard today, be sure to follow us wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. And remember, you can find our entire catalog at workday.com/podcasts. I'm your host, Jess Richter, and I hope you have a great work day. 

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