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Bridging the Gap Between Alternative Workforce Solutions and Mainstream Workforce Management

The rise of the gig economy and other alternative workforce solutions have given organizations flexible new options for getting work done. It also makes having a coherent workforce strategy a necessity for achieving process consistency and avoiding potential compliance risks.  

Suppliers of these new solutions often hesitate to work with traditional workforce management programs, out of concern that doing so will undercut their agility and time to productivity. Adopting a few important strategies will help managed service providers (MSPs) and their clients add the creativity of alternative workforce solutions within a time-proven contingent workforce framework. 

Understand an MSP’s Ever-Evolving, Consultative Role 

Workforce management has transformed significantly over the past two decades, as organizations have faced an increasing number and variety of talent channels, from traditional contingent workers to statement-of-work-based service providers and independent contractors. MSPs have played an important role in integrating these talent channels into a cohesive strategy, since their inception in the mid-1990s. They have refined their frameworks, as workforce needs have grown in complexity and scope. As organizations inch closer to a total talent management model, these frameworks will become more important in navigating the new, more daunting workforce landscape. 

Business intelligence in particular has become an increasingly valuable aspect of strategic workforce management. Actionable insights gleaned from a sophisticated MSP’s data analysis can give organizations clear guidance on how to strengthen their workforce performance and access to in-demand talent. Such reporting requires comprehensive tracking of all workforce activity, including freelancers and other task-based work arrangements. Working with these types of resources through an MSP prevents gaps in workforce data and improves the accuracy of trend identification. It also enables comprehensive comparison of supplier performance relative to other suppliers as well as comparisons between various locations. 

An MSP offers consultative guidance to procurement and hiring managers for day-to-day talent management in addition to larger scope workforce strategy. This level of support becomes more important as an organization explores new talent channels. Determining which alternative to choose requires thorough experience with the various types of workforce engagements and knowledge of how they align with an organization’s overall goals. Organizations that look to an MSP’s expertise in these areas gain clarity in the talent search, while maintaining compliance with internal workforce processes and regulatory requirements. 

View Supplier Relationships as Collaborations 

Earning the trust of alternative workforce suppliers requires an understanding of their concerns about working with MSPs. They worry that MSPs add a layer of review to new engagements, which increases time required to fill a need. They also hesitate to use a vendor management system (VMS), since they have their own technology and integrating it with VMS platforms has presented some challenges. Finally, some suppliers object to the added cost of working through an MSP. 

MSPs can overcome these concerns by treating alternative workforce suppliers like services providers rather than contingent suppliers. Hiring managers should work with the MSP to select and onboard suppliers and to establish an overall strategy for when and how to engage them for specific projects. When hiring managers have a work need, they can work directly with the suppliers to define the engagement’s parameters and deliverables. 

Rigid processes that work well for traditional contingent workforce needs tend to limit the success of task-based work. Sourcing, screening, onboarding, and managing these resources should require fewer steps and less involvement from the MSP. Carrying out these steps using a supplier’s platform yields smoother, more effective process flows than trying to configure a VMS to fit their particular needs. The VMS should still track some basic details of each task-based engagement, however, to allow for accurate reporting. 

Combine the Best of Traditional and Alternative Workforce Solutions 

Workforce strategies must continue to evolve alongside new technology and shifting business landscapes. Doing so requires an understanding of the unique benefits each provider in the work ecosystem offers in finding and engaging talent. Organizations that work with ManpowerGroup Solutions gain such insight and frameworks for achieving the optimal balance of traditional and alternative workforce solutions. A combination of in-house teams and strategic partnerships gives clients access to all of the leading workforce solutions on the market. This comprehensive suite of solutions along with a collaborative mindset helps clients thrive in an ever-complex world of work. 

Related Resources: The Total Workforce IndexTM