To be, or not to be a self-managed staffing program, that is the question!
Along with some of my colleagues, I recently attended the 2011 Contingent Workforce Strategies Summit. It was an excellent conference that once again brought together the supplier ecosystem, mature managed staffing program sponsors, and a surprisingly large contingent of prospective first-generation program sponsors seeking advice on the who, what, and where of the managed staffing landscape.
I attended a lot of panel discussions at the event, but the one discussion that stuck out in particular was the one that debated the merits of a self-managed MSP versus an externally managed staffing program. This session was full to capacity and teeming with a buzz unlike any other.
One might think that this session was only for experts, those on their second or third MSP generation, or those with very large spend to manage. But it wasn’t. The session included every variation you could imagine — small and large spend, first- and third-generation programs, local and regional programs, global ones, etc.
To me, the most interesting aspect of the session was the group of mid-sized programs — $30 million to $60 million — that were interested in learning more about self-managed programs, and were doing so for the very first time. This indicates a potentially huge swing in our industry.
As I discussed this topic with other service providers in the airport as we all prepared to depart, and with program sponsors from both ends of the philosophic spectrum, I have concluded that there are seven major questions to consider when making the decision to be a self-managed or externally managed staffing program:
- How complex is your program in terms of geographic scope, skill mix, number of supplies, current control over hiring manager and supplier relationships, etc.?
- Is your company culture slanted toward outsourcing or in-sourcing? (Every company has a DNA-level preference toward one or the other.)
- Do you have executive sponsorship, and if so, and what level? (Executives can influence other decision makers.)
- Are you willing, and do you have the competencies, to be held to the same SLA standards to which you would hold an external provider?
- Can you bring the same number and level of resources to bear as an external provider can?
- Does your organization possess managed-service expertise as a core competency?
- What are other organizations in your industry doing to solve similar business problems?
Go and debate this topic among your colleagues and trusted service providers, and let me know your perspective. I have a feeling this topic will continue to be a polarizing one for quite a while.