Why most staffing solutions fall short
Establishing and managing staffing solutions for a temporary or contingent workforce is more complex than most companies realize. In fact, there are myriad reasons why a particular staffing solution does or does not work.
At the dawn of the vendor-on-premise (VOP) and managed staffing provider (MSP) era, temporary services were a devalued component of the workforce and largely ignored. Most companies simply looked to their largest vendors to step up and provide their packaged staffing solution.
Today, there are complex programs and vendor management systems (VMS) to manage what has become 15 to 20 percent or more of a company’s flexible workforce.
Since the great recession, companies are still confused about how to manage the temporary portion of the workforce, and many still don’t see the value. More often than not, that’s why staffing solutions fall short.
There are several reasons why a particular staffing solution might fail to meet your goals. Here are the most common four:
- Disconnected value or no accountability. Typically, procurement or human resources (HR) manages a staffing solution. In some cases, when only one of these departments manages the process, the value is solely theirs. Procurement looks for cost, while HR typically favors quality or compliance. If only one of these is delivered by the chosen staffing solution, the value proposition becomes disconnected. In the worst cases, no one at the client is accountable, and the provider is left to figure out what the client really wants. Neither situation is optimal for success.
- Lack of executive support. Support from executives is a leading factor in the adoption rate of any organization’s staffing solutions. While many companies do not like to mandate the use of an MSP program or other staffing solution, it is crucial to communicate a consistent message from the top down. If you leave wiggle room in that message, managers will think they can go around the solution.
- Line managers see no value. The day-to-day managers who need good, talented people to work for them are impacted the most by staffing solutions. Pay attention to whether the staffing process takes too long, doesn’t provide the needed people, or if managers simply don’t know how to work with the solution provider. In these instances, managers won’t use the program, or they will look for ways around it. Either way opens up the company to risk or loss of productivity.
- Not fast enough to adapt. The promise of flexible staffing solutions is that you can dial it up and dial it down when needed. However, long RFP processes and complex implementations cause many staffing solutions to be developed based on the volume and other factors from six to 12 months prior. Today, a solution should be quick and adaptable as the company and business conditions change.
Staffing solutions for temporary or contingent labor don’t always lend themselves to a set or packaged solution. Perhaps this is the reason that a 2010 Staffing Industry Analysts’ net promoter survey of MSP buyers showed that while 41 percent of MSP buyers are promoters of their MSP, almost the same number, 39 percent, are detractors. This means that more than half of MSP users are neutral or feel negatively about their staffing solution and their provider!
You must evaluate your current staffing solution and have a mechanism for continually evaluating your temporary staffing solution and your provider. It’s a vital, ongoing part of understanding the value the solution provides.
In turn, if you know where you are getting value (or not), you can communicate this to your company. This will help you get the executive and line-management buy in required for your chosen staffing solution’s success or make changes to ensure you can in the future. Adaptability and speed are the keys to getting the most value.