5 ways to shorten your managed staffing RFP process
Have you thought about how long it takes to decide to implement a managed staffing program, then put out an RFP and choose a vendor? Too long, in my opinion.
We are now well into spring and many companies are realizing that they might need to reinstitute a managed staffing RFP process or recomplete their current program. The rush usually begins now, before the threat of summer vacations.
I’ve observed and written about how this process can take up to a year. The first step for many companies is to explore the various staffing solutions available to them and then make the decision to go with a managed staffing program to centralize their use of contingent labor.
I won’t go too far into it here, but that first step of exploring options, analyzing your usage, and making the case is important. This is the basis for why you want to implement a program and what you expect to get out of it.
From this point on, the process can take months and even stretch into a year or more. It’s not just analysis paralysis. There are a few areas that, when combined, end up costing valuable time and resources. And in my opinion, the extra time doesn’t usually end up leading to a better decision or outcome.
Here are five ways to speed up the process of putting out and evaluating a managed staffing RFP.
- Seek early buy-in and form small committees. Have clear objectives that executive leadership understands and buys in to completely. One of the most common reasons that a managed staffing program fails is that it doesn’t have full executive support. Also, while you want to communicate and get feedback from all levels, you shouldn’t have a 10-person committee. Three to four key individuals is plenty, including at least one from operations (i.e. a hiring manager).
- Avoid getting stuck on vendor neutrality. Let managed services providers (MSPs) make the case for why they should be vendors in the program. While there are many arguments for and against this, it’s a question of what’s best for your organization. MSPs should be able to articulate why it makes sense for you. You can always negotiate the issue when you are down to your short list of vendors.
- Ask specific questions, not essay questions. I’ve seen RFPs with 10 questions, and I’ve seen them with 100. It makes little sense to have long, drawn-out questions that invite fluff and obscure answers. (Really, you probably won’t read them anyway.) Ask questions specific to your situation, your company, and what you want out of the program. Make respondents answer briefly and save the fluff and details for the presentation.
- Decide on technology first. I don’t necessarily mean you should decide on or buy a specific technology. Just decide whether a vendor management system (VMS) technology will be used and whether you want it bundled with the MSP or separate. You can then decide if you want to have it in place before, after, or with the MSP.
- Have statistics and forecasts ready. One of the main issues with long processes is that when the RFP is put out in April, you are using the statistics from December of last year. If your process takes six to eight months or more to complete, your program will launch using numbers from a year ago. As part of your analysis in the beginning, find a way to track and understand your basic usage and use that in the RFP process and final negotiations.
This spring, break (get it? — spring break) from your old managed staffing RFP process and try to shorten it. Your vendors will thank you, and you’ll get off to a better start with your program.