unlocking contingent talent with MSP.


Are you using more contingent talent to build a more agile workforce? Learn how managed services programs (MSP) help you attract and deploy contingent talent faster, while delivering greater workforce visibility and cost savings.


what is MSP staffing?

MSP stands for managed services program, and it is a highly effective way for employers to manage their contingent workforce. An MSP provider can deliver a host of benefits, including:

  • market intelligence and expertise
  • process efficiencies
  • technology expertise
  • program scalability
  • compliance best practices
  • spend visibility and cost savings

The MSP can act as an integral part of your company’s procurement, HR or other human capital functions. It will manage the entire contingent talent life cycle from requisition through invoicing and payment. Using a vendor management system (VMS), the MSP gives you complete visibility into the status of each contingent worker at your organization.

With a rigorously designed and consistent process, an MSP can help you stay compliant with all labor regulations and governance requirements. Your partner may provide talent intelligence to help you understand skills availability and competitive compensation rates, or help you rationalize your talent supply chain to get the right skills faster. Your program may include innovative contingent recruitment strategies like direct sourcing. And, tapping expertise from your MSP provider, you can extend your diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts to your total workforce.

MSP in 2 minutes video

what are the benefits of MSP?

Companies with significant flexible talent spend often lack full visibility of — and compliance within — their contingent workforce practices. Hiring managers may source and acquire resources on their own, leaving procurement or HR unaware of who they are and how many workers are coming and going.

If this describes your company, you may be at risk in a number of ways. You need to keep an eye on regulatory adherence, physical and cyber security, high labor costs, fraud and other problems that can occur without the right controls. 

An MSP delivers processes that help you:

  • improve access and speed to talent
  • simplify and centralize processes
  • get greater visibility and control over spend
  • lower talent costs
  • reduce compliance risks

transition toward a total talent acquisition model in the future

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how does an MSP work?

An MSP is typically administered as part of an organization’s contingent workforce program. It may encompass most (if not all) flexible work arrangements, including temporary staffing, independent contractors, freelance and gig workers, payrolled talent and statement of work (SOW) suppliers. The solution is managed by a project management office (PMO) overseen by the service provider. The PMO works in conjunction with the client’s contingent workforce team, and depending on your MSP model, may be located on site. 

The MSP provider is responsible for day-to-day management of the program. It will facilitate tasks such as requisition processing, supply chain management, transactional reporting, analytics and market insights, and more. In conjunction with clients and using teams of talent advisors, providers increasingly work on resource planning to optimize deployment as well. 


what does an MSP cost?

Two prevailing models currently dominate the market: supplier-funded and client-funded. Under a supplier-funded model, a percentage of invoices billed by a supplier is held back to cover program costs. As a result, there are no direct costs to the client. In markets where mark-up is low, however, some suppliers may be unwilling to participate in such a program or hold back their best talent for other clients.

In a client-funded program, the client pays a fee to their MSP partner. Depending on the agreement, the charge can be fixed or variable. While it may appear more costly, a client-funded model may ultimately be more beneficial because it ensures suppliers deliver a higher quality of talent more quickly.


is an MSP staffing solution right for our organization?

An MSP often requires that employers have a minimum amount of contingent labor spend. A volume threshold is typically necessary for the program to be self-sufficient.

Here are some important questions you should ask:

  • Does our internal contingent workforce program adequately control costs and mitigate risks?
  • Do we have a rigorous process in place for vetting and reviewing talent suppliers?
  • How are we — or aren’t we — ensuring compliance with spend policies?
  • Has our organization deployed a robust vendor management system (VMS) to gain reporting capabilities and achieve spend visibility?

Internal contingent workforce programs that lack any of these are likely to benefit from adopting an MSP. Determining your need will depend on your organization’s goals and whether your current internal program can achieve those objectives on budget and on time.

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learn more about MSP staffing.

Check out these resources to further explore how managed services programs work:

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