As businesses face fierce competition to find the best talent, and individuals with niche, in-demand skills are harder to find than ever, more organizations are turning to managed service programs (MSPs) to access contingent talent on demand. But implementing an MSP isn’t always as easy as flipping a switch.
There is a degree of change management that needs to take place internally, from getting the right stakeholders on board and building alignment to identifying and overcoming any challenges along the way. If you don’t take the right steps to keep the momentum and enthusiasm going throughout implementation and long after, the success of the program — and more importantly, your goals — could be at risk.
To ensure you have a successful MSP right from the start, consider the following best practices to keep your change champions engaged throughout and to keep the implementation timeline and deliverables on track.
Understand the support available. No two talent solution providers are alike, so it’s important to understand how your partner will help during the crucial early stages. Knowing up front how their project manager and subject matter experts will work with your internal team, the extent of training provided and how they plan to keep the project on track are key to starting off on the right foot. Developing joint milestones and key performance indicators throughout will also help all parties understand how the implementation is progressing and keep everyone aligned in launching the MSP.
Identify the right change champions. The most successful implementations are those where trusted internal resources are in place to rally the troops and facilitate the change. Often, the most successful change agents aren’t senior executives but rather people who are well-known throughout the organization and have been through previous change initiatives. Think executive assistants or administrators: These individuals are often well known by the wider teams, meaning if someone sees an invite from them, they know it’s something important. Of course, change management workshops at the outset of the implementation are essential in getting the selected individuals up to speed and helping them be effective change champions.
Don’t lose sight of the big picture. We all like to think our own projects are the most important ones, but key stakeholders may have other priorities diverting their attention that can cause extra hurdles or delays. Knowing what other initiatives are going on at the same time, such as organizational changes or new systems being implemented, is crucial for setting expectations.
Overcome project “blockers.” Some stakeholders may be reluctant to get on board, which adds a risk to the success of the project. If this happens, try to understand what has happened before and use that insight to explain how such situations can be prevented and the approach being adopted for this implementation. Getting them involved up front and keeping them part of the journey throughout will help overcome reluctance and maintain their support during the implementation.
Identify the risks. Another impactful way to keep stakeholders aligned and driving the implementation forward is to highlight what can happen without their buy-in. If the new systems and processes aren’t effectively in place and adopted, hiring managers will continue spending more money for talent and may continue to interact directly with their own suppliers. The company will not achieve full visibility of its contingent workforce, which could lead to compliance risks, fines and overspending.
Course correct as needed. Even after a successful implementation, it’s important to monitor the MSP program to ensure it is working optimally and in line with the company’s changing needs. Should challenges arise, work with your MSP provider to determine any change activities that need to take place and whether the company could benefit from additional training sessions.
To reap the many benefits of an MSP, a smooth implementation is crucial and the expertise of your MSP partner’s implementation team is fundamental. Keeping that ideal state in mind throughout can ensure all parties remain focused on achieving a successful transition, overcome challenges together and build and sustain enthusiasm along the way.