A staffing managed services provider (MSP) is at the center of contingent workforce strategy, operations, and procure-to-pay (P2P) for the services category.
Because of its role, an MSP is best positioned to ensure workforce readiness of subcontracted workers through various strategies such as developing partnerships with local workforce development organizations, implementing local hiring initiatives, providing career development opportunities, monitoring and reporting on workforce metrics, and engaging with the local community. By adopting these strategies, MSPs can help subcontracted workers acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to perform their roles effectively and meet the expectations of the client companies they work for.
According to Arthur Ransier, Director of Business Strategy at nTech Workforce, workforce readiness comes with challenges, “Workforce readiness requires a strong ecosystem comprising organizations focused youth development, workforce development, support services, hiring, and learning. However, an MSP – one with demonstrated relationships throughout the community – is more likely to ensure the right people with the right skills are available at the right time for your project.”
WHAT IS A STAFFING INTERMEDIARY (OR MANAGED SERVICES PROVIDER), AND HOW DO THEY OPERATE IN THE EMPLOYMENT INDUSTRY?
A staffing intermediary, a type of managed services provider (MSP), is a type of company that specializes in managing a client's contingent workforce, including temporary workers, independent contractors, and other types of non-employee labor. MSPs typically work with large organizations that have complex staffing needs across multiple locations or business units.
MSPs use vendor management systems (VMS) to manage the contingent workforce supply chain, from sourcing and recruiting candidates to onboarding and offboarding workers. A VMS is a technology platform that allows the MSP to automate and streamline many of the processes involved in contingent workforce management, such as job posting, resume screening, background checks, and time tracking.
The VMS also provides real-time visibility into the entire contingent workforce, including worker status, billing rates, and performance metrics. This allows the MSP to make data-driven decisions and optimize the workforce for maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Additionally, the VMS can integrate with other HR and procurement systems to provide a holistic view of the entire organization's staffing needs and expenditures.
WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANCE AND ROLES OF SUBCONTRACTORS AND CONTINGENT WORKERS IN THE WORKFORCE?
Subcontractors are typically individuals or companies that are contracted by a primary contractor to perform specific tasks or services. For example, a construction company may subcontract out electrical work to a specialized contractor, or a software development company may subcontract out quality assurance testing to a third-party firm. Subcontractors are usually responsible for their own taxes and insurance, and they may work on multiple projects for different clients simultaneously.
Contingent workers are individuals who are hired on a temporary or part-time basis to fill specific roles within an organization. This can include temporary workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and consultants. Contingent workers are often hired to fill short-term staffing needs or to provide specialized knowledge, skills, or expertise that are not available within the organization. They may work on-site or remotely, and their length of employment may vary depending on the needs of the organization.
Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) define Contingent Work as:
“work arrangements that differ from regular/permanent, direct wage and salary employment. Contingent work and workers are primarily distinguished by having an explicitly defined or limited tenure…”
Both subcontractors and contingent workers play important roles in the modern workforce by providing flexibility and cost savings to organizations. They allow organizations to quickly and easily scale up or down their workforce as needed, without the long-term commitment of hiring full-time employees. However, they also present unique challenges in terms of managing performance, compliance, and workforce readiness.
IN THE CONTEXT OF SUBCONTRACTORS AND CONTINGENT WORKERS, WHAT IS WORKFORCE READINESS AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “Workforce readiness refers to preparing new and returning workers with the knowledge, skills and abilities to meet employers' need for skilled workers.” Workforce readiness is important because it ensures that workers are equipped with the necessary KSAs to perform their roles and meet the expectations of their employers.
This is particularly important in the case of subcontractors and contingent workers who may have limited experience with the client companies they work for. By ensuring workforce readiness, employers can improve productivity, reduce turnover, and enhance the overall quality of their products or services. Workforce readiness also benefits workers by providing them with career development opportunities and improving their chances of long-term employment and career growth.
WHAT CHALLENGES EXIST IN ENSURING WORKFORCE READINESS AMONG SUBCONTRACTORS AND CONTINGENT WORKERS?
Staffing intermediaries encounter numerous challenges in ensuring workforce readiness among subcontractors and contingent workers. These obstacles may include lack of standardization in training and onboarding, managing compliance with industry regulations and standards, high turnover rates, difficulties with communication and collaboration, and pressure to maintain low costs while providing adequate training and development. Here are some common challenges:
LACK OF STANDARDIZATION
Subcontractors and contingent workers may come from different backgrounds and have varying levels of experience, making it challenging for MSPs to standardize their training and onboarding processes.
MSPs must ensure that their subcontractors and contingent workers comply with the relevant regulations and industry standards, which can be difficult to manage and monitor.
Subcontractors and contingent workers may have a higher turnover rate than regular employees, making it challenging for MSPs to maintain a stable and consistent workforce.
COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION
MSPs may face challenges in effectively communicating with their subcontractors and contingent workers, particularly when dealing with language barriers or remote work arrangements.
MSPs may face pressure to keep costs low while still ensuring workforce readiness, which can be challenging given the need for training and development programs.
By addressing these challenges, MSPs can improve the overall quality of their workforce and enhance the value they provide to their clients.
HOW DOES A STAFFING MSP CONTRIBUTE TO STRATEGIC WORKFORCE PLANNING?
Most importantly, a staffing MSP can apply strategic workforce planning to analyze current and future business needs, identify workforce trends, develop a talent pipeline, implement training and development programs (or standards across the supply chain), and report measured outcomes. As Ransier says differently, “An MSP will turn a project plan into a hiring plan.”
In partnership with your business team, an MSP can funnel hiring insights to prepare the contingent staffing supply chain for what’s yet to come.
MSPs can assess their clients' current and future business needs to determine the required workforce size, skill sets, and potential talent gaps. They can use data analytics and market research to identify industry and workforce trends, such as skill shortages or emerging job roles, and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Community-focused MSPs will work with schools, training programs, and community organizations to develop a pipeline of talent for their clients, particularly in areas with high demand for skilled workers. They’ll develop training and development programs that address the specific needs of their clients and their workforce, including programs that support career advancement and upskilling. And they can report performance metrics to measure the effectiveness of their workforce planning strategies, identify areas for improvement, and continually chart a path toward long-term value and ROI.
WHAT STRATEGIES OR TOOLS GUIDE STAFFING INTERMEDIARY OR MANAGED SERVICES PROVIDERS USE TO ENSURE WORKFORCE READINESS AMONG SUBCONTRACTORS AND CONTINGENT WORKERS?
To ensure workforce readiness among subcontractors and contingent workers while placing a heavy emphasis on youth development, workforce development, community-based partnerships, support services, career development, and creating long-term value and ROI, staffing intermediaries or managed services providers (MSPs) can utilize the following strategies and tools:
YOUTH-FOCUSED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
MSPs can partner with local schools, community organizations, and government agencies to provide job readiness training, internships, and apprenticeships to young people in the community.
MSPs can collaborate with local organizations and businesses to create a network of support services, training programs, and job opportunities that benefit both workers and the community.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
MSPs can provide opportunities for workers to advance their careers through training, coaching, and mentoring programs.
LONG-TERM RETENTION STRATEGIES
MSPs can implement retention strategies to create a stable and consistent workforce, such as offering competitive wages, benefits, and career advancement opportunities.
ROI TRACKING AND EVALUATION
MSPs can use ROI tracking and evaluation tools to measure the long-term impact of their workforce development programs and ensure that they are creating sustainable value for their clients and the community.
By using these strategies and tools, MSPs can not only ensure workforce readiness among subcontractors and contingent workers but also create long-term value and ROI for their clients and the community while placing a heavy emphasis on youth development, workforce development, community-based partnerships, support services, and career development.
Like other small, minority-owned businesses, nTech Workforce is deeply involved in the community to ensure that we are creating opportunities for local workers to thrive. We specialize in connecting investors and employers to skilled subcontractors and contingent workers. Our Managed Staffing & Labor Services include partnerships with community-based organizations to provide support services and career development opportunities. By working with nTech Workforce, you'll be able to access a talented and diverse pool of workers who are ready to take on any construction project you have in mind. We also use strategic workforce planning to ensure that we are providing the right workers at the right time, which means that you can rest assured that your project will be staffed with skilled and experienced workers who are ready to get the job done. And with our focus on creating long-term value and ROI, you can trust that your investment in nTech Workforce will pay off in the long run.