Your Comprehensive Guide to Choosing A Staffing Managed Service Provider

Managing a contingent labor program in-house can be a challenge, and there will likely come a time when you’re ready to partner with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to ease the strain on your internal staff while ensuring efficiency and profitability. But how do you know what services an MSP should provide, and whether or not you’re choosing a partner that can truly help you achieve your goals?

“We are proud to receive testimonials from many vendors, including the most recent:

We have many years’ experience working in this capacity and have built a strong database of processes as it relates to operating and contributing to this format of staffing. It should be known to the CSS management team that this VMS is of the highest caliber of professionalism and integrity. From the highest level of communication all the way down to the billing processes, the CSS team is best in class. It never ceases to amaze me how communicative and helpful the vSource team is. In addition, the VMS policies were built to be followed and your team always takes them seriously. We are constantly impressed regarding the level of kindness and courtesy and it is always a great pleasure to interact with everyone on this VMS team.

…It’s wonderful working with a team who constantly receives this level of positive feedback.” Says Andrea Micucio, CSSvSource Director.

Just What Do MSPs Do?

Managed Service Providers handle all of the processes involved with a contingent labor force, as they also manage the vendor supply chain. They handle talent acquisition, onboard and offboard temporary and contract employees, and oversee the performance and compliance of all associated vendors. In order to choose the right company, you’ve got to conduct an internal audit so you can evaluate potential solutions based on your specific needs.

Understanding The MSP Relationship

In order to effectively set goals and measure success, you have to know your starting point, which means calculating your current contingent labor recruiting and employment costs. These costs, which vary from company to company, are impacted by the number of contingent workers hired in a year and the suppliers used to find that labor. Before you start the process, you should know your numbers inside and out, and you should also understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current processes for managing contingent labor.

The early stages of an MSP partnership should focus on getting costs in line. The provider should have a strategy for evaluating current vendors, looking for inefficiencies and improving processes while simultaneously managing costs.  After costs are aligned, the focus should be more strategic, working to improve matches and seamlessly integrate contingent workers into the organization and manage their success.

Your Comprehensive Checklist For Evaluating MSPs

Now that you know your numbers and you know what to expect from an MSP relationship, these are the criteria you can and should use to evaluate potential partners.

Order Fulfillment

When it comes to taking and filling orders, investigate every potential MSP for some important factors. Note how these factors will ultimately help you manage costs and improve the quality of contingent hires.

  • Fill rate, including time to fill and time to start
  • Submit-to-hire ratio
  • On time start rate
  • Submittal to manager activity and follow up
  • Cancellation rate
  • Reporting and visibility
  • Headcount
  • Overtime
  • Assignment longevity – tenure
  • Cycle times
  • Turnover/attrition
  • Contractor classification: ICC, SOW, w-2/payroll
  • Payrolling – headcount

Quality Factors

It’s not enough to just have a speedy process. Your MSP should also help you improve the overall performance of the program from the time you place an order to the time an employee is offboarded. Evaluate the quality of:

  • DNS Rate (quality of worker/hire)
  • Supplier performance – % of competitive sourcing – supplier responsiveness – overall supplier scorecard
  • Program Performance
  • Requisition Activity
  • Profile conversion
  • Customer satisfaction (hiring manager satisfaction)
  • Contractor quality
  • Efficiency and effectiveness


It is not optimal to be on the wrong side of employment regulations.  Quality MSPs should ensure that they can keep you compliant and mitigate potential risk of lawsuits and fines. Evaluate potential partners on:

  • Contract and audit compliance
  • Legally compliant
  • Overall risk mitigation

Cost Savings

Working with an MSP that is unable to help you manage contingent labor costs is like throwing good money after bad. Before you sign on, make sure that a potential MSP can help you manage costs in several ways:

  • Spend trend analysis
  • Cost per hire
  • Hard and soft savings
  • Rate card management and compliance and market rate analysis
  • Cost avoidance
  • Billing accuracy
  • Diversity spend

If you are ready to attain the business benefits of working with an experienced MSP/VMS, the team at CSSvSource is here to help. CSSvSource is an independent company of Contemporary Staffing Solutions offering vendor-neutral and priority customized solutions. Click here to learn more about our managed services or to set up a free consultation to determine how CSS can save you money, through our MSP/VMS program.

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