5 signs your Contingent Workforce MSP is becoming complacent


Contingent Workforce Solutions are often built on a long-term contract. The challenge that organisations then have is ensuring that their contingent workforce MSP doesn’t start showing complacency. As the tricky implementation is completed, it is not unusual for service levels, quality and performance to start to dip – especially if you are not the biggest spender in the world.

How do you identify whether your MSP is becoming complacent? Here are the 5 signs to watch out for.

#1: Does the service they provide still feel personal?

One of the benefits of a contingent Managed Service Provider is that it opens doors to a range of specialised services and suppliers. Whether you want to build a direct-to-talent strategy, implement a small scale project RPO or audit competitor structures. Services should be accessible and easy to bolt onto your contingent solution if appropriate.

The key to unlocking the potential of additional services is a Client Success team that understands your
business goals and works in partnership with you to evolve your solution. If your MSP is starting to focus heavily on the numbers and the supply chain, it is worth having a conversation around what else they are doing to develop your solution.

#2: Is your Contingent Workforce MSP delivering on their promises?

A lot of Managed Service Providers will promise the earth to clients during the proposal stage. But of course, those people then move onto the next big proposal and, sometimes, it can feel as though the post-implementation phase is getting worked on by the B team.

Often, the catalyst for failure is the contract itself. If your MSP usually services big, global accounts, your contract may be unnecessarily complex compared to your business needs. While it seems as though your MSP contains lots of added value, the complexity of the contract means that it can be difficult or slow to access those services. So you become tied into a long-term project, without the flexibility and agility you were hoping for.

The detail of the initial contract, and the implementation phase, are so important in setting your programme forward in the right direction and at the right pace. If you’re already locked into a contract, consider renegotiating specific terms. A dissatisfied customer is as bad for your MSP as it is for your business.

#3: Do you have access to the right partners and platforms?

A key benefit of engaging an MSP is its access to specialists and technologies that would otherwise be out of your price range. This talent management ecosystem can be a gamechanger in helping you build your understanding of the talent landscape, engage and attract talent earlier in the process, and shape the process to ensure the best recruiter, hiring manager and candidate experiences.

Not all MSPs are the same. Some will provide services that others will not. It is vital to understand if the MSP has the partnerships and platforms to match the needs of your business – and how they can use those partnerships and platforms to help you innovate to achieve your goals.

#4: Does your MSP resolve issues quickly and easily?

In the same way that not all Managed Service Providers are the same, not all clients are the same either. Organisations have different reasons for engaging an MSP. Some may need large-scale process and project management. Some may need a clearer focus on compliance and transparency through the supply chain. Other still may require a great emphasis on direct fulfilment and cost reduction.

If your MSP does not have a deep understanding and awareness of your specific client needs, it is likely
that they are not set up effectively to help you meet them. The result is that it becomes more difficult
to resolve issues, because the right people, expertise and resources are not available quickly enough.

#5: Do you have great Program and Project Managers?

MSP wonderland is a vision of a frictionless process, supply chain visibility and access to a bespoke set of agile services as and when you need them. MSPs can (and will!) dazzle clients with a remarkable menu of additional services. But the real key to a great relationship is not the never-ending list of services but the quality of the people who can make the right things happen, at the right times, in the right way. People make the project. And Project Managers are usually those people.

A great Program and Project Management team are essential to the success of your MSP. They should feel like an extension to your own team, bringing additional expertise, market insight and great communication skills from implementation onwards. If you can imagine life without them, they need to work harder on your behalf.


Outsourcing your contingent worker recruitment to an MSP is crucial to ensuring compliance, managing costs and maintaining quality though the supply chain. The average percentage of workers who are contingent is expected to grow to 24 percent in 2022, and to 29 percent by 2030 (Staffing Industry Analysts). Many organisations are, therefore, seeing improved process as a necessity rather than a nice-to-have.

The challenge that many organisations face is that bringing in an MSP is never as simple as putting out a proposal, agreeing the contract and then letting it run for the next five years. Bringing in an MSP, however, requires cultivating the relationship – otherwise, the partnership can become yet another thorn in the side for businesses as costs rise, skills shortages bite and hiring managers call for more support in finding the right talent.

If you need support building your contingent talent supply chain, get in touch with us and we can help you.