How to make smarter buying decisions when your contingent workforce challenge doesn’t fit the (enterprise) mould

Matt Crawcour Matt Crawcour Vice President, EMEA Sales

When you’re searching for a contingent workforce solution – perhaps an MSP (managed service provider) as a first-generation buyer – it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information and jargon out there. But what if you’re also looking for something that doesn’t fit the traditional enterprise mould, like a programme with a spend between $5M and $50M? SIA’s MSP Global Landscape Summary 2022 found more than 49% of individual programmes manage spend of $10M or less. But despite growing popularity, many providers are focused on the enterprise market, and – if you’re a buyer who doesn’t fit that profile – it can be tough to access the support you need.

I’ve been working in this space for many years, and I strongly believe that the best workforce solutions are those that meet the unique needs of the clients they serve – and, for many, a solution with every bell and whistle is not the right fit. It’s like choosing a top-of-the-range 8 Series BMW to do the school run – expensive and probably unnecessary.

A solution supporting a workforce spend of less than $50M could be a consulting solution, a discovery project, a flexible MSP, or even a PMO (project management office) – but whatever it is, it should be affordable, fit-for-purpose, provide access to tech, and solve key workforce challenges. In this blog, I explore the ways first-generation buyers can begin to identify the type of solution they need.

What do contingent workforce solutions look like outside of the enterprise space?

When we talk about these types of contingent solutions – what do we mean? Are these solutions designed for medium-sized businesses or scale-ups? Well, maybe. A global billion-dollar organisation could need this level of solution to support a multinational programme that doesn’t meet the scale requirements of an enterprise solution – for an MSP, this probably means a spend of between $5M and $50M. But spend size shouldn’t prevent organisations from being able to access high-quality workforce solutions. In fact, these medium-scale solutions which sit between a staffing master vendor and an enterprise MSP, can serve companies of every size and shape to provide the same visibility, compliance, and supplier management of high-spend programmes.

How do you know what type of solution you need?

The truth is that, right now, you probably don’t. Many buyers in this spend category are first-generation buyers, and it’s an incredibly complex buying landscape out there. They may put out an RFP (request for proposal) for a master vendor or temporary staffing provider, when in reality, a more-robust, tech-driven flexible MSP would be a better fit. My advice is to ask lots of questions – even ones that may seem to have obvious answers. Most suppliers and workforce experts will be happy to spend time providing detailed advice and explanations. Also, don’t be afraid of RFP responses that challenge assumptions and want to dig deeper – the solution you want may not be the solution you need.

Many organisations at this stage lack the visibility to even know where to start. If you can’t see your contingent or temporary workforce or identify key challenges or pain points, how can a provider advise on a solution that’s going to be the right fit? And if a provider tells you they have a solution that will fix all your challenges with no idea of what your workforce looks like, that’s a significant red flag. The search for a workforce solutions provider can be challenging, but it’s important to choose a partner who is willing to do the work to really understand your business and your workforce needs.

Don’t overlook discovery

If you don’t know what your contingent or temporary workforce looks like, a discovery project in collaboration with a workforce expert could be a great first step. In fact, it’s something I’m working on right now with a client; this detailed discovery process will provide an in-depth picture of this organisation’s current temporary workforce and processes, along with suggestions for a best-fit solution. Through this process, the client will unlock all the information they need to choose the right solutions provider. Discovery is a crucial step for organisations lacking visibility and it’s one many first-gen buyers can benefit from.

What solutions are out there?

According to SIA figures, many MSP programmes sit in the < $10M space, but when you’re in the market for a solution, it doesn’t always feel like it. Some solutions and technology providers are firmly entrenched in the enterprise world and don’t have the flexibility to support organisations who need a more agile response to their people challenges. Though the wider contingent solution space is growing, there is still much further to go. It’s one of the reasons we developed KellyOCG Go MSP and KellyOCG Go RPO. Designed to scale with the businesses we support (our MSP solution is uniquely designed to oversee spend between $5M and $50M), these products are smart, agile, and fast-to-implement. Our KellyOCG Go solutions reflect seven decades of workforce expertise condensed into a streamlined, accessible, and highly scalable package.

Not sure where to start?

If you feel like you can’t see the wood for the trees right now, you’re not alone. And my best piece of advice is to ask lots of questions (and when you think you’ve asked enough, ask a few more) – great suppliers and workforce experts will also act as expert guides. This is an education process as much as a buying process and arming yourself with lots of detailed information – on your current workforce and the wider market – is a great way to get ahead.

In my next blog, I’ll be diving deeper into this topic as I explore: How do you choose the right ‘dynamic’ MSP partner? Keep your eyes peeled for that one, and in the meantime, drop me a line anytime with your burning workforce solutions questions or explore our KellyOCG Go solutions to find out what a truly scalable workforce solution looks like.


Ready to connect with an expert?

Keeping up with the new world of work means adopting creative business strategies, and connecting with the talent who will make a real difference in your field. Lucky for you, it’s what we specialize in.

Contact us at 800.Kelly.01 and one of our agents will administer your request. Or, if you’d prefer, fill out the form to submit an email.