Inside the panel – SIA executive forum: building a workforce solutions business


Debra Timmerman

Vice President, MSP Solutions, Direct Sourcing, Career Transitions and Executive Coaching

Deb Timmerman shares her takeaways from a dynamic panel that explored the changing world of contingent talent and what this means for workforce solutions buyers.

I was lucky enough to take to the (virtual) stage with two great talent leaders – Joseph Hannah, Chief Strategy Officer, Workforce Logiq; and Matt Rivera, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Yoh. Our panel discussion, Building a Workforce Solutions Business: MSP, RPO and more for Staffing Firms, was led by Dawn McCartney from Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) and provided a space to talk about all things workforce solutions. Below are my key takeaways from the event and some insights on how buyers can identify the right talent partner for their business.

The Changing Role of Data

When it came to the biggest changes that have hit the industry in recent years, strategic use of data was a key talking point. Talent consumers are more educated than ever before, and they are looking for a greater depth of data and analytics support. The days of a fancy-looking dashboard that means very little are over. Today, talent buyers should look to engage providers who are focused on actionable insights and proactive recommendations; the right partner will understand how data can be used to meet overall program or business goals.

I shared a personal story that illustrates the power of data. KellyOCG worked with a customer to analyze hiring trends and identified a frequent hiring category. A further cost analysis showed that we could provide this role at a reduced cost through our human cloud solution, allowing the customer to realize significant savings over the next 12 months. This was just one small part of our data analysis but it added up to a huge savings. Data is an essential asset and one that talent organizations and consumers can’t afford to ignore.

We’re Collaborating with More Stakeholders Than Ever Before

There was a focus among the panelists on the increasing importance of engaging skilled contingent talent for businesses everywhere. In many organizations, more and more departments and stakeholders are involved in conversations around contingent solutions, and increasingly, the focus is on overall workforce strategy. More voices mean more information that providers can use to develop effective offerings, but they can also mean more complexity. Buyers should always consider how a talent provider can help them to navigate diverse needs through a robust change management process.

We also recognized the removal of geographical barriers to talent and the increasing importance of access to flexible talent. We have all seen a fundamental shift in how people see and value contingent talent as we’ve moved through the pandemic. The focus has moved to finding the best talent and engaging that talent wherever they are and however they want to work. This approach is helping to take us a step further toward total talent management.

Customer Experience Matters

Toward the end of our discussion, we discussed the renewed focus on client experience for both talent organizations and customers. Whether a business is looking for a first-generation Managed Service Provider (MSP) or a third-generation solution, they should expect a seamless user and customer experience that supports their wider goals and makes life easier for their people. Solutions providers can’t go to market with one-size-fits-all; they have to work harder to understand what a customer really needs, and customers should be wary of providers who fail to offer this flexibility. At KellyOCG we do this by creating and curating a robust tech stack so we can deliver interconnected solutions that are intuitive and user-focused. I shared some of the ways we assess customer needs, from user accessibility and interaction analytics to key communications. This attention to detail means we can deliver a solution that reflects our clients’ business and culture, ultimately delivering the right experience for them.

I’d recommend catching the full SIA Executive Forum panel if you can – it was a great conversation that took us to some interesting places. Or get in touch to talk workforce solutions and the future of talent. I’d love to hear about the challenges that are shaping your talent needs.


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