I see the statistics — demand for IT talent is at an all-time high; the number of computer science graduates has flattened in recent years and is down 40 percent from 2002. I see a digital boom extending deep into the future, transforming everything we do.
And I see Fortune 500 companies’ success and failure balancing on the execution of business strategies massively reliant on technology. I read about the growth of data outpacing the growth of computing power many fold and studies showing how harnessing that data drives remarkable competitive advantage.
From my perspective, access to talent, particularly technical consultants, has never been more important. Yet, amazingly, most Fortune 500 companies have implemented Managed Services Programs that focus on cost savings and compliance; not talent acquisition.
Look at MSP processes, procedures, systems and staff. How are programs measured? Spend and headcount. On what criteria are P&S bonuses based? Year over year cost savings. Background of the onsite staff? Commercial staffing and process administration; not technical staffing. Where did the program processes and business rules originate? That’s a long story but clearly not based in talent fulfillment.
As a result, most MSPs miss the mark. They drive compliance and cost saving and drive away the best talent and extraordinary results. They execute onerous contingent talent acquisition processes. Buyers go to other sources to access talent, like full-service consulting companies and offshore/onshore service providers.
However, I find that the more the MSP focuses on hiring manager satisfaction, the greater the adoption of the program. What drives hiring manager satisfaction? Access to the right talent, quickly, AND the ability to influence the talent acquisition process. I have found that the more hiring managers are engaged in the staffing process — from job description creation to communications with staffing suppliers to candidate screening and selection — the higher the quality of the results — better qualified candidates, higher offer acceptance rates, higher consultant retention levels — all in all, greater productivity.
Why? Because hiring manager involvement floods the supply chain with information about projects, the culture, challenges and lessons learned. All this drives efficiencies and leads to breakthrough results in talent acquisition. And direct communication with suppliers inspires higher commitment to the program for both the hiring manager and the supplier.
I believe the greatest results are returned by programs where collaboration involves all stakeholders including business and IT leadership, corporate human resources, procurement and supply, the external managed service provider (if one is engaged) as well as hiring managers and staffing suppliers. Only by working together in earnest will exceptional results be achieved.
The challenge for contingent staffing program leadership is to have the courage to raise awareness of the importance of contingent labor and their program, to engage senior executives in meaningful dialogue and promote real collaboration where mutual goals are pursued, where appreciative inquiry is encouraged, and where trust and understanding is fostered; and to treat preferred suppliers as trusted strategic partners. Unless this happens during the next three years, corporations will lose access to critical IT talent and this will derail even the best business strategies.