Seven Benefits of Securing a Master Vendor for Your Contingent Staffing Program

Contingent workforce programs consume time and energy, especially for human resources (HR) and talent acquisition (TA) professionals who work for businesses that have robust hiring needs. One way to regain some bandwidth for your team while also giving them new data for improved workforce planning is to secure a master vendor—one that offers full administrative, supervisory and systems support.

But what, exactly, is a master vendor?

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What is a staffing master vendor? (Note – it’s not a sole supplier.)

A common misconception is that when companies hire master vendors, they receive the efforts of just that one staffing supplier. This, however, is not the case. While master vendors do take overall responsibility for their client's contingent staffing needs, they do so with the help of a tiered network of additional staffing suppliers. This simplifies their client's life because they only need to maintain a relationship with their master vendor rather than managing a whole group of suppliers with varying specialties and agreements.

Top seven benefits of master vendor programs

“Master vendors offer one point of contact for a close, strategic working relationship," says Sara Gordon, Vice President and Head of Account Management at Adecco. “That means their clients not only realize cost savings on bill rates and usage, but can also customize—and standardize—their preferred service-level agreements (SLAs) and processes across their entire contingent staffing program."

And the benefits don't end there. Master vendors typically offer:

1. A wider talent net. While master vendors simplify your contingent staffing program by offering a single point of contact, they simultaneously connect you with a wider array of staffing support both in terms of geography and industry focus. Typically, this includes their own widespread branch network paired with a diverse network of suppliers across various geographies and, when needed, covering an array of niche industries and skill sets.

2. A simplified contingent workforce program. Not only do you benefit from a wider talent net when you engage a master vendor, but you also receive support when it comes to engaging and managing all of your staffing suppliers. Depending on your needs, master vendors can function via onsites, near-sites, or even virtual management. No matter how you choose to engage a master vendor, your TA leaders get to work with a single point of contact who acts as a true extension of their team, offering strategic planning, high-level issue resolution, process improvements, quality assurance, and more.

3. Cost savings. When master vendors implement their staffing program, they standardize rates and rein in rogue spenders. Once the overall program is implemented and quality assurance kicks in, fill rates and retention rates increase, reducing the cost of lost productivity.

4. Increased transparency and actionable reporting. Master vendors work with your HR and TA teams to design reports that empower your understanding of whether your contingent program is meeting business needs, where it's running well, and where it may be experiencing bumps. Often, master vendors create reporting dashboards that allow you to frequently check in on your program's performance rather than waiting for the next quarterly business review (QBR).

5. Scalable and customizable programs. Master vendors listen to and collaborate with their clients to ensure that their staffing program is designed to meet specific needs. In fact, since Adecco started implementing the first generation of our Master Vendor Program more than 20 years ago, we've created and managed hundreds of variations.

6. Administrative, supervisory and systems support. This can include invoicing, onboarding and off-boarding compliance, overall compliance monitoring, quality assurance, rate validation, and contract monitoring to ensure full supplier compliance with service, insurance and indemnity requirements.

7. Access to specialized industry subject matter experts (SMEs). The most effective master vendors include access to seasoned SMEs in areas like risk management, training, recruiting and more. At Adecco we ensure SME engagement in our Master Vendor Programs (MVPs) by including three specific teams: implementation, functional and operational. In this way, our MVP program provides clients high levels of expertise and support for everything from targeted local recruitment and special screenings to continual improvement programs that ensure that your contingent staffing program meets your evolving needs.

When clients choose to engage a master vendor for their staffing needs, together they can achieve impressive results. In fact, one of our MVP clients not only enjoyed a 40% reduction in overall payroll spend, but also a savings of $1.6 million in supplier spend.

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