Category Archives: General

Contingent Workforce Management 2016-2017 Survey Now Available

by Altimese Curry, Marketing Manager


Bartech and Guidant Group are delighted to announce our underwriting sponsorship for the Ardent Partners State of Contingent Workforce Management 2016-2017 research. This year’s report is “Adapting to a New World of Work,” which will be the definitive 2016-2017 guide to contingent/non-employee workforce management, the Gig Economy, and the Future of Work.


The survey is now open and we would like to encourage your participation in this highly anticipated thought leadership article. Please note the last survey question which asks if you would be willing to participate in a 15-20 minute interview with the Ardent Partners Research Team. Your discussion may remain completely anonymous.



Complete the survey now>>


The first 100 participants to this survey will be invited to an exclusive “early research findings” webinar in mid-September. Additionally, all survey participants will receive a free copy of the report after its scheduled release in October 2016.


Thank you in advance for your contribution to the survey and we appreciate your continued partnership!

CCWP: Raising the Bar in Contingent Workforce Management

By Michelle Hyland, Bartech Director of Marketing


In a world ruled by acronyms and abbreviations, I have chosen to add one more to my life: CCWP. What does it mean? Search engine results offer this:

  • Country Club of Whispering Pines
  • California Coalition for Women Prisoners
  • Center for Civil War Photography
  • Close-Coupling Wave-Packet
  • Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner
  • Corvette Club of Western Pennsylvania
  • Customs Cooperation Working Party
  • Concealed Carry Weapons Permit
  • Clackamas County Community Wildfire Protection

While some of these spark a few curious ideas, none represents my current focus. The CCWP in my life is a goal I’ve set to become a Certified Contingent Workforce Professional (CCWP).

I recently spent an intensive two days refining, refreshing and increasing my knowledge of contingent workforce management as a candidate for Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) professional certification.

Why pursue professional certification?

The Contingent Workforce (CW) industry is one that seems to have grown more by a “seat of the pants” progression than in a formal, disciplined manner. While that may have been true in its early days, the industry does, in fact, have standards, rules of engagement and best practices to drive contingent workforce program excellence. Bartech’s goal in giving my colleagues and me the opportunity to pursue professional certification was to formalize our industry knowledge and build greater domain expertise in support of our clients. Our entire sales team is on deck to pursue certification. Our goal is to significantly strengthen our ability to provide strategic counsel to our clients and to design more effective programs that optimize their use of contingent labor.

What differentiates certified professionals?

The SIA standards for professional certification in contingent workforce management were developed by industry scholars, who infused the coursework with a tremendous amount of expertise in HR, procurement, Managed Service Provider (MSP) solutions,  contingent staffing and Vendor Managed Service (VMS). Certification candidates received a detailed participant manual, in-person training, instructional video modules and a 1000-page reference guide. Topics covered include:

  • CW History and Program Strategy
  • Quality Measurement
  • Program Management Data
  • Managing Staffing Partner Performance and Managing Risks
  • Understanding Cost and Quality
  • Managing Change, Implementation and Program Adoption
  • Contracts, VMS, MSP  and Global

While certification demonstrates mastery of contingent workforce management best practices, more than gaining command of industry facts, figures and terminology, certified contingent workforce professionals exhibit a deep understanding of the strategy behind the solutions. They can expertly navigate the contingent workforce optimization roadmap and possess a deep understanding of the contingent workforce program maturity model. That makes for better partners in helping clients optimize their workforce management practices, improve business performance and generate new paths to greater productivity and efficiency.

Who should pursue professional certification?
The training and certification exam prep would be a great learning experience for anyone in the industry. The class was a mix of professionals representing MSP solutions providers, staffing providers and current and prospective contingent workforce program managers. Experience levels varied from industry veterans to newcomers. While the latter seemed surprising at first, it quickly became apparent that certification prep is a fabulous way to fast track people new to the industry—a much more efficient way to bring someone up to speed faster than learning it all on the job.

How does professional certification serve Bartech and the industry?
SIA certification elevates the professionalism of our industry and codifies a wealth of knowledge and best practices. It offers an excellent opportunity for career development and drives a commitment to continuous learning, as recertification requires that the certified professional complete 24 hours of continuing education annually.

That training is already paying off. I have been able to reference two modules since I have been back at my desk. One client asked how we define co-employment (Module 5 – Identifying and Managing Risks) and another one asked us to highlight how communication should work between client/MSP/VMS on a regular basis (Module 11 – General Contingent Workforce Program Management). Having the course material at my fingertips has been very helpful.

Professional certification offers a means to make the best better. At Bartech, it is a way to pursue our pledge to always leading, continuously improve, to relentlessly build our expertise and to always look for ways to accomplish more for our clients tomorrow than we did today.

Re-engineering the “R” in Contingent Workforce Management QBR

by: Dawnette Cook, VP Program Management

In the alphabet soup of business acronyms, the QBR is the quarterly business review. It is an opportunity for client and MSP provider to pause from the usual frantic pace of day-to-day deadline racing to actually talk to one another. It’s a chance to look at big picture strategy. What are the goals of the business? How can a strategic workforce partner contribute to the achievement of those goals? The challenge is where you put the emphasis in QBR. The Q gives you a timeframe for discussion. The B gives you the topic, but is it the business of the MSP or the business of the client? Where should you be focusing your discussion? The R is what often puts a stranglehold on any meaningful discussion. If you spend the bulk of your time looking backward, it’s suddenly time to wrap up just when things tend to get interesting… when you start to look forward to where the business is headed and how a smart workforce strategy can make a meaningful contribution to the journey. Consider re-engineering the R in QBR to signify a roadmap to the future rather than a review of the past. Then the QBR can become a strategic discussion of potential rather than a recap of old news.

The Evolution of the QBR

As little as five years ago, a QBR was almost strictly data based. The growth in adoption of VMS technology and MSP programs since the “turn of the century” offered amazing transparency and insight into the metrics that govern contingent workforce management. Access to metrics was the shiny new toy. Prior to that time, many businesses had no idea where their money was going and what value they derived from their workforce investments. As with all things new, the initial shine has dulled over time, so that today we can tell a data-driven story with just two or three slides. Meeting SLAs is a given. KPIs can be tracked from a dashboard without waiting for a quarterly report card. That said, it’s absolutely right for a client and their MSP partner to celebrate achievements when they are together, but a quarterly sit-down is a rare enough opportunity for a face-to-face with decision makers that it should not be squandered on retrospective numbers alone. It is a chance to take advantage of the brainstorming possibilities, to discuss strategy and establish new direction. So what should a client expect from a QBR?

Less Data and More Dialogue

When you have established satisfaction levels north of 90% and near-perfect achievement of SLAs, where do you take your contingent workforce program? The most glaring gap in perception between the value an MSP can deliver as a strategic partner and what clients really want is the disparity surrounding program innovation. The QBR is a perfect platform for exploring client appetite for innovation. An MSP partner can bring to the client a fairly broad view of the contingent workforce landscape. The MSP has in-depth knowledge of what other companies are doing, what’s trending in the industry, how economic shifts impact the cost and availability of talent and how it all potentially ties into client aspirations. As a strategic partner, the MSP can help a client transform program excellence into competitive advantage. That requires a discussion that travels far beyond the traditional metrics of contingent workforce acquisition. For example:

  • The growing shift in program focus from metrics to analytics
  • The evolving role of HR in driving greater collaboration in managing the traditional employee and the non-employee workforce
  • Increasing reliance on contingent labor to achieve strategic goals
  • Growth in both spend and the desire to better manage the dollars spent on services procurement (i.e., SOW)
  • Increasing acceptance of the value potential of “total talent management” to leverage a singular set of processes, strategies and technologies for managing both traditional and contract talent under a centralized banner

MSP’s Role in Driving Strategy to the Next Level

A forward-focused MSP partner should be using the QBR to explore opportunities for greater value generation. It should be identifying ongoing cost savings, leveraging workforce analytics and blueprinting timely strategic growth for both geographic reach and solution coverage. It should be forecasting the value other service offerings could add to the program. It should be showcasing best practices in employee engagement, recruitment and management of multiple generations, candidate referral programs, retention tactics and employer branding. To add real strategic value, the QBR should evolve into a strategy and alignment session that explores possibilities for the future. Use the QBR to celebrate the past but also to plan the future.
Would you rather walk away from a QBR discussion benumbed by numbers or buzzing with possibilities? Review of the past quarter or roadmap for the future? Tell us what you want.

An insider’s view of MSP … from an outsider’s perspective

by: Mark Sawicki


An insider’s view of MSP… from an outsider’s perspective

So here I sit, 90+ days into a new job, a new company, a new team and a new industry, amazed at how much more there is to the world of the MSP and contingent workforce management than I already knew. And I thought I knew a lot. With more than 20 years of experience in operational leadership for publishing, media and internet companies as well as HR/management advisory roles in the retail, pharma, construction and hotel industries; I had firsthand knowledge of how organizations can optimize people, process and technology to impact results. I did not, however, fully appreciate the cornucopia of colors, shapes, textures and flavors available to an employer that views an MSP as a strategic partner in workforce management. Far more than a means to optimize the human capital supply chain, the MSP can unlock the potential of the workforce to drive competitive advantage.

Sharing a few highlights of my exploration of the MSP in contingent workforce management.

One of the reasons I was invited to join the Bartech team was for the fresh perspective I brought to the business, it makes sense to me to share some of my observations after immersing myself in the space. Hopefully, the views of a recent transplant will provide some insight to those who are trying to better understand/plan their approach, and just maybe, there will be a couple of nuggets in here that open some of the veterans’ eyes (or at least confirm their thinking/approach).

Whether you insource or outsource your contingent workforce program management, just do it!

The value of creating a program management office is well documented. If you haven’t explored it to date, you will find that implementing a program will drive consistent and improved processes, cost savings and better relationships with suppliers, contingent workers and your employees.

Leverage the VMS technology available to you and always push for solutions that work for your business.

I’ve spent time with most of the top VMS technology providers over the last three months, and it’s clear they can all deliver very viable solutions to help automate your processes. That said, they each have slightly different go-forward strategies from a solution and user-interface perspective. They also have very different personalities. If you’re considering utilizing (or changing) a VMS system, be sure to listen to all of their pitches and look to build a relationship with the team that would be supporting you going forward. They will be your best friends!

Start with reporting, end with analytics.

Everybody is talking about big data and the same is true in the staffing and contingent workforce space. If you’re just getting your program started, be sure to use that data to improve visibility, crystallize understanding and influence decision making. As your program matures, you need to determine how best to leverage all of that data to make better day-to-day, real-time decisions about what your team needs, when you need it.

At the end of the day, staffing is still all about the people.

The staffing industry is, and always will be, about people. Sure, technology automation has introduced a ton of efficiency, which companies absolutely need to take advantage of, but we can’t forget that it’s the people and the relationships we have with those people that will make programs successful. Whether it’s your suppliers, your core staff, your VMS or MSP partners or your contingent staff, building relationships that are based on open, honest feedback and solution-driven approaches will result in a successful program.

There is still much to learn and much to do.

Sometimes it feels a bit like “drinking from a firehose,” but it’s a really dynamic drink. I’m glad I made the move. It’s an exciting time to be in staffing and contingent workforce management. Every day, I see more of the tremendous potential we have, to transform how we all work in the future – in ways that will drive greater productivity, greater engagement and greater results for all of us.

The Art of Recruiting

By: Erica Leone, VP of Recruiting, Enterprise Staffing


Marrying Science with Art in Recruiting

If you think of the science of recruiting as driven by technology; the art of recruiting is governed by intellect and insight. Tremendous progress has been made in the past two decades to advance the science of recruiting, transforming recruiting from slow, unwieldy and fairly subjective into a highly efficient and process-driven approach to building a better workforce. With technology liberating employers from so many time-consuming transactional activities in job search and placement, there is now greater freedom to concentrate on refining the art of recruiting. That’s a good place for staffing industry professionals to focus their efforts, as all of that scientific progress and productivity has generated a lot of expectations that are not as easily transformed or met by technology alone.

How Technology Transforms
In a fairly short span of years, technology has allowed us to shift candidate sourcing from the Rolodex to the job board and the Automated Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Paper records—from requisitions to resumes—have gone digital. VMS technology has automated and streamlined the entire req-to-check process of talent sourcing. Innovations such as digital video interviewing, online skills and behavioral assessments, automated candidate schedulers and e-file on-boarding processes have all contributed to a more disciplined and accelerated process. These are just a few examples of how recruiting has changed since the mid-‘90s. All these “scientific” advances have boosted efficiency, generated tremendous productivity and accelerated cycle times. These are all good things – but only part of the equation.

The Artistic Side of the Recruitment Equation
Whereas science is explained in absolutes of yes/no, positive/negative, true/false – art is less precise. It deals with shadings and nuances. The art of recruiting is the application of knowledge based on experience and insight regarding the nature of the work, the skills, and expectations of both the candidate and the client. While artists apply subtle variations of light, shadow and color to create a portrait, recruiters approach the talent search with an understanding of the market and industry, job expectations, the economics of supply and demand, workforce trends, candidate aspirations and more. They deliver an experience to candidates and clients, albeit one made easier by technology but not displaced by technology. Recruiters are the artists who transform a series of transactional steps into a rewarding experience.

Meeting Changing Expectations
Technology is a powerful tool, but it cannot substitute for the experience and knowledge that recruiters apply to successfully match the best-fitting job candidate to the right employer. Along with all the good that technology has brought to the recruiting and staffing industry, it has also heightened the expectations of both candidates and employers for a better experience and better results. Recruiters hold the key to delivering those experiences. A successful job placement is like a good marriage. It brings together two parties with needs and expectations that are often at different ends of the spectrum. The recruiter’s job is to create mutual understanding of those needs and adjust expectations to match the realities of the marketplace.

A Case in Point
A client wants a Java developer with 10 years of experience at a price point that reflects the starting salary of the last Java developer that the employer hired in 2005. This might signal a protracted and frustrating search. However, even the most inventive and diligent search of the market will not likely find a suitable match. Keep in mind that job market trends are not something the client has to think about on a daily basis. His focus is on getting the work done. So, rather than set up the hiring manager for disappointment, it is the recruiter’s job to help that client be a better informed purchaser of high-demand skills. She/he might share research on market trends so that the hiring manager understands what is available and at what price. She/he might brainstorm with the client about opportunities to reconfigure tasks and deliverables so that a different type of candidate might make a better fit. Or they might propose a candidate who has less experience than originally requested but a resume that shows quick adaptability to new situations. The eventual placement may be quite different than initial expectations but if it is the right fit, then the experience is a positive one.

Making a Good Marriage
The science of recruiting drives efficiency. The art of recruiting drives satisfaction. Together, these two can increase quality and help recruiters respond more effectively to the demands of their clients and candidates. They allow them to deliver a positive experience based on knowledge and insights that ensure realistic expectations for all parties.