Conversation continues with dotStaff’s Julie Talatinian and Andrea Connell, Program Manager with Knowledge Services, a dotStaff™ Alliance Partner.

Julie:  What is the primary benefit you provide your clients—both with dotStaff™ and as the MSP?

Andrea: The primary benefit is providing them a one-stop-shop, or as some people like to say, one throat to choke, but that’s possibly a negative connotation.  We do it all for them.  And as I said, before us, they had no way of knowing what all was going on with this activity.  They had zero tracking in place, so they had no way of knowing spend [on contingent labor], nor how many people they had in a job title, nor did they know the rates they were paying in that job title.  It’s because the Managers handled the process individually by themselves, so there was no consistent process followed.  We brought consistency and a streamlined approach.  We also established a maximum rate that vendors cannot exceed.   For example, now when a Business Analyst is needed, there is a specific maximum rate for that job that—you can’t exceed it.  The rate can be lower, but you can’t go over it.   From our evaluation, we found that before we began managing the process, they might have had a Business Analyst at $68 per hour and another at $86 per hour.  There was no real reasoning as to why one made more money for the same exact job!  And sometimes you’d find this rate spread within the same staffing agency working for the same manager with no justification for the rate spread.  Even when a Manager could have been controlling this process, he or she didn’t know enough to because of lack of visibility to data.  So we streamlined that whole approach for them.

As far as the tool, it offers an endless possibility of reporting for them to which they’ve never had access.  They can obtain reports for Spend-by-Project, Spend-by-Manager, Spend-by-Job Title, Spend-by-Job Code, they can see average rates, time to fill—everything is visible!

Julie:   So dotStaff™ gives them new access to information.

Andrea: This access to information can also help my Client hold their [hiring] managers accountable. For example, [the Client can now say], “You make hiring decisions and we see those hiring decisions now.”  As a result, [the Client might ask], “are you always using the same vendor, or are you always hiring at the high end of the rate card?  Why are you making those decisions?”  With my Client, savings is the big, big driving force motivating them.  So, they needed someone to help them bring the rates down and stabilize the rates for them.

Julie:   So wait a minute, Andrea, are you saying that you force them to choose the lowest rate?

Andrea: No.   Absolutely not.  Vendors provide them bids, which could be anywhere from 3 bids to 60 on one requisition.  Depending on the volume of responses, the manager reviews the bid, reviews the resumes, interviews candidates, and makes the hiring selection.  He picks the person who is right for him and the rate is really secondary to that.  Now if he says, “I only have this much budget to pay for that,” then we will go back to the vendor and ask them for a rate reduction or ask if they can fit that candidate into that budget.  So no, we do not force the lowest rate, we would never do that.  We want the best quality for that position.  If that means the bid selected is at the high end of the rate card and that is who they want, then that is who they get.

Julie:   Have you reduced that disparity that you talked about earlier where they had a huge spread between bill rates for the same position?

Andrea: Oh, yes, we found that the positions were classified wrong.  They knew they wanted someone at $86/hour, so they would just assign a job title [at that bill rate], which wasn’t the actual title of the job the person was doing.  When we came in, we normalized all of that and we re-classified everyone, if it was necessary.  For example, before we implemented, they had twelve project managers on one project!  There was no way they needed twelve project managers on one project!  In that case, when they wanted someone at an $86 per hour rate, they made the job title fit the bill rate.  We re-classified all on that project who needed re-classifying.  That facilitated accurate reporting.