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5 must-ask questions to find your ideal MSP

For the purpose of this blog post we've focused our examples on the Nuclear, Utilities, Energy, and IT / technology industries and sectors. We recommend that you tailor the below to your specific industry/sector to help you assess whether a Managed Service Provider (MSP) has the expertise, experience, and ability to meet the unique requirements and compliance standards of your industry/sector.



When evaluating Managed Service Providers for your contingent worker needs, here are five important questions to ask:



  1. How do you source and vet contingent workers?


Understanding an MSP’s process for sourcing and vetting contingent workers is crucial. Inquire about their recruitment strategies, screening procedures, and background checks to ensure they attract and select qualified candidates who align with your specific requirements.


Ask the MSP about their sourcing channels, such as job boards, social media platforms, and professional networks. Inquire about their screening process, which may involve conducting interviews, verifying credentials and references, and assessing technical skills.


If you operate in a more specific industry, such as Nuclear, Utilities or Energy (NUE), inquire about their knowledge of industry-specific regulations and safety requirements. For example, you can ask how they ensure that candidates possess the necessary certifications and clearances, such as nuclear security clearances or qualifications for working with high-voltage equipment.


If you operate in the IT/tech space, inquire about their access to relevant talent pools, their engagement with coding boot camps or tech communities, and their evaluation methods for technical skills and experience. Ask about their experience in sourcing software developers proficient in specific programming languages or expertise in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence or cybersecurity.



  1. What is your track record for worker retention and satisfaction? 


Worker retention and satisfaction are key indicators of an MSP’s ability to provide quality contingent workers. Ask for data or case studies that demonstrate their success in retaining workers and ensuring their satisfaction from clients operating in your industry. You can even ask MSPs to provide testimonials from current or previous contingent workers.


High retention rates can indicate that the MSP is effective at matching workers with appropriate roles and creating a positive work environment. For instance, if you’re in the healthcare industry, ask the MSP about their experience in retaining and satisfying healthcare professionals such as nurses or medical technicians.


If you work in NEU inquire about the MSP’s success in retaining and satisfying contingent workers who have worked on projects related to power generation, transmission, or nuclear operations. Ask about their experience in maintaining a stable workforce in nuclear power plants or their ability to keep skilled technicians engaged in long-term utility projects.


If you operate in the IT/tech sector you can ask about their ability to match workers to suitable projects, their understanding of the IT/tech work environment, and their support systems for professional growth and development. Ask about their experience in retaining software engineers or their strategies for ensuring high job satisfaction among IT project managers.



  1. How do you ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements? 


Compliance is essential when managing contingent workers, as it helps mitigate legal and regulatory risks. Inquire about the MSP’s practices for ensuring compliance with labour laws such as the Agency Workers Regulations and IR35, tax regulations, immigration requirements, and other relevant obligations. They should have robust processes in place to handle documentation, contracts, and legal obligations on your behalf.


Ask how they stay up to date with changes in regulations and ensure compliance. For instance, if you’re in a country with strict labour laws, ask the MSP how they handle worker classification and ensure that contingent workers are properly classified as independent contractors or employees, according to legal requirements.


It’s also important to find out how an MSP ensures compliance with industry-specific regulations and safety requirements. For example, enquire about the MSP’s understanding of NUE industry regulations, safety protocols, and compliance frameworks. Ask how they ensure that contingent workers are well-versed in safety procedures, adhere to industry-specific regulations, and possess the necessary certifications. You can ask about their processes for verifying workers’ knowledge of radiation safety protocols or their experience in managing workers in hazardous environments.


If you operate in the IT/tech sector, ask about their processes for ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations, software licensing requirements, or industry-specific standards like ISO 27001 for information security. For instance, if you work in healthcare IT, ask about their experience in managing contingent workers who must adhere to HIPAA regulations.



  1. What technology or systems do you use to manage and track contingent workers? 


A reliable MSP should have efficient technology or systems in place to manage and track contingent workers effectively. Ask about the specific software platforms or tools they use for timekeeping, reporting, and overall workforce management.


For example, they may use a vendor management system (VMS) or a workforce management platform. Inquire about features like real-time reporting, worker scheduling, and performance tracking. If you have specific needs, such as tracking workers’ hours at different client sites, ask the MSP if their technology can accommodate such requirements. Having access to real-time data and analytics can help you make informed decisions about your contingent workforce.


Ask about the MSP’s experience in using technology solutions specific to your sector. For example, inquire about their ability to handle specialised workforce management needs, such as managing workers with different levels of security clearances or tracking workers’ compliance with industry-specific training requirements. If you operate in NUE ask if they have experience using software systems designed for managing contractors in nuclear power plants or utility companies.


If you operate in the IT/tech sector, inquire about their experience with applicant tracking systems, project management tools, or collaboration platforms that are commonly used in the IT/tech industry. For example, ask if they have experience with agile project management tools like JIRA or version control systems like Git.



  1. Can you provide references from clients with similar needs? 


Requesting references from the MSP is an excellent way to gauge their performance and client satisfaction. Ask for references from clients who have similar requirements to yours, particularly in your industry or region. Speaking directly to these references can provide valuable insights into an MSP’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall suitability for your contingent worker needs. It can also help you understand their experience with the MSP and how well the MSP addressed their specific needs.


For instance, if you’re in the construction industry and require temporary skilled labour, ask the MSP to provide references from other construction companies that have used their services for sourcing qualified tradespeople.


If you’re in the NUE industry speak with these references to understand their experience working with the MSP specifically on projects related to nuclear operations, utilities infrastructure, or energy generation. For example, ask them about the MSP’s ability to supply highly specialised roles such as nuclear engineers, power plant operators, or skilled technicians for utility maintenance.


If you operate in the IT/tech space, you can inquire about the MSP’s ability to provide skilled IT professionals, their responsiveness to dynamic project demands, and their familiarity with the latest industry trends. For example, ask about their experience in partnering with the MSP for sourcing data scientists or cybersecurity specialists.



By expanding on these questions and relating them to your specific context, you can gain more insights into how an MSP operates and determine if they are the right fit for your contingent worker needs. Tailoring these questions to your specific business will help you assess an MSP’s expertise, experience, and ability to meet the unique requirements and compliance standards of your organisation.


But remember, these questions should only serve as a starting point for your evaluation and there’s a plethora of other questions you could be asking.



If you don’t already have an MSP and want to know how to sell its benefits to your organisation, read our blog post How to sell and MSP model to your top management. Alternatively, to speak to one of our MSP experts, fill out our contact form below and we’ll get right back to you.