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What is MSP? Managed Service Programs: Explained

Managed service programs, or MSPs, are widely regarded as one of the most prominent and impactful contingent (or indirect) labor service offerings in the workforce solutions industry. In recent years, MSP solutions have become increasingly popular and embraced by a full array of companies—both large and small. Managed service programs can help organizations to control their population of contingent workers more effectively. But beyond the simple “MSP” initialism, do you understand the value an MSP partner can generate for your business?

We’re here to help simplify the meaning of managed service programs and educate our potential clients on their many benefits.

What is an MSP?

managed service program (MSP) is a form of business process outsourcing (BPO) that offers an efficient and effective means of outsourcing the management of your organization’s contingent workforce. Upon partnering with an MSP provider, a well-designed program can oversee the comprehensive contingent lifecycle. From beginning to end—facilitating a requisition, coordinating interview efforts, and overseeing the hiring and onboarding of the resource to sending invoices, processing payments, and examining program trends through data and analytics—an MSP can effectively manage the entire process.

Who uses an MSP?

Companies of all shapes and sizes—no matter the industry or labor type—can utilize an MSP solution to improve their recruitment needs. Ordinarily, if your organization manages a sizeable or diversely skilled contingent workforce population, you may look to outsource the oversight of these workers to an MSP provider. Not only will an MSP generate greater efficiencies in the recruiting process, but it will help to provide your organization with a superior candidate pipeline—one that supplies your organization with an influx of high-quality talent.

Related: [Video] Contingent Staffing

Are there different types of MSPs?

In recent years, three primary MSP models have come to dominate the current marketplace: vendor-neutral, three-party relationship, and master vendor.

  • Vendor-neutral: Frequently leveraged by non-manufacturing MSPs, vendor-neutral programs allow the client to post positions to an expansive network of staffing suppliers managed by the MSP. This model helps clients to receive and review candidates in an unbranded and neutral manner, promoting the hire of the highest quality worker at competitive prices, regardless of other pressures or biases.
  • Three-party relationship: Generally utilized by manufacturing companies with high hiring volumes, the three-party relationship enables individual manufacturing facilities to maintain simultaneous contact with both their local supplier(s) and the MSP. This model is advantageous when urgent, real-time situations arise, allowing all parties to communicate and drive value in managing the contract labor recruitment process.
  • Master vendor: The master vendor model can be utilized as an additional layer beneath the three-party relationship for client locations with a consistent need for similarly skilled contingent labor. Generally, companies that lean on master vendor programs maintain at least 50 contingent workers per worksite. This model can act as an extension of the MSP while partnering with the client to drive efficiency and enhance overall contingent labor performance.

Related: MSP or MVP?: That is the Question

Do you have an example of a successfully implemented MSP?

Through all of our client MSP engagements, we strive to drive enhanced program quality and performance. In one of our most prevalent MSP programs, Broadleaf helped our client in delivering on a full array of workplace management objectives. Our customized solution improved the client’s overall compliance, visibility, cost savings, recruitment, retention, and strategic decision-making. Not only did we drive over $1.7 million in cost savings, but we improved the client’s average time-to-fill by 31 percent. In addition, we generated 100 percent month-to-month supplier participation and delivered 400 contractor hires in a three-month window. Read more about the success of this engagement by checking out our case study.

Why is an MSP right for my company?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned as a result of the pandemic, Great Resignation, and the current economic uncertainty, it’s that talent agility is pivotal to organizational prosperity. Today, flexibility is a must-have for businesses around the world. That’s why MSP adoption by companies with more than 1,000 employees grew to 61 percent in 2022. Managed service programs provide visibility into all avenues of your contingent workforce, allowing you to customize a comprehensive process.

In tandem with a vendor management system (VMS), you’ll have complete authority and control over each contingent worker. Plus, with an assortment of sophisticated data and analytics tools at your fingertips, your company will reap the benefits of more informed decision-making. In addition, by using a VMS, 76 percent of companies have experienced savings.

Related: Finding the Right Vendor Management System for Your Workforce Needs

Ultimately, if you’re seeking access to more robust talent pipelines, greater cost efficiency, improved organizational compliance, and sophisticated reporting metrics, look no further than an MSP program.

Related: The Advantages of Integrating an MVP Into an MSP

Interested in learning more about Broadleaf’s MSP solution? Follow us on LinkedIn or email us at to learn more about how managed service programs can benefit your business.

Related: 7 Myths About MSP Programs

Our Broadleaf promise

At Broadleaf, we know that our flexibility equals your satisfaction. No matter your talent acquisition challenges, we can work hand-in-hand with your team to craft workforce solutions that deliver exceptional results. Not only are we well-equipped to tackle your immediate hiring needs, but we can also aid your organization in improving the overall candidate experience and suitably strategize your short- and long-term recruitment plan.

For more workforce advice, be sure to visit our Broadleaf blog.