How corporate PMO teams and suppliers are successfully engaging using a VMS?


Karen Ben-Alta: Hello everyone. We'll give everyone a few more minutes to join to see. People will still joining and we'll stop momentarily.

Karen Ben-Alta: Okay. I think we're ready to start. Welcome everyone. And I'll start by introducing myself real quick. And then we'll jump right in. My name is Karen Ben-Altas. has been in the staffing and recruiting industry for the last 20 years, probably in the last 15 years or so have been focused on the VMS and MSP channels. Have headed the opportunity to walk as a recruiter, as supplier, as client as an MSP provider for many years. So I do have that kind of 360 view if I have held any role in this vicious cycle of recruiting. And in the last four years have implemented more than managing an in-house VMS program, Transamerica. 

Karen Ben-Alta: This is a global team program. I have a team that we are managing every aspect of the program in our, a contingent workforce center of excellence. And this is why I'm super excited about today's topic. I'm very passionate about the contingent workforce program and our partnership of course, with our supplier, which is the key to our success.

Karen Ben-Alta: And today's session. We'll discuss a few of the topics affecting the corporate contingent workforce programs and well, how well partnering with our preferred suppliers and how they are successfully navigating the challenges and mitigating all the risk for our company. The importance of adherence to the corporate rules and the guidelines, as well as the positive effects of forming the strong partnership that we have that benefits both the suppliers and the end client.

Karen Ben-Alta: This is why I have this amazing panel and I'm going to share. PDF file with you to show you a little bit about our program and about our fantastic pool of suppliers that we have with us here today, it will upload in a minute. Perfect. So let me know when you can see the screen looks good. So of course we have the introductions, then we'll go through a little bit of the overview of the program.

Karen Ben-Alta: It will have a discussion about what makes our suppliers so successful in that environment. And of course, we'll give a time to Q/A, which you are more than welcome to type in questions throughout the session on our chat that we will be monitoring. So this is it. And the first and a person that we have with us today is Irene Gardner. 

Karen Ben-Alta: She is with Robert Half, and Irene I'll let you introduce yourself. 

Irene Gardner: Thank you, Karen. Happy to be here today. Welcome to everyone. Irene Gardner . I think I might be the Grimm of the group, but I've been with Robert Half for 22 years and I am the managing vice president of our strategic accounts division.

Irene Gardner: So I manage a team of national account folks in the Midwest and I'm just glad to be here and join the panel. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Thank you, Irene. Next, we have Chandra with Aston Carter, formerly known as Aerotek. Chandra. 

Chandra Wiezorek: Yes. Thank you Karen. Hello, everybody is so excited to be here today and thank you Karen, for the opportunity to speak as part of this panel.

Chandra Wiezorek: I think we're going to have a very exciting and Really lucrative conversation today. But again, like Karen said, my name is Chandra Wiezorek, with Aston Carter, which is formerly Aerotek. We recently announced some very exciting news that we were splitting into three separate operating companies based on the industry and specialization that we support.

Chandra Wiezorek: But I have been with Aston Carter Aerotek for nearly 11 years. And I currently serve as a strategic accounting executive where I partner. And help manage the relationships and partnerships with some of our largest, most strategic customers. Nationwide in particular, I specialize more on the professional services, third party BPO high volume call center space as well as our insurance and financial services.

Karen Ben-Alta: Great. Thank you Chandra. Next last but not least Matt Dobbins with Apex Systems. 

Matt Dobbins: Hey, thanks everybody. Thanks Karen. Really excited to be here today, along with my other panelists. So thank you for the opportunity and looking forward to presenting. I've been with apex systems for a decade of 10 years and as much as Chandra, Irene, but definitely for a long time.

Matt Dobbins: I support our financial services and insurance clients as a Senior Director of National Accounts. And I have five total that I support nationwide. I have 28 account managers underneath me. And a lot of those are dedicated to Transamerica and Karen and our team. So looking forward to presenting today and looking forward and getting the same.

Karen Ben-Alta: Great. Thank you. And with that, let us jump right in. We will have today some sort of an informative session to address some of the topics that are affecting the corporate contingent workforce program. We'll discuss the partnership and the key principle of how this partnership is benefiting us. And of course, how well mitigating risk to the company while allowing and adhering the relation but also allowing our a fulfilled supplier to shine in the program. And so I'll tell you a little bit about our successful program that we have to be able to manage a successful program. And that's my strong belief. We need to have a great pool of suppliers that we heavily rely on. If you are a supplier, you always need to be in a strategic department.

Karen Ben-Alta: Now we need to department in the best way possible. And to be honest, they had very frequent communication about the program. No one issue is small, so we are willing to discuss anything, any question and challenges. And of course, the golden path to get here is to the program rules. I knew that the program was always coming.

Karen Ben-Alta: Is it? Nope. This is not set to prevent suppliers from doing more business with Transamerica, with any other program that they are working on, but it is crucial from a compliance standpoint. We strongly believe in unbiased sourcing and equal opportunity for all suppliers. We implemented this program specifically to understand the field that most fulfilled suppliers will have after they went through in cultivating trusting relationships with all of our hiring managers and they will still be afraid then. Like many other programs, they will feel that implementing a VMS system will cut off all the insights and all the relationships and personal relationships that they had with our managers. We always had in mind to ensure that the valuable insights that they have and all the knowledge of our company and industry will always be there to ensure business continuity for both suppliers and companies.

Karen Ben-Alta: And the same service level and strong partnership will continue, even though we are under the VMS structure. So that was always the goal. One of the other keys that we have as a PMO office is we want to act as an ally to all of our suppliers. We want to create and form this great partnership with our suppliers.

Karen Ben-Alta: And that's why we are partnering based on other steam. So when we implemented the program we conducted in another team, each job posting that we are creating is usually released by two, three to five suppliers at most. We're trying to make sure that all suppliers get an opportunity to walk with us, fulfill our needs and that they get a really good opportunity to play and present the top talent to our managers. We are not inevitable, were interested in a master vendor solution that was very popular seven years ago, but we really valued the diversity of the suppliers and the contingent workers that is essential to our success. We have, we are utilizing field glass as a vendor management system, tool it to add then advantage a highly agile platform to manage all the aspects of the contingent workforce.

Karen Ben-Alta: We are not using an, a managed service provider or an MSP, but we are rather having an internal program management team. And we're keeping the program. In-house is not a corporate 18. The Transamerica contingent workforce program is comprehensive, strategic and a very sustainable program, that is governance, and to add management of all the contingent work pills and will using data and scalable contingent workforce near program management that is flexible to internal change and external changes as well.

Karen Ben-Alta: We are enjoying, thankfully, a very high percent of jobs in the company. And this system feels glass for us is serving as the system I called and it's integrated internally with several key AP data and analytics risk identity, real estate systems to make sure we have a full overview and control of our contingent workforce population.

Karen Ben-Alta: So I'm managing the PMO team, the VMS specialists that are key. Behind them managing the day-to-day, they are essential and crucial for the success of the program and dealt fantastic and doing an amazing job. All In all, our main goal is to partner with our suppliers on the needs that Transamerica has, and we speak fairly frequently with all of our suppliers.

Karen Ben-Alta: I really do think, and I know I emphasize it already, but this is the key for a successful program. I've walked in the past in several companies, the PMO team or the MSP team. Wasn't always the most responsive to suppliers. And I think that it is a key that we need to understand that the stakeholders for any successful programs are not just the company we work for or act, it's also the suppliers.

Karen Ben-Alta: Equal stakeholder in this equation and to be successful and be able to build on the contingent workforce solutions. We have to adhere to both sides of the company and without him, we will not be able to build it. Lastly, it is essential not to have too many suppliers in each area. I cannot have 10 or 15 suppliers walking on one requisition.

Karen Ben-Alta: So we do try to balance it out. We are opening very small amounts of after the, for very unique or niche areas to add additional suppliers, but we aim to have a good balance of suppliers, but also to make the sourcing and the fulfillment post as possible and attainable to all suppliers

Karen Ben-Alta: Partnership. As I said, this is the keyword here. This is the wholemark for our relationship is for the suppliers to develop their top top notch talent. We must help them deliver. We have to work together and achieve this shared goal of meeting our business needs and balancing our spend with high quality supplier partnership.

Karen Ben-Alta: To ask the management is the risk of the workforce is the responsibility of the suppliers. So we do ask our suppliers to manage their workforce to avoid the risk of co-employment. We encourage suppliers to walk with them, encourage registration, monitor time sheets submittals, and data management, assignment status.

Karen Ben-Alta: Everything that goes on. We ask our supplier to manage and reach out to us so we can walk with a manager to mitigate and ensure everything is up-to-date and partnering. So we have to partner on all of those to make sure that we're keeping everybody in the loop on every issue, how small or big. Now, we'll start with a few questions to mypanel right here.

Karen Ben-Alta: And I'll direct some of the questions that I have for them. And I'll be happy to address it in the Q/A if you have additional questions, please put them in. We'll try to address everything. So the first question I had was what do you think that you as a company are doing differently to be successful in the contingent workforce program and how are you partnering with the PMO office to have an advantage?

Karen Ben-Alta: Chandra, do you want to take this one? 

Chandra Wiezorek: Yes. Absolutely. Thank you, Karen. And I really want to highlight Karen, thank you for the overview there of what Transamerica is doing and the pro the excellent program that you've built there. You spoke to a really, a few key factors that I want to highlight too, that have really always been, and I think important, especially in those, with any of our partners, but PMO and MSP partnerships as well.

Chandra Wiezorek: But now that we're experiencing, and I think we can probably all relate to this very rapidly changing economic landscape and workforce landscape, significant challenges that some of us have never faced before just with low unemployment rates and higher quit rates. And we've seen in the market with the workforce and, given a lot of that because of the pandemic that we're in, However, Karen, you spoke to the level of just communication and partnership and strategic transparency too.

Chandra Wiezorek: And I think that's key and something that. It's really an approach that I like to take with our PMO and MSP partners on. It being transparent of the challenges that we maybe are experiencing or facing in the marketplace. And making sure I'm arming my MSP and PMO partners with real life data maybe even more rapidly and often than we were previously, because it used to be where you could come in on a quarterly scorecard.

Chandra Wiezorek: Business review or even annually, evaluating things such as pay rates in the market or employee value propositions. But now we're seeing changes. Like we've never seen in that space. So the more we can arm our partners with that data point. The proof points. So not only what we're experiencing, but the facts themselves in order to help, not only our workforce be successful within these programs, but also, our end partners, end business to be successful, to meet their goals and objectives at the end of the day on the value of that workforce.

Chandra Wiezorek: The temporary workforce resources and consultants are bringing in on a day-to-day basis. And I'm sure many of you are aware, but I think just most recently we hit the lowest workforce participation rate that we've seen since since the 1970s the unemployment rate has dropped significantly nationally.

Chandra Wiezorek: It equates to less than one unemployed job applicant per job posting. I think it's roughly 0.6 for job applicants. So. The more that we can bring that data to life with our PMO and MSP partners. I think the more successful program that we can look to evaluate and build long-term with some of these strategic partners.

Karen Ben-Alta: Perfect. Thank you so much, Chandra. This was very insightful. Matt, do you have anything to add? What did you do differently to be successful in this program? 

Matt Dobbins: Well, I feel like Chandra nailed that for sure. Yes, data is so important, especially now with the changing landscape. I think what I'll say is at first, it's really important just to deliver.

Matt Dobbins: Provide quality candidates on time, that sort of thing. But as Chandra mentioned, that's becoming tougher and tougher to do. We're specific to IT. Apex systems is, and IT is in less than 1% unemployment right now. So finding the right type of talent when Transamerica needs it, it is tough. So obviously delivering when you need to deliver is number one, but I think That's what, that's, what our job is.

Matt Dobbins: Right. And I would say 95% of the time we come through on that. But when there's an issue, when you know, one of our account managers steps outside of what's supposed to be happening in terms of compliance, talking to a manager, maybe I think when a challenge arises, Karen talks a lot about partnership being head on with them, understanding, okay, this is what the program rules are addressing any issues.

Matt Dobbins: Directly with our internal team, making sure they understand the rules of engagement, but then also owning that when something happens, I feel like a partnership. And Karen, I think you would agree with Apex and then Transamerica if it's been totally transparent. And when there has been an issue, I think, we as suppliers and partners should be judged upon when something goes wrong and how we handle those situations, as opposed to when we're doing just what we're supposed to be doing.

Matt Dobbins: And so I think. Being as honest and open as we can with them. And then Karen mentioned this too, just the communication. They've been great in terms of helping us understand what those rules are, communicating those to us. We've been great with and, in terms of doing our job, but then also communicating back to them when there are issues and working together to make sure we get the right people in the right spots.

Matt Dobbins: So. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Perfect. Thank you, Matt. And I think that's actually a perfect leeway into the next question I wanted to address. This has been an extremely challenging label landscape lately. How well are you accommodating to meet your clients needs? In this great resignation or other names that it has been called, it's a trend.

Karen Ben-Alta: Is it affecting your sourcing strategies, your abilities to secure contractors for different positions? Irene, do you want to take this one? 

Irene Gardner: Sure. Thanks Karen. Sure. Well, it's I think, not only the panelists as well as probably everyone listening. Understands and feels the struggle. The struggle is real.

Irene Gardner: The struggle is real right now. One of the things that we did, we've always had a segment of our workforce that are called full-time full-time contractors. There are benched candidates. They get the same benefits that I do through Robert half. And we made a decision to significantly increase the number of full-time contractors that we have available.

Irene Gardner: So we could flat out have the workforce available when you're struggling with such low unemployment numbers, especially when you get to the professional areas. One of the things that we've done, we actually have currently increased by over 57%. Our investment in our bench staff, we were 5,000 candidates out that are always available that are full-time.

Irene Gardner: So that helps. We also recently launched a certified apprenticeship program and that program focuses on. Upskilling the available workforce, that's there and reaches the underserved demographics and also aligns with our and our clients DEI efforts. So that's been something, a little innovative that we have recently launched.

Irene Gardner: And then I think when you really just again, think about this land landscape, the great resignation, or I also read, recently. The great reshuffle, right? Cause it's really not about them leaving the workforce as much as moving job to job. And so really having an intense candidate care and retention investment, I think is just really critical.

Irene Gardner: We've had to increase the number of retention specialists that we have on board. Really shifting, I think the mentality to me. Candidates where they are. Recently we got a survey. It was a pretty big number, over 6,000 employees, including senior managers already. 1% of those folks were looking for work.

Irene Gardner: And so I think this whole environment really requires us to invest in our people, understand.

Irene Gardner: I keep performing, but those are some of the key things, Karen, that we're doing to accommodate and try to have enough people available to meet the needs of our client. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Great. Thank you. And then think the PDF just fell, but Chandra, do you have anything to add? 

Chandra Wiezorek: Just a few Irene.

Chandra Wiezorek: That was a great insight too. Thank you for sharing. And I think you really covered a lot of probably similar things that we've also invested in. And I really liked what you said there about the retention piece and investing in that retention space and meeting candidates where that, where they're at where we started to relate.

Chandra Wiezorek: Now that we're in this changing demographic and landscape that we're going through right now is starting to capture a lot more, exit survey information or post-training survey information to really understand, what is it that outside of wage increases too, because I think that's something that we're consistently consulting our business partners on.

Chandra Wiezorek: We do have to keep up with that trend in order to even attract the candidates away for the right opportunity. But what else are they looking for from an employee value proposition perspective too, and working with us, whether it's our MSP PMO partners or some of the customers that we serve outside of the PMO MSP space as well.

Chandra Wiezorek: And how do we build out a really strong EBP or employee value proposition? To first and foremost, attract those candidates in the door and then on the backside, retain them as well and listen rather than through other benefits of workforce flexibility. We've also partnered with a lot of our customers and I know we're going to get into the remote workforce topics here later on.

Chandra Wiezorek: So I don't want to speak too much to this. I myself really specialized in that high volume contact center customer care space. And that was an industry where a lot of those individuals had never worked remotely before. So there were challenges at the height or the beginning and height of the pandemic when we shifted that workforce home.

Chandra Wiezorek: Is from technology perspective and being able to train in that environment and really partnering with our customers and us being more involved in that training aspect and the day-to-day performance monitoring and managing aspect where we started to realign it and work with our customers to align.

Chandra Wiezorek: Revamping those trainer to rep ratios. We realized that some of the bigger training classes didn't work as well in a remote environment. So re gearing those ratios out and same with the team lead and the supervisor and the manager rep to ratios to know, Hey, we need to work with people and meet them where they're at to make sure that this is a good experience for them.

Chandra Wiezorek: So that. That's been a really big one and what we've kind of done to combat that, what I'd call the great resignation, but I think Irene, you really said it best when, if you haven't been impacted by that, I would be quite surprised. I think we all certainly have, and we've all had to adapt pretty quickly on that.

Chandra Wiezorek: And then one other piece too, is we're seeing a huge trend across multiple industries right now where companies are starting to really look at the qualifications and the requirements of what they're asking candidates, maybe bring to the table and. Being a little bit more open-minded I think on, they don't necessarily have to have all of these skills where it do they have the basis of the skills and we can the ups, upskill them or up, train them to open up the candidate pool and bring them in also revamping such things as, and I know this isn't doable for all customers, but we've seen companies start to look at.

Chandra Wiezorek: Are there things we can tweak in our background check process or drug screening or compliance requirements to make that offer a start timeframe a little bit more quickly as well. And that they can retain those candidates even more quickly to get them in the door. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Fantastic. And this is actually a really hot topic.

Karen Ben-Alta: This fatalist. COVID-19 has affected everybody the way we walk, the way we source, the way we ship, the way we train. Matt, do you want to touch a little bit on how the walk from home scenario and how would this affect your workforces at all? 

Matt Dobbins: Yeah, absolutely. I think some of the talks that I've been in have dropped already, especially with upscaling has been so big for us.

Matt Dobbins: As we see more people working from home, a lot of companies used to have, and Transamerica included, used to have strategic locations where everybody had to sit there. Now everyone's kind of open to working from home. And so that's really opened up the candidate pool. That's helped us identify better talent, especially in the tech space where I'd mentioned that unemployment in IT is less than 1%.

Matt Dobbins: And so now, as opposed to just instead of Iowa, where Transamerica is headquartered now, Nationwide which is really exciting, so we can get best talent and oftentimes we can get them a little bit cheaper which is always great for our customers that, and they love that too. I did want to hit on the up-skilling piece though.

Matt Dobbins: Cause I feel like that's a big part of retaining people to give them an opportunity to continue to expand their skillsets, not just say, Hey, you're going to be a contractor for us, go work at this client. And then, hopefully we can place it in another client. How can we continue to build them from a PR professional standpoint?

Matt Dobbins: To really help them, be able to blossom their career. How can we help retain them on our bench so that they're not just leaving for a couple extra dollars here or there, but that really, that they have some loyalty to our customers. And that obviously translates to, to happy contractors, which, obviously is great for all of our clients too.

Matt Dobbins: So that upskilling piece has really been a game changer to make sure we can retain talent and keep them placed with our clients. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Fantastic. Thank you, Matt. And I think we lost Irene. I'm not sure Irene is with us. Okay, so let's move on for now and we'll go back to Irene after that. So Matt, I'm going to stay with you for the next question.

Karen Ben-Alta: Can you share any additional VMS or MSP examples of good Partnership and what they do to encourage you to and how we'll be successful in those types of program and feel free to refer to any type of programs that are servicing, any type of clients in-house or MSP based. 

Matt Dobbins: Sure. Yes. So I think the biggest thing with these types of programs.

Matt Dobbins: And Karen mentioned this at the very top. If people weren't here, I noticed we had several people join the session, but the partnership and communication with those PMO teams with those MSP teams, that is absolutely critical. And for us to be able to, and Chandra mentioned this, be able to bring real live data to them to say, Hey, maybe this bear, rate isn't realistic.

Matt Dobbins: Maybe we can increase that. And you're going to see X amount, more candidates or. Hey, have we thought about this process? Why are we interviewing people? Buyers is a three-step interview process. Well, maybe we can knock this down to one or two interview steps and be able to retain talent and get them in the door quicker.

Matt Dobbins: Because a lot of times we want to make sure we ensure we get the right talent. But obviously speed is really important too. So, the best partnerships that we have are our MSPs and PMOs that are open to that kind of feedback, where we have a really great partnership or we can just talk through strategy together and that they're open to that.

Matt Dobbins: I would say we're where something's become unsuccessful is where it's like, Hey, these are our rules of engagement. You can deal with it. And they don't really, we don't the vendors or suppliers don't really have a voice in those programs. And those tend to be a little bit more successful for us.

Karen Ben-Alta: Great. And the next question I'll ask each and every one of you, because we've probably have your own, different view on it. What trends do you anticipate the contingent workforce space will have in the next deal? And do you think any trends you've seen in the market need to be addressed by the corporate that you all support?

Karen Ben-Alta: Do we need to change and your requirements on our end? Do we need to change? Look for candidates, be flexible on specific things, increase all change rates, any type of advice, basically to all the corporations that you're supporting based on what you see out there.

Karen Ben-Alta: Matt, would you like to take this one? 

Matt Dobbins: Sure. I'm back to back here. Yeah, no problem. I think the more flexible our clients can be the better and the more open-minded we are. And so it is us, our job as suppliers to make sure we're bringing solutions to the table that could work for the clients to make sure that they feel they fulfill their business needs at the end of the day, at the end of the day that's our Job.

Matt Dobbins: There's multiple ways to do that. I think one of the biggest ones is just making sure we keep an open mind, open dialogue and bring good talent to the table. Now, in terms of contingent labor, I've seen a trend to becoming more managed services as well. Whereas it used to be a Transamerica we supported, and a lot of our clients just kind of like onesy twosy contracts to hire.

Matt Dobbins: Now it's more of like, all right, Apex you own this project. Here's a show. And how do we come to the table with a combination of bench, resources of, US and nearshore or offshore resources? What does that solution look like? To make sure that Transamerica is able to be successful for their customers.

Matt Dobbins: So I think that's a really good start is just to be able to talk through those customizable solutions and make sure our clients are able to be flexible in order to get that best talent. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Great. 

Chandra Wiezorek: Yeah. Great job, Matt. I think you covered a lot of great points there as well, but I'm at top of mind for me, I think just that creative solutions and services shift.

Chandra Wiezorek: I think you're going to see more of that. Whether it's a hybrid approach or, full born, we'll have it more of a managed process as well. And I think we were really thrust into that even more over the last couple of years, just given some of the challenges that we face, like we talked about with the remote.

Chandra Wiezorek: Of course. And I think some of the gaps that we all said, Hey, we've got to really look okay. If this is going to be the future, that remote workforce or some sort of hybrid model, because companies have, I think, found, Hey, we can attract and attract candidates and resources from all over the country.

Irene Gardner: Oh no. Am I echoing everybody else? Okay. I'm echoing. 

Chandra Wiezorek: No, that's okay. So really looking at how we lean in and engage with these employees, offer up solutions from a retention perspective, technology perspective, really offering creativity there and then another trend. And I think the data speaks to it as these.

Chandra Wiezorek: The challenging and rapidly changing conditions that we are experiencing right now in the marketplace.

Chandra Wiezorek: At least within the next, probably 12 to 18 months where I think we're going to continue to see that high, I don't want to say resignation, but Irene, you spoke to that. And the challenges with the low unemployment rates and the remote opportunities that we're seeing everywhere.

Chandra Wiezorek: So I do see those trends continuing down that path certainly. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Thank you, Chandra. This is extremely important. Irene, I really don't know if you heard that last question, but we will discuss what trends do you anticipate in the contingent workforce space that we'll have in the next year, and do think that those trends that you see in the mountain right now needs to be addressed by the cooperation that you all supposing throughout.

Irene Gardner: Thank you, Karen. Well, I think that there's, this, there's a saying that we've all heard a lot, there's a war for talent. And recently we had a speaker at corporate and this comment that he made.

Irene Gardner: And talent has won and, really just making an entire shift in your mind that you really do have to meet the candidates where they are. The corporations who provide, flexible schedule who are willing to if possible work remote in that recent survey. I mentioned the third biggest component for moving is the ability to work remotely.

Irene Gardner: And then I just, the investment back in the candidate, we've kind of talked about these trends but you know, to that point, it's like it's never been before. And so I think we have to challenge yourself to really make that mind shift. To meeting that, to meeting the talent.

Irene Gardner: It's going to continue to become more difficult. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Okay, thank you, Irene. I think that was perfect. I did say we have a few questions on the chat that I'm going to address. Now, the first question is from Delia. How are customers and suppliers preparing to meet diversity goals? 

Karen Ben-Alta: I can share from our end the cooperation. We definitely have a diversity strategy. So we do have several diverse suppliers that we are engaging into our workforce. And we're walking with them on certain needs. They are actually doing a lot of competitive bidding as well. So with. It is an equal opportunity, unbiased to play as well, but it is interesting to hear.

Karen Ben-Alta: Do you partner any of you with a diverse supplier of a, maybe on the cult basis or the Frank other way to increase diversity,

Karen Ben-Alta: Chandra, Matt.

Chandra Wiezorek: Oh, sorry, my microphone froze there. Can you hear me okay? 

Karen Ben-Alta: Yep.

Chandra Wiezorek: Okay, perfect. We do have and Karen, I'm glad you spoke to that as well. We do have inclusion and diversity initiatives internally to ensure that. The best representation of our workforce, our internal workforce, our external workforce, and then marketplace from partnering as well.

Chandra Wiezorek: And really from a perspective, we do lean into the programs and, we want to ensure that we are understanding of what our partners and our clients initiatives are to ensure that we can engage correctly from an ind or DNI perspective from there. But then we also do have strategic diverse supplier partners as well that we work with.

Chandra Wiezorek: From there. So there is an opportunity to strategically partner there. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Correct. Anybody wants to take this one as well?

Karen Ben-Alta: Nothing to add. Okay. In that case, we'll move to the next question. I see Sierra. And this one is for you Matt, you spoke a lot about upscaling and rescaling your workforce to retain them. Can you give us a few examples of how you're effectively engaging contractors to participate in upscaling programs?

Matt Dobbins: Sure. So I think that goes back to something Irene mentioned early on in the conversation about our contractor help program, understanding we have a constant communication with our contractors, understanding what they're going through day to day, and understanding some of the challenges they might be having at a particular client.

Matt Dobbins: And just making sure that they're happy because the happier they are, the better, the record performs better. They make Apex look better the better they're going to do for our clients. So. And in those conversations when we're kind of checking in on them sometimes this upskilling comes up like, oh, I wish I could understand this technology better.

Matt Dobbins: Or TransAmerica is focused on Salesforce this year. How can you help me upscale? If I'm just a Java developer, how can you help me upscale into the Salesforce platform? So we've invested in several different training sites free of charge. We can give contractors.

Matt Dobbins: Different licenses so that they can actually up-skill in real time, on, on their own time to make sure they get different certifications that they can make sure that they understand different technologies. They might be working a little bit faster or better. And we find that all that ability to upskill them in real time often helps with retention.

Matt Dobbins: They feel like, that they're learning they're continuously on the job, kind of learning. And what Transamerica does that a lot of my other clients may not do is that they really make our contractors feel like they're part of the community. Yes. I know that we were supposed to have them as part of our W2 and all those things.

Matt Dobbins: And there, there is a divide where Transamerica wants to all that ownership to kind of go on, not us, but I will say all of our contractors while they're there, they do feel like they're part of the TransAmerica Team and that goes a long way for retention as well. And so while we are talking with our contractors, we're also talking with the Transamerica managers to understand, okay, well, is this contractor weak in a certain area?

Matt Dobbins: And I think change about that up maybe about like, okay, maybe this isn't the absolute 100% rockstar, ideal candidate, but where can we upscale them? Where can we help them? Get a little bit more information to turn them into that, especially because talent is so scary as if they're 80% of the way there.

Matt Dobbins: What can we as a company do to help them be productive in your mind? So I think I answered the question, but let me know. Yes, 

Karen Ben-Alta: no, that was perfect. Then this is actually exactly what I was trying to say before when we are implementing vendor management systems or programs. Well, I'm not trying to cut that relationship.

Karen Ben-Alta: The relationship, the feedback suppliers, working with managers to make sure the contractor is all successful, getting trained, getting everything that they needed to be successful in the environment, in the job and seeing if there is any Gap we can walk together before we go into terminations and having attritions, we will all walk together.

Karen Ben-Alta: And this is definitely not something that the program will ever be part of or involved, and we will not have any limitations. The only limitations that the program is usually put is in the sourcing process. Only just to encourage an unbiased sourcing process. And with that they actually have another question, so everybody knows that competition drives best when there is a level playing field for all the suppliers.

Karen Ben-Alta: Do you feel like in-house program vendor neutral MSPs, maybe. MSPs, which one works best to give you that playing level, that level playing field that you get the equal opportunity and the sourcing is as unbiased as possible. Is there any specific business model that works better for you or do you walk well with the one Irene?

Karen Ben-Alta: I'll start with you. Sure. 

Chandra Wiezorek: Thank you, Karen. 

Irene Gardner: Now I'm thinking through your question. And so many of the answers around the program really lead to the culture of the program that I think is set by the client. And so, I think there can be level playing fields in a competitive environment with an MSP or when it's managed directly.

Irene Gardner: I think that we're finding second evolution. A lot of clients are managing the programs directly themselves. Because then there is no third party who may or may not be owned by a firm that is also in the staffing business. So probably it's our default, what we might consider best in class.

Irene Gardner: We certainly have successful relationships with MSP clients as well, but I do think that it streams a line of communication. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Great. Chandra, if you want to kick this one as well. 

Chandra Wiezorek: Yeah, absolutely. And to kind of pivot off of what I read spoke to me, because there was a lot of great information there.

Chandra Wiezorek: It's not necessarily one program over the other, which you said goes back to the culture of the program. And I think what I spoke to most at the beginning of this conversation was more around the community, the communication, the transparency, and the partnerships. So whether it's internally run, the PMO office, that's the running point.

Chandra Wiezorek: We'll have communication and opportunity for us as suppliers to share feedback, to really understand what they ask and the need. Whereas I see it not as successful as when you're part of a program. You feel like the MSP team maybe feels like that they're just a wreck taker and they're just kicking out that, the bullet points of information and the suppliers don't really have an opportunity to seek to understand, what is that operations team really looking for?

Chandra Wiezorek: So engaging in whether it's supplier based calls qualification, intakes, and really understanding that and an opportunity to share insight on. Having the MSP or PMO office share that feedback and the data points that we talked about and what's going to make that a successful project and what they're looking for.

Chandra Wiezorek: So I think it goes back, like Irene said to the culture and then just that level of transparency and communication. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Fantastic. Matt, I'll let you, and so that, and I think that this is the, actually the last question we have, so feel free to. 

Matt Dobbins: Okay. Yeah, no, I'm loving a lot of good points there. The other thing is, with Apex, we deal with both.

Matt Dobbins: And so there's just so many clients that have both nowadays, and that's kind of the reality. I think, where we work best is to kind of piggyback on both the other panelists is just the communication and then being open and honest with us and thinking through flexible solutions, I will say that, on the flip side and Karen, this is kind of your world, but you know, if there's anybody on the other side of the MSP world, I mean, choose your vendors carefully.

Matt Dobbins: Make sure that they're going to partner with you, make sure that they are going to provide good candidates, make sure they want to work within your rules of engagement. And while I can know the goal for us, at least for us is to make sure we can work together. If that's not the way your MSP works, then make sure you can find partners that work that way with you.

Matt Dobbins: Because I think at the end of the day, if I was able to kind of sum up a lot of the things that we're talking about, It comes down to trust and the ability to communicate and be straightforward with your partners. And at the end of the day, that's going to provide and yield the best type of results.

Karen Ben-Alta: Absolutely. And I'll feed out loud that supply optimization in certain programs is not something to be afraid of. If a supplier is not doing well in a specific program, it's absolutely okay to reset and discuss, okay, this program is not right for you, or this is not the type of positions that you need to support, maybe discuss, address, and maybe open them to.

Karen Ben-Alta: Supporting a different side of the business or being altogether out of the program. But this is definitely not something that we should be afraid of doing as a corporation. And this will definitely benefit the suppliers as well. Well, I do not see any additional questions in the chat. I'm looking to see if we have anything else.

Karen Ben-Alta: I actually think we do.

Karen Ben-Alta: There is one question from Tamala, walking with an MSP. Why and when should I consider a VMS? So it all depends on what the company is willing to invest. In my world the company was more than happy to invest into an in-house program. And I had the knowledge and the talent and the ability to bring people into the world to create and build this.

Karen Ben-Alta: Team of amazing supporting team that I have. That's managing the day-to-day. It's not always the case. And if you don't have the budget and you don't have the bandwidth and you don't have the information on how to manage and how to implement such a program, because it's a big ask, usually an MSP is how most clients would stuck, whether it's neutral, vendor neutral or whether it's not, it will be a supplier. That's also a staffing supplier on your program. And there are several programs, the fees the supplier pays, or the front day fees to the VMS supplier is different. It all depends on your ability to be able to do whatever it is that you need.

Karen Ben-Alta: But definitely MSP would be the route if there is no budget to advance, in a team of PMO in-house.

Karen Ben-Alta: I see another question from Yudita as a supplier that specialized in diverse staffing, it is still held little to get into MSP programs. If they don't already have proof of your performance while MSPs look to partner with a very supplier, the other is concerned with your contingent workforce demographics.

Karen Ben-Alta: That's a fantastic question. And yes. And this is a problem that a lot of the suppliers are having into getting a, not just the VMS or MSP into MSP, into VMS programs as well, just because. My pool of suppliers is safe. Adding additional suppliers is always challenging because we always look at that thin line between balancing what we have, what we need and the will to not overwhelm.

Karen Ben-Alta: We wanted to keep everybody having a fair chance and unbiased sourcing. I wouldn't want to. Too many suppliers. And then every position that they have will be released to 7, 8, 9 suppliers, which will be a bit too much. So it is challenging, but I think that they inclusion and diversity trend, well, it's not really a trend, but the way that people were filled with, I think every program in a company now have a policy have, is interested in integrating the diverse suppliers and diverse staffing into the workforce if they don't already have a program in place. And I think that's definitely something that we are seeing quite a bit in the workforce. Matt, Irene, any of you wants to address one of those Chandra, maybe you as well.

Karen Ben-Alta: If you ever seen any issues. It faced many diverse staffing issues. Are you partnering with the various staffing? I think you said you do to mitigate the goals and reach those goals. If you are not one

Karen Ben-Alta: oh, Irene, I think you muted. 

Irene Gardner: I think that there are examples, Robert half is, does not own a third party or an MSP relationship. So just speaking as a supplier, there definitely have been situations where we've partnered with diverse suppliers. Our joint effort to provide them contractors.

Irene Gardner: So, I think every program's different depending upon the size and the requirements of the client in and of itself. So I guess I would just say, we certainly have done that and are willing to do that one client's request. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Perfect. And I did see the questions flying in, so that's fantastic.

Karen Ben-Alta: Avinash is TransAmerica open to new vendors. I love that question. I am getting those questions, probably 50 questions a day. Usually the best way is to email me. I do have a list then I know it sounds like I'm saying, so I do have a list of prospective suppliers and we, when we do have a need, I am actually going back and looking into what they have, what additional suppliers, if I need to, that would always be the best, but what are the best ways to approach an organization? Personally? I would say not cold calling. There is nothing that interrupts my day more than just getting. Out of the blue, a call from a supplier I've never spoken with or wanted to reach out to email is always super appropriate.

Karen Ben-Alta: And if you can attach your capabilities, your strong suit, not just telling us we can do everything, let us know what your best and most qualified because no MSP and no company will add a supplier to everything. So definitely focus on a couple of additional areas that you all are very strong in and we can absolutely highlight, or we would like you very much.

Karen Ben-Alta: Are you a minority? Are you a small business? Anything that you have to make you more attractive? This is definitely being taken into consideration and we are definitely going to look into it. 

Karen Ben-Alta: Another question. The journey of building a new client partnership is considered the most difficult. Would you all quote some areas that should definitely form part of the discussion in better understanding what's at stake for both parties and this is definitely considered most difficult, all it's made.

Karen Ben-Alta: And I think that this is most tailored to you guys. And if you want to ask this question, how are you building that client partnership? And What the areas of your forming gate? 

Matt Dobbins: I can start. For me, the biggest thing is when we get an opportunity, make sure we treat that opportunity like Gold. 

Matt Dobbins: Make sure that we are doing everything in our possible power to make sure we come through and then build the referrals. That's the way we've kind of grown our business. So we started at Transamerica's as a very small supplier. We had a couple of contractors and we built it. So through word of mouth, through, the ability to perform when asked on a difficult requisition, I think that's always kind of a game changer.

Matt Dobbins: And so building kind of your brand within the client is always I, it's, I would like to do it from the ground up and that's not the easiest way. But I feel like that's the most lasting way. And that's why we have such a good partnership with you guys. 

Karen Ben-Alta: I agree. Well, I think that that was the last question we had and I wanted to thank everybody for joining us and my wonderful panel.

Karen Ben-Alta: Thank you so much. It truly has been insightful and eye opening and I can't thank you enough for joining me today. Definitely looking forward to our continued partnership and communication. And thanks everyone. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Chandra Wiezorek: Thank you. Thank you.


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Karen Ben-Alta

Chandra Wiezorek

Matt Dobbins

Irene Gardner




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