Today more than ever, businesses must compete in a War for Talent that is not just about finding and retaining high-performing, full-time employees, but also about engaging and re-engaging top independent professionals.
MBO Partners’ newest research, Client of Choice, examines why and how independent professionals pick the clients with whom they choose to work with.
The detailed report, the second of such in a new series of MBO research, explores the key motivations and drivers of the 7.3 million independent professionals currently working in the U.S. For purposes of this report, independent professionals are defined as those who provide services to businesses rather than products.
“For businesses to effectively compete in the marketplace, it is critical to engage the best and the brightest independent professionals,” says Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners. “To do so, they need to understand both how and why independent professionals choose their clients, and what clients can do to position themselves as a Client of Choice.”
The report examines how companies should structure policies, procedures, and engagement practices to attract, engage, and re-engage top independent professional talent.
Here are four key learnings from the report:
Making your organization attractive to independents is an essential step in the road to becoming a Client of Choice.
“Businesses looking to be a Client of Choice for independent professionals should know that communication is the number one driver for client satisfaction,” says Linda Mann, Senior Vice President, Direct and Connect Business Units, at MBO Partners. “At a time when companies are under pressure to attract top independent talent, our research shows that a good onboarding process, a clear project scope, and a recognition that they are making an impact are key to highly-satisfied independent professionals.”
In many engagements today, independents call the shots. 82% of independent professionals say they have some or a lot of choice in determining who they work with.
As a result, most independents like their clients and client relationships, with 85% saying they are very satisfied and only 1% saying they are very dissatisfied.
The most significant factors that contribute to the satisfaction of independent professionals are: working with clients who appreciate the quality of their work, feeling that clients value them for the work they provide, liking their clients, and getting paid well.
A desire greater work/life flexibility (59%), a desire to control their schedule (57%), and a desire or need to earn more money (46%) are top reasons for going independent.
As with younger employees, Millennial independent professionals need more guidance than their older peers.
Seventy-five percent of Millennial independent professionals said they want clients to provide some kind of education and training, versus 49% of non-Millennials. Millennial independent professionals are a growing presence in the independent workforce, with 68% working independently for less than two years, compared with 32% of non-Millennials.
For more insights into what it takes to be a Client of Choice, please visit mbopartners.com/client-of-choice.
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