October 30, 2014
Building a deep bench of talent is integral to being a best-in- class organization. Yet many companies continue to rely on traditional methods that do not embrace the 21st century work landscape.
As work arrangements have shifted to include both traditional and independent work, so too should talent recruitment and engagement methods.
As a leader or HR professional, your next top-performing employee may be an independent contractor. The new work landscape demands a broader strategic talent management plan that integrates a dynamic mix of full time and flexible, project based workers.
Below are 5 tips for helping you to build and manage a strong cloud-based talent bench.
- Keep score. Have a defined process for assessing the performance of independent contractors and consultants. Allow hiring managers and other stakeholders to provide feedback on independent workers and small firms. Use a review process that looks beyond the deliverable to communication, organization, and expertise.
- Seek out team players. Look for contractors and consultants who fit your organizational culture. Certain highly capable independent consultants who are skilled experts in their field wouldn't fit an on-site position. These contractors remain valuable for projects— but may not make the cut if the position requires regular interaction with your employees or if potential recruitment as a traditional employee.
- Lock in the project experts. Identify contractors with in-demand skills and expertise. Your virtual bench should include these players who offer something that is hard to find and is of value to your company. Having these contractors on your roster can help you to quickly develop new lines of business, open new markets or execute on key objectives.
- Keep work flowing. Keep your best contractors engaged with consistent work opportunities. Give your independent contractors short term freelance projects and look for ways to engage them more deeply so you become their client of choice. Even without an immediate full time opening, you can offer projects that have a longer duration or a broader scope of work. Keep the lines of communication open between projects and nurture relationships. For some experts, independent work is not a final destination, but a rung on the career ladder. While most remain committed to independent work, there are professionals independents would consider a transition back into traditional work for the right opportunity with the right company.
- Be the top pick. Organizations have become more adept at sourcing and recruiting talent, but many need to build their value proposition for engaging contractors and consultants. Build an employment brand that resonates with the kind of flexible talent that you are seeking to attract. You should seek to be the kind of company for whom a top performing contractor would want to work. Best practices here include providing a clear engagement methodology, competitive payment terms, and a culture that values project-based engagement.
The final ingredient for a strong cloud-based talent solution is to consider the operating realities and needs. Companies should use both engagement solutions and technology that helps to identify and manage this new talent option. Solutions like the Managed Contractor Cloud - a hybrid offering combining independent contractor engagement specialists with cloud contracting software - can redefine the independent worker talent engagement process.
Whatever solution organizations leverage, the key takeway is to develop a focus on curating contract talent communities that enable a company to retain, track and re-deploy independent contractors that enterprise hiring managers identify as promising, qualified resources.
Any solution must also include a systematic process for providing a steady flow of project assignments to the virtual bench. The most important imperative for success is to create a project pipeline and fill it with the best-in-class talent in your industry - before someone else does.
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