Achieving the business benefits of an effective direct sourcing program requires some adjustments within the enterprise in terms of how it relates to independent professionals. As this portion of the workforce continues to grow, its members—independent business owners as well as independent talent—are interested in more than pay rates. They want to grow their businesses, honing existing skills and learning new ones in order to expand their markets. They seek meaningful and interesting work with clients who align with their values. Many are focused on cultivating a portfolio of Clients of Choice, companies where they can contribute more over time as they gain a better understanding of management goals and strategies.
Targeting, attracting, engaging, and curating high-value independents for your direct sourcing program requires a level of understanding among line and hiring managers. Here are three areas where improving understanding can strengthen and grow your program:
- The difference between using a staffing agency and direct sourcing. Direct sourcing brings the recruiting and vetting of independent candidates in-house. Once high-quality talent has been onboarded, getting them in for future projects is quick and easy. And calling on independent professionals who know the company, know the roles they fill, and understand the organization’s culture will be able to hit the ground running. Selling benefits like these can motivate hiring managers to adjust (if needed) their resource planning.
- How to keep independent candidates warm. An example of a resource planning adjustment, based on my experience working with MBO client companies, is thinking ahead about skills that will (or may) be needed in a month, two months, or a quarter and keeping the direct sourcing team—your procurement and HR teams, for example—informed about projected needs. In turn, the direct sourcing team can let talent network members know about future opportunities and the anticipated timing. This can keep members engaged and help ensure that preferred candidates are available when the role is there.
- How to effectively segment messaging within your talent network. It is highly likely that the talent in your direct sourcing program will be monolithic in terms of the level of knowledge and expertise. For example, the content and approach you take with a senior-level independent who has been in their own business for several years will differ from how you communicate with less experienced talent or those new to solo business ownership. This is where marketing can assist HR (if needed) to create communications that are of value to each of your audiences within the talent network.
Achieving understanding in these three areas will be a giant step in the direction of a successful, effective direct sourcing program.