There are several reasons “why” to curate an independent talent community as part of your direct sourcing program. The relationships formed between company managers and employees and community members, and between community members themselves, support a high-performing worker population that can make a significant contribution to business growth.
Establish your community by leveraging touchpoints of branding that have proven successful in full-time talent acquisition and that are relevant to independent talent. Then build from there.
Building Your Independent Talent Community
Best practices for building a thriving independent talent community go beyond the “why” to “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “how.”
At the beginning of the build, focus on adding members from two areas. First, include independent talent that is currently working or previously worked in the company. This can be a good community foundation as these are people who already know your processes and culture, so they can be helpful to new members. For the second area, identify key skill areas that are needed in the company right now. Focus on attracting independent talent with expertise in those areas and making them available for hiring managers to take action.
On the company side, appoint one or more moderators who will guide discussions, organize events, and help new members integrate into the community. To do their job effectively, it’s important that the moderator have a good understanding of the independent worker experience. After the community has become established, consider having members vote to assign one or more moderators.
At the start of the initiative, create a balanced scorecard of business and program KPIs. Present this scorecard as part of presentations to management and staff about the community. Your governance team will monitor the scorecard status periodically. Be sure to communicate results to management and staff to promote the community and keep it top of mind.
Create a communication, education, and events strategy for the community that is designed to drive member participation. Focus on elements that will help members build their own businesses and that will help them be successful in their work with the company. After implementation, consider the first three months after the community launch a “test and learning” period. Evaluate outcomes and adjust your strategy based on insights gained. Continue to evaluate strategy outcomes periodically.
Governance is key to your community’s success. Create a multidisciplinary group of business and functional leaders to take ownership of the community. This group will help set community goals (in partnership with the moderators), monitor the performance scorecard, and evaluate the engagement strategy.
Create short-term and long-term process and integration roadmaps for embedding the community into your direct sourcing program. The roadmaps should take resource allocation into account so that the milestones can be as realistic as possible. Also, think in terms of scaling the community along with the direct sourcing program.
Last but certainly not least, focus on the independent talent experience. Each interaction between members and company employees should drive value, loyalty, and, ultimately, affinity. Pump up the positive energy and keep that going!