How to Define Your Direct Sourcing Strategy  

By Cori McKee | July 25, 2023

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Key Points

A direct sourcing program focuses on the most business-critical skills and roles that independent professionals fill.

The process for identification of skills and roles to include in the direct sourcing program is data-driven.

To make sure your direct sourcing strategy stays on point, continue to gather and analyze data periodically.

We’ve covered several topics about a direct sourcing program, including building a skills assessment for your program business case, three areas to help improve understanding, the company functions that comprise your direct sourcing dream team, planning the stepping stones of your direct sourcing journey, and keys to program success 

A direct sourcing program does not encompass all independent talent engaged by an enterprise. Rather, it is focused on the most business-critical skills and roles that independent professionals fill. Identifying those skills and roles is part of the early stages of program planning and will define the strategies to pursue.  

Use Data to Set Your Direct Sourcing Strategy

The process for skill and role identification is data-driven and two-pronged.  

1. Evaluate Your Current Workforce Mix

Gather data for your independent contractors over the past 12 months. Look at the roles and skill areas for which the highest number of contractors were hired. For this group, note the range of billing rates. Create a list that reflects this data. 

2. Forecast Your Future Workforce Mix

For the second “prong,” canvas managers to find out what skill areas and roles they plan to fill with independent talent in the coming 12 months, along with expected billing rates. 

Analyze the current and forecast lists to create the strategic set of skills and roles to consider for inclusion in your direct sourcing program. 

Consider a Phased Approach for Your Direct Sourcing Program

It’s not unusual to find that you have an extensive list of independent contractor roles and skills that are of high value to the enterprise. Rather than attempting to include the entire list from the beginning, consider a phased approach.  

Locate one or a few business units—teams or departments—that are or will be hiring independents with a subset of the strategic skills. Work with the managers to create and implement a direct sourcing strategy focused on those skills for the business units. At the beginning of your journey, these can serve as pilot initiatives that allow you to test your program and incorporate lessons learned.  You can roll out more of our direct sourcing program from there in a phased approach. The managers you work with during the pilots can make a valuable contribution as evangelists, both formally through presentations and informally through word of mouth. 

Keep Adjusting Your Direct Sourcing Strategy

The process of gathering data for current and future skills and roles is not a one-and-done exercise. Some companies we’ve worked with have significantly changed in-demand skills needed from theor independent talent from one year to the next. To make sure your direct sourcing strategy stays on point, it’s important to monitor how and for what roles independents are being engaged. One way to ensure that you gather needed data periodically is to include the information collection in annual planning activities. This will allow you to make any needed adjustments to your direct sourcing program before the start of the fiscal year. 


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