By engaging independent professional talent on a project-basis business today can realize significant cost savings as well as increased output and efficiency. Nearly 64% of senior executives say their external workforce is important or very important in increasing organizational agility, according to research from Deloitte.
However, while independent professionals can play a vital role in modern workforce strategies, challenges still exist for companies when it comes to actually finding and engaging this talent. For example, third-party staffing or consulting firms don’t always know how to best source independents and their services can be costly. And, if your internal HR department is unfamiliar with finding and engaging independent contractors, compliance issues can arise.
Direct Sourcing Independent Professional Talent
This is where the strategy of direct sourcing comes into play. By directly sourcing independent talent internally using integrated technology, enterprise managers can more easily find, engage, and onboard the talent they need when they need it. This helps to create better relationships and cuts down on the costs of using a third party.
Build a program for independent talent engagement
In order for a direct sourcing strategy to be effective, it is important that it is backed by a centralized engagement program that can be used to manage the entire lifecycle of working with independent talent—from sourcing and onboarding to payment and future re-engagement.
While a centralized engagement program will vary based on company size, talent needs, and budget, successful programs of all sizes tend to start with the following three steps.
1. Garner Support from Company Leaders
Obtaining executive support is an important first step. With backing and advocacy from company leaders that employees recognize and respect, it becomes easier to create a lasting and successful program.
Set the stage for a smooth roll-out process
Senior leaders have influence over the managers who will be sourcing and using independent talent. By helping them understand the benefits of engaging independents (if the company is not doing so already) as well as the benefits of a direct sourcing strategy, program roll-out will likely be a smoother process rather than trying to build internal support from the bottom up.
2. Implement the Right Technology
There are many technology options that can be used to facilitate direct sourcing. Many organizations, for example, use a freelance marketplace to find and engage independent talent. These online platforms serve to connect independent contractors with projects. Independents can search for and apply to opportunities and managers can evaluate and select the person they want to engage. However, while marketplaces are helpful in giving managers a way to self-source talent, they can also pose a risk because most marketplaces available today lack the level of compliance vetting that enterprises need to compliantly engage highly-skilled independents.
Build a network of support
Remaining compliant is another reason why a centralized engagement program is such an important backbone to a direct sourcing strategy. As part of identifying the right direct sourcing technology, many businesses decide to partner with a firm that specializes in independent contractor engagement and compliance when creating their engagement program. Companies like MBO can help organizations manage their legal risk while doubling down on strategies to leverage high-end independent talent.
3. Don’t Overlook Internal Buy-In
Just as it is important to secure support from company leaders, it is also important to consider internal buy-in from employees. As much as possible, make sure the program is highly visible to staff and keep them up-to-date. If employees are unfamiliar with the concept of engaging independent talent, provide education or training to help them understand why the program exists, how it works, and how they can benefit from it.
Educate internal staff
Make sure staff know who to go to for questions and ask for feedback from managers who use the program to continually evolve the program in the best way possible.
Remember, direct sourcing is a valuable strategy, but it is just part of the big picture. With an end-to-end engagement program that compliantly connects the needs of managers to an ecosystem of independent talent, companies will be well-positioned to empower enterprise managers with a better way to engage independent talent.
For more information on how to implement a centralized engagement program and direct sourcing strategy at your organization, contact us today.