Stepping Stones to a Robust Direct Sourcing Program

By Jessica Soler | June 18, 2024

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Key Points

Direct sourcing has been a hot topic for a few years. If done correctly, it can be a game changer.

It's essential to take care of the independents you cultivate and be proactive in making the best use of this talent base.

Amy O’Donnell, MBO Chief Talent Officer, recently shared tips and strategies for setting up a robust direct sourcing program

If you work in the contingent workforce world, you know that direct sourcing has been a hot topic for a few years. If done correctly, it can be a game changer. MBO’s Chief Talent Officer, Amy O’Donnell, recently shared tips and strategies for setting up a robust direct sourcing program tailored to your organization’s unique needs.

Before going down the direct sourcing road, what should every organization keep in mind?

All functions of the enterprise need to be involved in direct sourcing. To do it well—to realize your strategic workforce-related goals—requires support from all angles. Understanding how best to leverage your brand directly to this workforce is also essential.

Is there a group of talent that you recommend starting with?

The first thing you need to look at is who you already know—your “known talent pool.” This could include independent contractors who have already worked with your company, silver medalists, and company retirees. It’s highly beneficial to cultivate these groups of people as they are already familiar with your company and you should be able to work with them directly without using staffing providers.

How do you recommend getting the word out about your direct sourcing initiatives to the broader contingent population?

It’s extremely important to market your brand directly to professional independent contractors. Go on LinkedIn and ask who wants to hear about upcoming projects. Have a dedicated landing page they can go to and provide their information. In doing that, you’re building a talent pool of contractors you can work with directly.

What do you recommend when considering what type of talent you should invite to your direct sourcing platform?

I recommend starting this process with repeatable talent, that is, professionals with skill sets that you know will be relevant to multiple projects over time. There’s no point inviting people to your talent pool that you’re never going to utilize, and it’s a bad experience for the talent. You also don’t want to get a bunch of people in your talent pool who are really looking for full-time jobs. You should be building pools of people who are professional independents.

Identify five skill sets you regularly need and start there. If you think you’ll have ten openings coming up, work on getting 100 people with that skill set into your pool. I recommend starting with the skillsets that are easier to find. Look at the roles or projects for which you hire 50 people per year and start there. This creates a better experience for the talent, who would rather not be part of a community with no projects that align with their skill set.

One thing to note here: Some companies start the direct sourcing process by looking for unicorn talent. Frankly, this is the talent usually worth paying your staffing providers the high markups to find. It’s better to focus your efforts on the top skills you know you need that are not difficult to find.

How do you make this the most positive experience for the talent?

If you target the right skill sets, put opportunities out there, and reach out to applicants with at least a phone call, independents are likely to see this as a positive and stay involved in the community. If you have really great talent in your network, and they never see opportunities and are never contacted, your marketplace will lose steam quickly.

Any last thoughts?

If you want to build a successful direct sourcing program, you need to be involved. We typically recommend setting up a Program Management Office that can manage this function. Take care of the independents you cultivate and be proactive in making the best use of this talent base.

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