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The Rise of the Preferred Talent Network

   |   Dustin Talley   |   July 28, 2016

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Enterprise companies today are fully engaged in what has become the “war for talent.” From offering flexible hours to providing in-office perks ranging from bocce ball and free meals to hackathons, companies are heavily investing in attracting talent and keeping them around for the long term.

There are plenty of articles you can find out there on this war on full-time talent. This is not one of them. Today, we focus on the independent talent war and a first step companies can take to enter the battlefield.

We know that many professionals are making the leap from full-time employment to independence for a number of reasons, ranging from control of their schedule and career to increased flexibility. According to MBO Partners’ State of Independence in America report, the independent talent market has grown to nearly 40 million, and enterprises have come to understand these motivators and characteristics in engaging contractor talent.

In doing so, enterprises have begun to innovate themselves through bringing in outside experts: their contractors. These professionals are bona fide experts, and are now, more than ever, sought after by companies for their unique skills, expertise, and flexible schedule.

So how can your company attract, and keep, this top-tier independent talent? First, enterprises must understand the needs of these independents—at MBO Partners, we focus heavily on one at the top of every independent’s list: project leads.

Enter the Preferred Talent Network

To win the “war for independent talent,” companies need to devise the best independent talent fulfillment and retention strategies. Organizations are now tasking themselves to think ahead and plan for its future contracting talent needs, as opposed to recruiting for and fulfilling an immediate need or opening. The concept of total talent management is more prevalent than ever, as companies are building infrastructures to bring all talent, full-time and independent, under one umbrella.

With this business challenge and new outlook in mind, procurement and human resources departments and contingent labor programs are turning to direct sourcing as a low cost, high value solution for their contingent workforce needs.

With these principles in mind, MBO Partners introduces a new direct sourcing channel we call the Preferred Talent Network.

A Preferred Talent Network would serve as an organization’s centralized repository of in-demand, or valued, independent talent that would be accessible to hiring managers company-wide. Think of it as a way for companies to shortlist and then build direct work relationships with independent freelancers, contractors, and consultants as their preferred vendor. By reversing the traditional contractor-client dialogue, enterprises can position themselves to become a “client of choice” and not only continue utilizing their independent talent, but also begin attracting the most innovative and sought-after people.

Creating this network of talent allows organizations to share open project opportunities directly with independent talent while also leveraging their brand to make such opportunities (and work environments) as attractive as possible.

A New Kind of Loyalty Program

An effective Preferred Talent Network creates a sense of loyalty with individuals employed on a contract basis. Additionally, it establishes that enterprises embrace, support, and respect the choice individuals make to work independently. When someone is invited to an exclusive network, it conveys a message that simply states “You’re awesome! We want your skills and expertise to help us make a difference. You now have elite-level access to our open projects and encourage you to work with us.”

The premier benefit of a strong, loyalty-based relationship is to not only harness the ability to make the individual contractor feel privileged, but also to open the door to them doing more amazing things—for their business and your organization – in the future.

Loyalty with contractors may bring on other challenges in need of consideration and attention, particularly in the realm of compliance and misclassification risks. We will look more in to these risks, as well as how to build the optimal Preferred Talent Network, in the coming weeks.

 

Dustin Talley, Director of Solution Design, serves as a consultant to MBO Partners Enterprise clients and assists them in designing and deploying their direct sourcing strategy, leveraging tools and resources including MBO’s marketplace.

MBO’s marketplace is a powerful tool that makes direct sourcing from your Preferred Talent Network fast and compliant. Now you can quickly fill the gap between your open project opportunities and independent workers who have proven their value to managers throughout your enterprise. With MBO’s marketplace, you’ll always have trusted independent talent at your fingertips for safe and efficient deployment.

Dustin Talley

Director, Solutions Design