Your Talent Community: Start Tuning in to WIIFM 

By MBO Partners | May 16, 2023

Happy independent

Key Points

Answering "What's in it for me?' from an independent professional's perspective is important as you design and implement your direct sourcing program

Tuning in to WIIFM means understanding the needs and preferences of independent talent and aligning your community and its programs appropriately.

Achieving this can make a difference in engaging high-quality, in-demand professionals and can also keep that talent coming back for more.

In any situation requiring a decision, people generally first consider the impacts on them personally. This is true for consumers buying a product or service, job seekers deciding on an offer of employment, and independent professionals selecting clients they will work with.

“What’s in It for Me?”

This question, acronymed to WIIFM, is important to consider as you design and implement your direct sourcing program—specifically in your talent community. Gaining insight into the answers to this question takes an appreciation of what drives high-value independent professionals. What are they most passionate about? What are their goals?

Independent professionals are business owners, and like all business owners, they want to grow their companies. Increasing revenues, finding new revenue streams, and growing in their markets are common business goals, and they apply to independents as well as any other company. Beyond that, though, there are distinctions that set them apart.

The number one reason that independents choose their path is choice and control over their lives and careers. Our Client of Choice 2020 report found that 79% of independent professionals said they are intent on continuing their work style and 59% said they wouldn’t choose to go back to a traditional job. Independents also expressed an overwhelming need or desire to get personal satisfaction from their work, with 77% saying that it is more important to do something they like than to make the most money.

The majority of independents surveyed for our most recent State of Independence research are happier and healthier. Independents exceed employed workers in achieving life goals that include spending time with family, getting the most out of life, and leading a fulfilling life.

Independents are highly likely to gravitate toward work and clients that support and augment the ability to create the life and work styles they prefer while growing their businesses.

Start Tuning Your Talent Community in to WIIFM

Tuning your talent community in to WIIFM means understanding the needs and preferences of independent talent and aligning your community and its programs appropriately.  The motivations, goals, and needs of today’s independent professionals may differ significantly from employees and even from traditionally sourced contract workers.

Employee or independent, there are some qualities of work experience that both prefer. If you foster a great employed worker experience, a place you can start tuning in to WIIFM is to extend much of what works to your total workforce. What programs, policies, and strategies work for hiring and retaining great full-time employees? You can translate some of those to attract high-value independent talent into your community. For example, you can:

  • Streamline engagement processes to make it as easy as possible for your independent contractors to onboard and get paid
  • Help them build skills that will make them more marketable in their businesses
  • Consistently engage them where they have the most value and can leverage their expertise
  • Increase opportunities for additional work within your organization

Answering WIIFM in the initiatives, programs, and interactions of your independent talent community can make a difference in engaging high-quality, in-demand professionals. It can also keep that talent coming back for more engagements.

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