People unfamiliar with MBO Partners often ask us to categorize our enterprise services. They’ll ask, are we an MSP? A staffing company? A VMS? A payroller?
MBO doesn’t fit into any of those categories. Because our specialty lies in engaging independent contractors, not the contingent labor market en masse, we needed a different designation representing the distinct way we approach IC engagements. That’s why we introduced the “Independent Contractor Engagement Specialist” – ICES – category that nicely sums up our role.
The ICES categorization was given a nice shot in the arm this week with the release of Aberdeen Group’s new study, “The Rules of Engagement: How Much Do You Value Your Independent Contractors?” This report summarizes the results of a detailed survey Aberdeen conducted earlier this year of prominent businesses that use large numbers of “non-employees”: ICs, professional consultants, freelancers, etc.
The study’s results, frankly, were not a surprise to us: Companies that use an ICES to manage their independent workers exhibited markedly improved results compared to those which don’t.
Digging into the Data: IC Usage
The report touches on several important characteristics of IC usage, but I’ll highlight just a few of the more telling points here:
To add more urgency, 46% of companies say IC talent’s greatest value is providing a competitive advantage. That’s not surprising, as the most common categories for ICs are Management Consulting, IT, and Engineering – all strategic, highly visible functions. In fact, many companies tend to depend on ICs even more than consulting firms, large or boutique.
Digging into the Data: The Value of an ICES
The research shows that an ICES (which the report dubs an “MSP for ICs” – I like that) “can have a significant impact on how organizations manage ICs and drive business outcomes.” The data show reveal that ICES users have far fewer compliance issues, their consultants are productive more quickly, and their centralized processes foster more visibility, consistency, and ultimately greater ROI from consulting talent. Also:
And here’s the kicker: ICs’ satisfaction with their ICES-using clients was recorded at a whopping 93%. And an even higher percentage of companies, a whoppinger 96%, were found to be satisfied with their ICs. This mutual love-fest means that these companies are considered a “Client of Choice” by their independent talent. Talk about a breeding ground for improved talent access and skyrocketing productivity!
ICES Value in the Real World
The report’s results dovetail with MBO’s experience. Our clients tell us that their managers get their work done more effectively since bringing on MBO as their ICES. They’re now empowered to leverage the quality of IC talent without the handcuffs and ambiguity.
In the Aberdeen report, one MBO client reported that, “Quick and safe access to this expertise helps us develop therapies for patients and support our organization’s growth.” A client on one of our recent webinars added that MBO has allowed it to have complete confidence that its engagement managers can bring on expert consultants without the fear of IRS audits, state unemployment claims, or other business risks.
We’re also seeing an emerging trend of clients using the MBO ICES solution as a backbone of a new way to procure ICs. For too long, clients have treated IC recruitment more as a game of chance than a function of tools and disciplined processes. Now, more and more clients are leveraging their relationship with MBO to develop and curate easy-access pools of talent from which they can quickly and efficiently engage ICs for critical projects.
The Bottom Line
The new Aberdeen report shows clearly what MBO has believed all along: if you can effectively find and engage specialized IC talent, you will be more successful .
The independent movement is here. Smart organizations are embracing not only the movement, but the means – such as the MBO/ICES solution – of getting there intelligently.
MBO Partners defines direct sourcing and related terms relating to the new world of work.
As 2016 winds to a close, we at MBO Partners like to take time to reflect on what has changed in preparation for the year ahead. As is common in any fast-growing industry, we marvel at how much has changed in the past 12 months, and how much will likely change again as we head into and through 2017.