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5 Better Ways to Engage Top Talent

By MBO Partners |

Updated Wednesday, September 9, 2020

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, companies are settling into new ways of managing their workforce. Many are relying more heavily on contingent workers, a pool of talent that has the flexibility and skillsets needed to fill key functions quickly and efficiently.

Independent professionals are a growing group of talent, and their skills are in high demand. In order to attract and retain the very best independent talent, organizations must structure policies, procedures, and engagement practices accordingly. Below, we take a look at five ways enterprise managers can better engage top talent.

1. Value Their Work

More than anything else, independent professionals seek to work with a client who values their work—95% say valuing their work is either very important or important. Create a positive environment for independents by treating them with respect, providing honest feedback, and letting them know their contributions are appreciated. Simple actions like responsiveness and clear communication will go far in helping independents feel satisfied with their choice in client partnership. 

2. Stay Flexible When It Comes to Controlling Work

Independent contractors are a specific classification of worker, and as such they have the freedom to control where they work, when they work, and how they complete their work. When engaging independent talent, control is a very important thing to keep in mind. Not only do the majority of independents say control over their work and schedule are important drivers of satisfaction, but from a compliance perspective allowing this control is one of the most important things you can do to properly manage independent contractors.

3. Incorporate Skill-Building Opportunities

Yes, independents are experts in their respective fields, but in order for them to provide you with the latest and greatest they need to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date. 89 percent of independents say learning new skills is very important or important to their careers.  By encouraging independents to push the boundaries of the projects they are working on, you can help them grow professionally which will benefit both your business and theirs in the long run.

4. Rethink Policies and Procedures

Structuring policies and procedures with independent talent in mind can help you streamline your engagement and management processes. For example, onboarding that includes clear information about what is required to engage with your company, easy-to-follow links to self-assessment surveys, information about roles and responsibilities, and automated payment options will make your company much more attractive to independent talent. As projects get under way, ensure managers set project goals and objectives with independent contractors and define a clear project scope. Seemingly small things like good communication or self-service technology can have a major impact on client choice and satisfaction.

5. Treat Independent Talent as Part of Your Team

Even though independent contractors fall under a different legal classification than W-2 employees, they still want to feel like they are part of the team they are working for and that their contributions are valued. While independents may not be able to legally partake in all business activities, including them in how their work is contributing to the company’s strategic performance, providing regular feedback on their deliverables, and ensuring the people they work with respect, trust, and engage them in meaningful conversation is important.