Building a virtual talent pool is quickly becoming key to being a best-in-class organization. A virtual bench is a pool of independent contractor talent you’ve identified, vetted, and developed relationships with over time.
Independent contractors provide enterprises with access to specialized, industry-specific skills, and are a valuable alternative to investing in a full-time resource. Tap into your virtual bench for specific projects, or when you need to scale quickly. Here are six ways to build your virtual talent pool.
1. Find the Right Talent
Your virtual talent pool should include contractors who are experts in their field, and who have proven that they really are great at what they do. When looking for talent, prioritize independent contractors who have in-demand skills and expertise. Then, use these contractors to execute key organizational objectives and goals.
The skills of these contractors may even inspire you to develop a new line of business or invest in new markets because they can provide the specialized expertise needed to bring your vision to life.
Up next: 4 Ways to Build a Talent Network
2. Communicate Clearly and Frequently
When independent contractors are in-between projects, look for ways to continually engage them. Keep lines of communication open to nurture relationships. This will help to position your organization as the first choice when a new project comes up.
3. Be a Client of Choice
As more organizations begin to develop ways to successfully source top independent professionals, the war for talent is becoming more competitive than ever. Becoming a Client of Choice starts with understanding what independent professionals are looking for in a client relationship, and then creating an engagement program that caters to these needs so your organization becomes the first choice for top talent.
Up next: MBO Partners’ latest Client of Choice research
4. Implement Contractor Management Processes and Procedures
Having a defined internal performance assessment process for your independent contractors can help to provide a clear record you can reference. Have hiring managers or project stakeholders provide feedback on contractor work to create a review process that covers the elements most important to your organization. This may include the quality of the deliverable itself as well as communication, execution, or timeliness.
By creating a flexible engagement process and contractor-friendly environment, you can position your company to attract the kind of talent you want.
5. Engage Independent Contractors Who Fit Well With Your Company
As you hire and work with independent contractors, keep an eye out for those who seem to fit your culture. Even if the work they are doing is off-site, contractors will likely work better with managers or internal project teams if they seem to be a natural fit for the culture of your organization. If the project does not require regular interaction with employees, this metric may not apply.
6. Continually Review and Update Your Program
Take a step back and assess the efficiency of your process for engaging and retaining independent talent. If you see areas for improvement, consider using engagement solutions and technology to help identify and manage talent.
An expert marketplace like MBO’s marketplace allows organizations to engage skilled independent contractors for consulting jobs with their company. These solutions can help reduce time-to-fill, ensure compliant engagements, and save costs by re-engaging talent.
By curating a virtual bench of trustworthy, qualified talent, you can more easily retain, track, and re-engage these resources.