Independent professional talent is increasingly becoming the workforce answer for companies throughout a wide range of industries. Enterprises are putting strategies in place to successfully attract, engage, and retain top talent. The independent workforce is steadily increasing in number as well, providing an indispensable source of professionals with in-demand skills. Here’s what you need to know about how independent talent can benefit your company.
Categories of Contingent Talent
While many different types of people work as independent professionals, it is easiest for businesses to divide this group of workers into two categories.
Independent Professional Workforce Defined
Gig economy workers
On one end of the spectrum are commodity platforms, where buyers primarily engage independent contractors to perform an undifferentiated service such as driving a car, walking a dog, or assembling furniture. This type of independent work has been rising rapidly for the past few years and is categorized under the gig economy umbrella.
Workers typically use a mobile or online platform to participate in this type of work and do so for a variety of reasons including generating extra income or filling a gap between jobs. In general, these jobs tend to be low-dollar value, short-term engagements that workers pursue on a semi-regular or part-time basis.
Highly-skilled independent professionals
On the other end of the spectrum is the high end of the market. We call these workers independent professionals. Independent professionals have made careers out of the specialized knowledge and value they provide.
Many workers have chosen to go independent to make more money while enjoying the lifestyle benefits independence offers. Businesses typically engage these workers for long-term projects that require specialization in a particular area of expertise. Independent professionals provide companies with a wealth of experience and in-demand skills that may be hard to find within their existing employee population.
How to Become More Agile with Independent Talent
The ability to engage skilled workers as needed allows companies to have greater flexibly over the hiring process, increases supply chain control, and boosts overall efficiency. Enterprises are finding that independent talent allow them to improve the financial performance of their companies as well. All these factors lead to increased organizational agility.
1. Fill skill gaps and control costs
Staffing flexibility, better control over employment costs, and access to in-demand skills without adding to company payroll are some more benefits of engaging independent professional talent.
Independents can fill needs both for skills that may not be currently present in a company’s workforce, and they can complete tactical projects that may be outside of a company’s scope.
Independent contractors can be hired to solve ongoing problems, or to fill a specific need on a project team. This is often a cost-effective solution for companies, because of the financial burden of finding, hiring, and onboarding a full-time employee to complete these same tasks.
3 Ways to Build an Agile Workforce with Contingent Talent
2. Streamline talent access with direct sourcing
As the independent workforce continues to grow, it will begin to account for an increasingly larger portion of economic activity. As businesses begin to incorporate contingent labor into their workforce, they will need to have a well-defined strategy to manage contractors, freelancers, and gig workers.
By creating a program to directly source independent talent, companies can efficiently and effectively find, source, engage, pay, and manage independent workers using their own internal resources. Direct sourcing can help managers build pools of pre-vetted talent that can be quickly deployed when needed, leading to increased productivity and efficiency. Placing top talent in the right role can accelerate focus to solving problems and identifying solutions rather than spending time and resources working with recruiters to find the right person for the job.
5 Steps to Creating a Successful Contingent Workforce Management Program
3. Attract top talent
Independent professionals are in demand, and that means they often have the upper hand when it comes to choosing the clients to work with. To be competitive for the top tier of this talent pool, enterprises will need to take the specific needs of independents into account.
The long-term solution here is creating a centralized program for independent contractor engagement. A program allows companies to connect with and hire the talent they need. Working in the background is the infrastructure for finding, sourcing, engaging, paying, and managing talent. Having these policies and procedures in place is attractive to independent professionals and will help keep your company compliant and running smoothly.
How to Attract Top Independent Talent