The Importance of Fostering a Community of Independent Talent

By MBO Partners |

Updated Friday, June 26, 2020


Our workforce landscape is quickly changing and adapting, due in many ways to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many organizations are allowing for remote working arrangements and as cities begin to reopen, companies are adjusting how they manage their workforces moving forward. Companies who already rely on independent talent as an integral part of their workforce are likely reaping the rewards this flexible, remote, and skills-driven talent pool provides. Those who aren’t yet engaging independent talent may consider doing so in order to be successful in this new work environment.

But simply choosing to incorporate independent talent is not a long-term strategy. In order to attract and retain top independent talent, enterprises must understand what independents are looking for in a client-contractor relationship and make adjustments to build a community where they feel valued. Below, we take a look at three ways enterprise managers can build a lasting community of independent talent.

1. Remain Competitive for Top Talent by Meeting Independents on Their Own Terms

The majority of independent professionals—64%—say they have a lot of choice in picking the clients they work with. What are they looking for? The opportunities, processes, environment, and sense of community clients offer. Actively creating a positive work environment where independent professionals are trusted and treated respectfully will go far in making your company a top choice for skilled talent.

A positive work environment also allows independents to work the way they want. It is very important to independents that their work is valued, that they have flexibility in how they work, and that they have the opportunity to learn and build new skills.

2. Create a Streamlined Engagement Process

A fast and efficient onboarding process benefits both talent and managers. Technology today automates many onboarding steps and limits time-consuming paperwork. Platforms like MBO’s can help match independent talent with available projects, inform them about the policies and procedures involved with working at your company, and lead them through initial self-assessment surveys to ensure the engagement meets compliance standards.

Once you’ve engaged an independent contractor, communication becomes key to a lasting work relationship—more than 78% of independents say responsiveness a company’s ability to listen to and act on feedback is important. Define project goals and objectives before starting work. Discuss goals, performance objectives, and project milestones. Clear communication from the start is key to building trust and preventing future misunderstandings.

3. Realize the Benefits of Re-engagement

Re-engaging independent professionals who have already worked with your company is a no-brainer. First, it’s easier to match talent to a new project if they have already proven their expertise. They are aware of expectations, have established a good communication flow, and have likely met key project stakeholders.

Second, if managers have already taken the time to check references and review past work, re-engaging known talent can save them valuable hours spent searching for someone new who has a similar background or skillset. Third, re-engaged talent have already completed major onboarding tasks. While not all procedures can be bypassed for a new project, it is faster and easier for managers to help talent get to work if they already have initial documentation on file.

Building your own community of vetted and established professionals gives managers a network of reliable talent that they can tap into at a moment’s notice. As talent demands shift in today’s fast-changing work environment, the organizations that can rapidly evolve with these changes by developing a lean talent acquisition strategy that prioritizes the needs of independent talent will be those that survive and thrive.

To learn more about what enterprises can do to attract and engage top independent talent, check out our latest Client of Choice research.