In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s far from business as usual for organizations across the world. The majority of people who are able to work remotely are doing so, and for many managers it’s the first time they’ve had to run a fully remote team. Companies are taking different approaches to find success in this new environment—one of which involves relying more heavily on their external workforce.
More than ever before, companies are realizing the value contingent workers bring to the table. More than 41 million dedicated, highly-skilled workers make up this pool of talent, contributing $1.3 trillion in economic impact each year. In order to be successful in this new environment, managers must shift their talent management mindsets and incorporate independent contractors in their future workforce. Below, we explore three ways direct sourcing independent talent can be beneficial in the wake of COVID-19.
1. A New Work Environment Brings an Influx of Independent Workers
As states slowly begin to reopen and as companies get their footing, managers will have to decide how they will rehire workers moving forward. Many existing employees are being given the option to continue working remotely. Managers may have to choose between up-skilling or re-skilling existing remote workers or engaging independent talent to fill hiring needs.
Independent contractors are already well poised to work remotely and are familiar with the process of engaging with a company to complete project-based work. It’s also likely that we’ll see a rise of independent workers in a post-pandemic world, as independent work provides the flexibility, control, and safety many people will be looking for.
By engaging an independent contractor who has specific skills or is a subject-matter expert, managers can bypass what may be a more complicated up-skilling or hiring process. To bring this talent on board, many companies will find it is more valuable to source talent internally rather than relying on a third party for recruitment—which can have mixed results and come at a high cost. For instance, managers might use their own networks or contacts to engage an independent contractor, or a company might work with a vendor to help facilitate a certain part in the talent engagement process. MBO’s platform, for example, pairs qualified talent with available opportunities at a company using a matching algorithm.
2. Normalization of Remote Work Creates an Ideal Environment for Independent Talent
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have adjusted their strategies when it comes to remote work. It turns out that remote work is often associated with a rise in productivity and many people have discovered that they enjoy working from home. As states ease restrictions and companies reopen, remote work will no longer be seen as a perk or a benefit—it will be expected as the norm in many professions.
Independent talent are used to working remotely and know how to get to work quickly when a manager engages their services. Rather than enduring long lead times and high mark-ups on talent, managers will realize that it is much easier to directly source and deploy independent talent.
Direct sourcing offers many opportunities for cost savings, and one of the biggest is staffing flexibility. Payroll costs quickly increase when hiring a full-time employee or when up-skilling an existing employee. Independent talent, on the other hand, are much more cost efficient. There’s no benefits package to consider and no prospect of continued employment once the project is complete. Contingent workers also make companies more agile and competitive among their peers, giving them the flexibility to bring specific skills to a project when and where they are needed most.
3. The Rise of Remote Work Technology Facilitates Management of Independent Workers
Apps and technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams that support remote work will continue to grow and become part of daily life. Similarly, direct sourcing technology that allows companies to quickly and easily search for independent talent will become more prevalent as well.
With a direct sourcing platform, managers can search for and engage the talent they need for their current project. Aside from simplifying the engagement process, this technology can also streamline administrative processes, provide program management support, and increase overall efficiency. Strong communication is key when working with remote teams. Managers must make sure objectives are clear and deliverables are met, all while keeping workers accountable and engaged.
As companies make decisions about how to approach the new-normal work environment, independent talent will likely be a big part of the picture. Leveraging this highly-skilled group of workers cuts down on long lead times, provides managers with direct access to talent, and gives both workers and organizations the flexibility they seek.
Check out MBO’s own direct sourcing platform, or contact us today with your questions.