As organizations continue to expand the use of contingent talent to supplement their full-time workforce, they are also seeking ways to optimize their contingent workforce programs to generate additional cost-savings. Historically, this was done through supplier rate rationalization, improvements in workflow and cycle time, and engaging a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Vendor Management System (VMS) to drive efficiencies. While all of these measures generate cost-savings (particularly in first generation and early stage programs), more mature programs require the identification of other strategies like self-sourcing.
The concept of self-sourcing is not particularly new. However, companies have begun to embrace organizing self-sourced contingent resources into talent networks, automating workflows to identify and procure the talent, and leveraging software that optimizes this workflow. The primary drivers for this include the opportunity associated with significantly reducing the margins imposed when sourcing through staffing companies; increasing the quality of the talent being hired and; dramatically reducing the time required to identify talent for new requisitions.
More forward-looking companies have begun to create and leverage self-sourced talent networks. The first step in the process is partnering with a VMS provider that possesses the functionality required to easily create, manage, and source from the company’s talent pool. It is also important that the talent pool remain private, so an organization’s best self-sourced talent is not hired by their competition as can be the case in a shared talent pool.
Populating the talent network is the second step towards generating savings, and there are several paths that can be leveraged to attract workers. More often than not, managers will invite proven individuals that they have worked with in the past. This means that the workers joining an organization’s private talent network are known, or ‘pre-vetted’. This approach alone cuts down on the time required to validate talent prior to considering each individual for a role.
Additionally, companies with a strong brand presence can utilize their public website to attract contingent talent. Allowing each person to ‘passively apply’ to be considered for a contingent role can quickly fill a talent pool. Lastly, companies may want to include retirees, alumni, and even ‘silver medalists’ (people who interviewed for a role and were not chosen but would still make a good hire for other positions). Building a sizable network can take time, but the benefits quickly become apparent when sourcing for new contingent positions.
The health of the talent network requires a tool that is company and network facing. It is critical that each individual has the ability to login to a portal and self-manage their profile to keep their work history, skills, education, etc. up-to- date. Additionally, they should be able to update their availability for consideration in upcoming projects. Without enabling self-updates, a company’s network can become ‘stale’, resulting in failed sourcing attempts and ultimately a loss of confidence in the system by managers who are attempting to use it.
Lastly, it is critical that managers have an easy way to access and source from the company’s private talent network. More cutting edge VMS vendors have actually baked self-sourcing into the request creation process, even auto-matching candidates from the company’s talent pool to the request the manager is creating. This type of seamless integration lowers the friction associated with using the network and increases adoption.
When built and managed correctly, a talent network can be one of the primary drivers of generating savings in a company’s contingent workforce program. Understanding what is required to populate and roll out the network can be the difference in fully utilizing this forward- thinking, cost-saving strategy or failing to realize the benefits of self-sourcing.