While most business leaders understand the importance of a healthy professional network, many may not have considered how their network impacts their current performance.
Professional networks have long been used as an avenue for career advancement, however they are becoming increasingly relevant when it comes to individual and organisational success.
Gartner, Deloitte and McKinsey all identify the ability to tap into the broader talent ecosystem as being critical for organisational performance. The traditional ‘build’ and ‘buy’ talent strategies are no longer enough. Business leaders are now embracing on-demand talent, such as freelancers and independent consultants, to help deliver their complex and dynamic portfolios of work and are relying heavily on their trusted network to access this talent.
But what if your professional network isn’t enough?
Following extensive interviews with more than 200 business leaders, Australian start-up Werkling found that 90% of leaders do not have a professional network that can reliably deliver on their on-demand talent requirements.
The research found that there are five common barriers that leaders face when relying on their network to access on-demand talent:
Capabilities: Leaders do not always have the appropriate capabilities or experience level they need within their professional network.
Diversity: Leaders do not always have diversity within their professional network, restricting them from engaging with incredibly valuable talent and accessing new perspectives.
Cost: Leaders do not always have a mix of on-demand talent options and become reliant on expensive agencies.
Scale: Leaders do not always have enough on-demand talent in their network to guarantee availability when it’s needed, limiting the ability to scale up and down where required.
Innovation: Sometimes leaders get stuck in their own professional circle and despite not being particularly happy with previous outcomes, don’t have time to explore alternatives.
To help reduce these barriers, Australian entrepreneur and talent community start-up founder Michelle Fotheringham said there are three tactics leaders can adopt to broaden their network and access to on-demand talent.
“Understand the types of skill sets you need on-demand within your business and consider the types of skill sets within your network of on-demand talent. If you identify gaps, ask your current network for referrals to connect you with top on-demand talent who have the capabilities you need.
“Explore other pathways to access trusted, high performing on-demand talent. Look at a range of on-demand talent communities, talent platforms or talent networks, researching how they identify and vet talent, their cost models and values,” Michelle said.
“Another great strategy is for leaders to curate on-demand talent pools ahead of time and share these within their business. This involves proactively sourcing top on-demand talent and agreeing to rates and terms ahead of time so leaders can access talent quickly when the need arrives.
It’s clear that professional networks have an important role to play in both individual career advancement and business performance. For those who get it right, it can be a huge source of competitive advantage for any business leader.
For more information or to expand your trusted network of on-demand talent, book a free consultation with the Werkling team here.