The idea of bringing in talent on demand is nothing new. Organisations have used independent consultants, freelancers and agencies to complement their employee workforce for a long time. To date, it has mostly been reactive to an immediate need and, in the case of large agencies, expensive. By and large, the traditional employment model has remained the most common approach to resourcing organisational needs.
There is no doubt that the economic impact and costly shedding of talent caused by the pandemic will re-shape the way that businesses plan their workforces and design their organisations.
For corporates, it means being strategic around the core capabilities that are needed internally all the time, and those they need on demand.
For high growth organisations, it is accessing the specialist capability needed to accelerate growth while managing cash flow.
For smaller organisations, it is about accessing the capability they need some of the time but not all of the time.
It looks a little different in each context, but what remains the same is the need to think creatively around what and how much of an organisational capability the business needs.
If engaging talent on demand is new to you, here are a few pointers to get you started (with minimal shameless plugs!).
The problem to solve
It doesn’t have to be fancy (in fact the less jargon the better!), but start by defining the problem that you want to solve or the outcome that you need delivered. Think about what success looks like and any constraints that you are working within; budgets, delivery dates and availability. Are you looking to create a presence on social media? Gain insight to solve a customer problem? Bring your organisational values to life? Better understand community sentiment around an issue? Communicate difficult decisions clearly and succinctly? Help your leaders to have feedback conversations? Keep it simple.
You may already know the capabilities needed to solve your challenge, but sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Never fear! Scan your network and identify friendlies in a ‘like’ field of work who might help you to scope your needs a little more. For Werkling business members, book in a free micro consult to talk through the outcomes you need, and identify the capabilities that will deliver these.
Stay in the good books
“P!ss off as few people as possible” is just a great rule, generally. It is also true when engaging on-demand talent at your organisation for the first time. Have a chat to your friends in the Procurement team or in People and Culture, and make sure you understand the lay of the land. Each organisation is a little different so get familiar with the best way to bring in your on-demand talent, just as you would an employee. (Werkling is pretty darn flexible and will fit in with your procurement processes.)
Dot the 'i's. Cross the 't's.
To be connected with high quality on-demand talent, most leaders tend to follow the recommendations of the people they know and trust or use a trusted matching platform. Alternatively, those packing a bigger budget might use a top-end-of-town consulting agency.
Leaders will then ask for a bio or check out their on-platform Talent Profile. If leaders continue to be dazzled, they’ll meet with one or two of their preferred on-demand talent. For project work, leaders will ask for a proposal that captures their recommended approach, project plan and pricing. The pricing will either reflect an agreed day rate or a total fixed cost for the delivery of the piece of work.
Leaders should round out their due diligence as appropriate to the gig. This might involve asking for proof of professional registrations or accreditations, previous work products or insurance documentation. Some leaders also like to chat to others who have used the on-demand talent. Alternatively, use a platform that does it all for you.
Make it easy for others
If you’ve come across on-demand talent that you would use again in a heartbeat, consider curating an interactive Talent Panel for your organisation. Include your fab on-demand talent on the panel and help other internal leaders to find amazing people that have been tried and tested within your organisation.
Read the fine print
If you are using a platform or talent recruiter, make sure you understand the fees and commissions they may charge. Usually these are a little hidden on the website and deep in the FAQs is the place you will find it. These commissions can add up to 25% of the total cost. FYI Werkling operates on a membership basis but is offering free business memberships for the rest of 2020. Aren’t we nice?.