The concept of direct sourcing isn’t new. Many contingent workforce programs have already been leveraging the benefits of sourcing independent contractors and temporary workers from their own curated pools of talent. In fact, 34% of US respondents and 39% of EMEA respondents to SIA’s 2018 buyer survey have incorporated this solution into their programs. More advanced programs are widening those pools to include interns, seasonal workers, retirees, returnees and contingent workers who have registered on one of the plethora of online staffing platforms emerging in the market.

It’s easy to see why. When direct sourcing is well-executed, the reduced onboarding times, staffing agency margin savings and consistency of contingent worker experience add up to a compelling proposition.

For programs using an MSP, incorporating direct sourcing doesn’t even need to mean an increase in headcount. Many MSPs now offer talent pool curation as a core service provision.

But are CW program managers yet leveraging all the benefits that a CW direct sourcing approach can bring?

In my previous CWS 3.0 article, “Total talent management: some talk, little advancement,” I explored the reasons why many organizations have so far failed to crack the enigma code of total talent management, including inhibitors across people, process and technology.

Effective direct sourcing requires recruitment skill, suggesting that collaboration has already been established between talent acquisition teams and CW program management. Secondly, the ongoing direct engagement of talent is a relationship-led discipline. Best practice talent acquisition processes in employee and candidate communication can be leveraged to create a positive engagement experience for directly sourced contingent workers. Finally, a well-run direct sourcing model will utilize technology — perhaps even the same technology deployed for permanent candidates and employees — to create, curate and communicate with talent pools.

It’s not such a quantum leap, then, to imagine that where common skills, processes and technology combine, the next natural steps could be:

  • To consider all worker types in the round when making a hiring decision
  • To expand talent pools to incorporate both permanent and contingent workers
  • With the additional information available, to begin to move to a total talent mindset of skills and flexibility first – engagement method second

Forward-thinking, talent-led adopters of direct sourcing are now blending teams, meaning any potential candidate in a given discipline will speak with the same recruiter, regardless of the engagement method. This approach doesn’t just improve candidate experience, it means that program teams can better serve their internal customers with all the available options.

It’s not quite total talent utopia, but it’s a start!