Interest in direct sourcing is high, with more organizations expecting to consider elements of it than any other workforce strategy. According to SIA’s “Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey 2022” report for the Americas, 84% of large organizations either already have a direct sourcing program in place or expect to explore the approach within the next two years. The report also found that while only 1% of current contingent workforce spend is sourced directly (i.e., not through a staffing supplier), this figure is expected to rise to 10% in the next two years.

Last month, SIA released a report to help those considering developing a direct-sourcing program to benefit from best practices and shared learnings from organizations that are improving access to talent and helping reach business goals through the direct sourcing of contingent workers. SIA’s “Direct Sourcing Best Practices” report is a tool to help identify industry standards for direct sourcing partners.

“Our current global workforce consists of five generations with an estimated 22% working in contingent roles,” writes Jenn Simon, workforce strategies research director at SIA and author of the report. “Tapping into this diverse population through direct sourcing will bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to elevate organizational innovation, drive efficiency and create a competitive advantage.”

The full report provides best practices for direct sourcing, including:

Buy-in. The road to successful direct sourcing implementation begins with corporate alignment and executive buy-in. The key to winning approval from senior management and managers is by building a compelling vision of the future and supporting it with a detailed business case. The vision should outline what the organization stands to gain from using its employer brand through a direct-sourcing platform to attract and hire contingent workers faster and what it stands to lose by ignoring the shift to freelancing.

Ownership and accountability. The universal factors that influence success are clear ownership of the program — someone with the authority to act and make decisions — and the ability to build consensus and a strong collaborative partnership between talent acquisition, procurement and management. So, assign a direct-sourcing program owner early on to facilitate the discovery, scoping and decision phase. Although some organizational leaders may voice a strong preference for control, SIA research shows that a direct sourcing program can be successful regardless of whether it is overseen by HR or procurement.

Curation partner. Appoint an accountable team of people who are trained in proactive curation of talent pools versus reactively responding to job advertising applicants. Although many staffing and MSP partners are beginning to offer direct sourcing, the service is very different from managing staffing resources. Determining whether you use an in-house, outsourced or hybrid approach requires asking the right questions of a curation partner.

Balance. Your program should have a good balance between people and technology and should ensure a smooth candidate and manager journey while realizing operational efficiencies. To create a candidate-centric recruitment model, the primary focus needs to be on the candidate’s needs and overall experience, especially when they interact with technology. Ensure your technology partner has the capability to automate and tailor your organization’s marketing initiatives (i.e., high volume hiring campaigns, cyclical hiring) to the various talent pools.

Workflow. Create a workflow for the order in which you will engage directly sourced versus supplier-sourced talent. Understanding the difference in the end-to-end process between the two options and how this occurs between people, process and technology will help guide the business on which avenue to pursue. Once the talent pools are full, some organizations provide direct sourcing a day or two of exclusivity, while others continue to send jobs to both simultaneously; either way, create, communicate and follow a structured process and test exclusivity windows before rolling them out across the board.

House in order. With the introduction of direct sourcing, relationships with existing suppliers may well change. Proactively manage any supply channel conflict by ensuring all parties understand how direct sourcing will fit and what their role will be for the overall contingent program

More best practices and expanded details are available in the “Direct Sourcing Best Practices” report, available online to CWS Council members.