One of the key value drivers for any CW program is to provide the right talent, at the right time and at the right cost. With unemployment rates at all-time lows and the demand for talent so great, program managers are finding it difficult to deliver on this value.

With contingent labor being such a critical part of an organization’s workforce, it is the program manager’s responsibility to work with the suppliers and internal stakeholders to understand how they can attract the right candidates collectively. Managers need to understand whether there are opportunities for the supplier or the organization to engage talent that can elevate the program and allow the organization to be more successful. Here’s how to get started.

Suppliers. Have a conversation with your suppliers to find out what their recruiters are experiencing and telling them. Recruiters can provide the best feedback when it comes to understanding what is and isn’t working well with your program and what’s happening in the candidate world. Also, ask the supplier whether their organization is doing anything differently or outside-the-box to attract candidates. For example, some suppliers are offering benefits beyond the typical healthcare, such as paid time off or career development opportunities such as paid training/certifications or career coaching. Having a supplier whose brand attracts candidates and is creating a competitive differentiator from your competitor’s suppliers can be a definite win for your program and organization.

Internal stakeholders. Next, you need to start to educate your internal stakeholders. Don’t assume they know why their requisitions are taking so long to fill, for example. Although it would be very unlikely they could be unaware of the current employment trends, it is possible they do not think of them in terms of contingent or temporary labor — often, engagement managers just think of the national unemployment rate in relation to full-time employment. It can be helpful to provide them with such things as unemployment data, news articles or industry insight. Any easy way to share this information would be to post an article on your program’s web page or include a link in your email signature.

Also, take time to work with your stakeholders and engagement managers to provide them steps they can take to help attract and engage candidates. Some steps may include:

  1. Requisitions. Revisit the description and the skills, experience and degree required. Is there a chance that the candidate may not need all of them? With such a tight candidate market, now is the time to remove all the “nice to haves” that were added when talent was plentiful and instead focus on just the “must haves.”
  2. Flexible work schedules or working remotely can be extremely attractive options to candidates. These could be definite positive differentiators if either of these are feasible for your open requisitions
  3. Candidate submittals. Engagement managers no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to the candidate selection process. Reviewing resumes in an expedited manner is critical, especially because it is very likely the candidate has been submitted to other opportunities at other organizations. It is even more important to provide prompt feedback, especially if there is interest in interviewing. Interviews should be scheduled immediately as well.
  4. The offer. Candidates are receiving multiple offers and are not on the market long, so once the interviews take place, do not let the engagement manager procrastinate on deciding — especially if they want to extend an offer.

Now is also the time to become more creative, and perhaps a little more flexible, in your approach. Take the opportunity to revisit any initiatives that may have been put on the back burner. Perhaps your program could implement that direct sourcing or retiree/alumni program you considered last year? With the war for talent not looking like it is going to end any time soon, finding smart, strategic ways to continue to deliver value to your stakeholders and organization is priority number one.