Contingent workforce programs at enterprise organizations are competing for talent directly with all sectors of industry types — oil and gas, finance, technology, healthcare and more. Because of the incredibly tight market for both highly skilled and key-skilled workers, buyers need to make sure they are aligned with the most innovative and forward-thinking supplier organizations.

Unfortunately, many staffing firms still use inherently slow delivery models that risk talent slipping through the program’s fingers. I liken these to blimps, whereas programs require the agility of a drone in order to compete for talent.

Blimps. Built in 1852, the first blimp was a 143-foot-long, cigar-shaped, gas-filled bag with a propeller, which was powered by a three-horsepower steam engine. These aircraft have been used for military purposes (such as surveillance and anti-submarine warfare throughout World War II) and advertising. Major sporting events in the US have been covered by the Goodyear Blimp, providing “wow” factor overhead views to sports fans for decades. They are typically slow and not easily maneuverable.

The staffing industry has functioned like a blimp for years, requiring heavy investments in building, operating and managing typical staffing companies — and buyer organizations continue to feel the impact of this sluggish and tired approach to talent acquisition. The old way of staffing has a direct impact on speed and cost and a potential impact on the quality of the workers and solutions.

Drones. Enter the drones, the first of which is believed to have been created in 1982 for military use. Drones can move quickly in any direction vertically and horizontally to improve the user experience beyond what a blimp could ever deliver, all for a much lower price point. Now available commercially, drones can supplement and, in some cases, remove the need for a blimp to cover sporting events. A basic drone can cost as little as a couple of hundred dollars, available at many major retailers to those with little to no experience.

The strongest buyer contingent workforce programs and their associated organizations are clamoring for a “drone-like” type of delivery from their suppliers, with low-cost and innovative delivery models top of mind. How do they find and partner with suppliers who are also moving toward a “drone-like” type of delivery model? Key questions you can ask your suppliers or interested suppliers:

  • How are you engaging talent and communicating with them throughout the process?
  • What are your retention rates?
  • Are you able to measure and achieve a candidate/worker satisfaction score, and if so, what is it?
  • What is your average time to submit a winning résumé?

Questions like these can shed some light on how a supplier is constructed and operated.

Ingenuity and Competition

With the ongoing tight labor supply, quality and speed are on the top of mind for all buyers, though cost can never be forgotten. Suppliers that are investing in a more agile “drone-like” approach to staffing and are moving away from the outdated “blimp-like” delivery models will have an incredible impact on their ability to satisfy the buyers’ needs.

Blimps and drones are drastically different forms of aircraft, and staffing suppliers and buyers alike can learn a few things from these differences. Staffing companies should realize that becoming a “drone” type of supplier must happen in order to remain competitive. And buyers need to be aware of the marketplace developments and partner with the right suppliers to potentially save money, improve efficiency and have a long-term positive impact on quality. This shift requires investment and a new way of looking at how to execute their delivery models to stay competitive in the marketplace.