Candidate optimization and employee engagement are the next big things in contingent workforce management. There are many ways your suppliers recruit and retain talent for their customers. The first obvious step is to have the jobs they want, preferably at the companies with the brand names they are looking for. The next step is to engage candidates on their journey and retain them — or if they move on, keep them as a source for referrals.

Appeal to both. Suppliers also have a few ways to recruit and retain talent while building the brand. One way is to have a candidate-focused website, just like the employment sites of the firms they serve. Healthcare staffing firms generally do this really well; office clerical, industrial and engineering are in the middle, according to our staffing firm surveys. For example, one company’s website banner reads “The Best Is All We’ve Got,” which appeals to buyers and candidates alike. If the best is what you want, this staffing firm says it has it, if the best is what you are, then this staffing firm is for you — nice messaging all around.

Keep in touch. How do you or your supplier track those candidates who are short-listed for opportunities? Find a way via your managed service provider, program management office or staffing supplier to have a mechanism for re-engagement. The same goes for candidates who have completed their assignment. Don’t lose touch with talent who have come to you; they can be ambassadors for your brand and a recruiting resource. Make sure to create a path back and an ongoing relationship through your supplier and/or technology.

Tech. Speaking of technology, candidates now find your brand through a variety of ways. In the gig economy, talent could choose to be engaged as:

  • Temporary agency workers — employed by a staffing firm
  • Statement of work consultants — anyone working for a consulting firm performing short-term project work.
  • Independent contractors and freelancers — those who work under a 1099 for example
  • Human cloud workers — working through online/gig platforms

Make sure to be part of the journey of the candidate however they decide to engage in the workforce and create an internal mechanism to support that. Find a way to keep your brand in front of the talent in all of its forms, especially those with the critical skills you need. Consider them as a recruiting resource and keep in touch to retain alumni interest and a referral funnel. For active candidates, make sure they have good information at the outset about your company to carry on your brand awareness in a positive way, regardless of if they get the job.

What percent of your workforce is contingent? Our survey results say the median is 15% now, and project it to be 17% in two years and 20% in 10 years. Most think contingent work is a good thing with many buyers saying ideal proportion is higher than where we currently are at. It makes sense to position and leverage your brand as part of not only employee engagement but also to appropriately optimize the pool of supplier candidates long term to leverage the talent you need for the future.