Organizations are combining contingent and traditional recruitment as part of the trend toward total talent management — and this has led to an increased need to communicate a compelling employer brand to the contingent workforce marketplace as well as to potential staff.

In last week’s issue of issue of CWS 3.0, we discussed creating a contingent worker proposition and strategies to attract and retain contingent workers; this week, we examine ways to market that aspect of your employer brand.

Keep in mind that contingent workers who have a bad work experience are more likely to go on social media, such as Glassdoor, and post about the client rather than the staffing organization that sent them there. Staffing buyers need to be cognizant of that mindset and make sure that they are thinking about their contingent population as an inclusive part of their talent brand.

Unlike a typical marketing campaign, publicizing your firm’s reputation as a great place for contingents to work is built internally and “happens more organically,” explained Chris Paden, director of contingent workforce strategies and research for Staffing Industry Analysts. “I think it starts at the ground level,” Paden said. “It’s about making sure contingents have a good experience when they engage with the organization.”

“I think organizations are starting to understand the value of including that contingent population in their culture and their talent brand because of that awareness of how that talent brand impacts that population just as much as it impacts their full-time employees,” Paden said.

Brand and Culture

An organization’s overall reputation in the market is also important. Firms with strong overall brand recognition can leverage it into their talent brand as well — including for contingent workers. Contingents know the impression a recognizable name on their résumé can make, and are enticed to align themselves with large, recognizable companies.

Workers also want to align with an organization because of what they’ve heard about other people’s experiences.

“Adapt your culture in your organization to somehow influence the contingent workforce so that when they hear of a possibility of doing a contingent gig with your company, they feel something,” advised Peter Reagan, SIA’s senior director of contingent workforce strategies and research. He cited Facebook as an example: Even potential contingent workers who have never used Facebook will have an impression of the type of work environment it provides based on the social media giant’s general reputation.

‘Moments of Truth’

Marketing strategists typically plot out a customer’s journey with an organization, explains Reagan. And in this case, the customer is a contingent worker.

“There are various points on that journey that we call ‘moments of truth,’ whereby what the organization does either leaves that customer with a very good impression of the organization or a very poor perception of that organization,” he said.

Reagan cited Apple as an example: “I might hear of Apple, I might go on their website. I feel good about Apple. But a ‘moment of truth’ may be the experience I have when I call Apple up and want to order something.”

Adopt this level of thinking for the contingent worker and understand their journey before they are engaged, while they are engaged and even after they are engaged. Understand those moments of truth, and make sure that a contingent worker has an awesome experience, regardless of whether they are engaged or not.