Once focused simply on staff augmentation sourced through staffing firms, the contingent workforce has evolved into greater complexities, strategies, methods and services, such as including SOW and IC management in an effort to support a total talent acquisition strategy. Now, sourcing talent channels that are emerging have to be understood, formally managed and optimized.

A sourcing talent channel is a repeatable and managed sourcing method that cost-effectively and efficiently secures quality CW talent to meet a specific service application or requirement. Managing multiple talent sourcing channels is a well-establish practice in traditional full-time hiring as the recruitment process can call for the use of multiple job boards or media platforms to promote full-time job openings. Tracking, identifying and optimizing the most effective talent sourcing channels quickly produces a highly cost-effective and quality full-time hiring process. Interestingly, CW program talent engagements are among the talent sourcing channels for full-time hiring.

Because mature CW programs are establishing new sources for their CW talent services, they are beginning to require talent sourcing channel management as well. Three of the more significant CW talent sourcing channels are the traditional staffing partner channel, a direct sourcing channel and the FMS sourcing channel.

Staffing partner channel. The traditional staffing partner channel is a very familiar core talent sourcing channel. A lot of strategic, CW program management attention and effort has been made to optimize this sourcing channel structure through staffing partner count and tiering rationalizations and greater rules of engagement. MSP solutions/management intermediaries play a significant role in managing this.

Direct sourcing channel. This channel is fairly new, formally, to most CW programs and competes directly with the traditional staffing partner channel. Direct sourcing CW talent services and/or solutions are primarily the leverage of known, talent that has prior knowledge and proven experience with the CW program and/or the organization engaging this channel. Direct sourcing known, talent can range from alumni/retirees to CW talent that has previously executed successful staff augmentation and/or SOW engagements. This channel can also include sourcing methods that reach directly into the talent marketplace, bypassing the staffing partner channel.

FMS sourcing channel. This channel leverages emerging freelance management systems to source talent via a cloud-based workforce management platform. To fall within the FMS category, a solution provider must provide a complete, end-to-end technology system that allows users in an organization to search for and find a particular worker and activate, complete, and pay for the work engagement within the system. Note this CW talent sourcing channel is typically informally established today in most organizations and leveraged directly by engagement managers outside of the CW program’s purview.

While these are the most significant talent sourcing channels as identified by SIA, there are others in use by CW programs, such as recruitment marketplace offerings. Regardless of what channels are being used, the CW program needs to be able to track performance and capabilities.

Ultimately, the engagement manager’s CW services requirement should be the starting point when defining what CW talent sourcing channel should be engaged to source talent for an engagement. Each channel will offer different advantages, benefits and challenges. Consequently, force-fitting one channel over another could negatively affect the quality service experience of the engagement. Leveraging the CW talent sourcing channel that best aligns with the engagement manager’s needs will always be the optimized choice to execute.