As businesses traverse the growth trajectory, the focus is almost always on grooming internal talent to meet the burgeoning staffing requirements. This is a good approach because when employees know their skills are valuable to the company, it boosts their morale and productivity.
However, sometimes, certain positions require ultra-specific skill sets that are not available internally or internal candidates may not be ready to meet evolving requirements in time. In such cases, the company simply cannot afford to wait. According to a Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services survey, almost one-third of organisations find it difficult to source the right talent and nearly 60% anticipate talent shortages in the next three years. This is where augmenting internal talent with an extended workforce comprising contingent workers, consultants, and independent contractors can be extremely beneficial.
Countering employee mobility with external talent networks
Talent, today, is on the move. Now, more than ever. With shortened employee lifecycles, strategic workforce planning is becoming critical to organisational success. External talent networks help organisations with:
Predictability & diversity: Along with predictability, external talent networks offer great value in being able to tap into a diverse (and, if done right, passive) talent pool, to supplement the internal pool and address the gaps.
Cost & Flexibility: In a dynamic work environment, it’s important for businesses to focus on areas that matter. Beyond cost efficiencies, staffing creates a more flexible workforce allowing companies to ramp up or scale down resources to address demand peaks or slumps.
Fresh perspectives: External workers also bring in skill sets, perspectives and expertise necessary for specific projects, enabling companies to better respond to new opportunities from a talent perspective.
According to the HBR survey, 69% of organisations believed that their external workers helped maintain efficiency and meet market demands. 53% said that leveraging external talent was instrumental in supplementing in-house expertise.
Companies that are seeking to accelerate speed of innovation and product development should also consider working with external talent to stay ahead of the competition.
Getting the most out of your contingent workforce
It isn’t enough to just have an extended workforce. Companies must think about crafting the right talent strategies, policies, and processes, to optimise the external workforce and ensure that they work seamlessly with in-house employees.
39% of organisations said that they would deploy more external workers, if managing them were less challenging. Partnering with a global recruitment services provider is one way businesses focus on their core capabilities, while mitigating the challenges of building and managing an external talent pool.
To contribute effectively, external workers should understand the strategic context and impact of their tasks. This means they should be provided access to learning and development programs and streamlined performance reviews. Better management and integration of the external workforce ensures that they are engaged and can perform at their peak potential.
Applying analytics to optimise your talent strategy
Optimising and strengthening the talent pipeline is crucial to execute business strategies on-time and ensuring competitive success. Predictive analytics, when used correctly, can help drive data-driven decisions related to strategic workforce planning and external talent management. This means companies can identify the right positions and time periods when it makes the most business sense to deploy contingent talent.
For example, predictive analytics can help organisations answer questions such as: what percentage of the workforce should be made up of a contingent workforce to reduce costs and improve agility? Organisations can also assess whether hiring an external resource will have a better business impact, in terms of revenue, compared to redeploying an internal resource. Right insights on talent availability and opportunities can help companies build a wide network of high-quality talent - an invaluable asset in today’s competitive markets.