I’ve written previously about the scarcity of skills in sectors such as the pharmaceutical and life sciences, and the need for businesses in these fields to embrace technology to attract and engage new talent. Linking each of these has always been the need to develop strategic candidate value propositions (CVPS), tailored and compelling brand messages that appeal to permanent and gig workers alike.
There’s no doubt that the contingent workforce is on the rise and our future talent pools will soon consist of a significant majority of individuals open to more flexible employment options. In fact, according to the 2018 Deloitte Human Capital Trends report, only 42 percent of respondents reported that their organisation is primarily made up of salaried employees, and employers expect to dramatically increase their dependence on contract, freelance, and gig workers over the next few years.
However, despite this being widely acknowledged, when we look at how organisations are faring when it comes to engaging professional contingent workers, there’s arguably significant room for improvement. When we assess to what extent businesses are combining their attraction and engagement strategies for both their permanent and contingent hiring, processes tend to be disjointed at best.
The fact is, in many sectors there is a high demand for professional contract skills that outstrips supply. With this in mind, it’s concerning that so few employers are attempting to follow the best practice guidance that the HR community knows works with permanent staff when it comes to attracting and engaging talent for their contingent workforce. The biggest challenge, of course, is that the management of contingent worker programmes often lies with the procurement team rather than internal talent acquisition teams.
The result is that there’s significant inefficiency in contingent hiring and engagement strategies that not only impacts the candidate experience, but can also prove costly. What’s needed is a joined-up approach that combines both the permanent and contract talent engagement tactics, providing a consistent process for potential employees, regardless of the employment model they choose to operate under. Or as it’s increasingly become known as: total talent solutions.
Why you need to combine strategies
The simple fact is, if we want our corporate recruiters to become talent advisors to hiring managers – and I’ve yet to come across an organisation that doesn’t – then there needs to be a greater move towards assessing what skills the company needs and, crucially, whether these can be found through salaried employees or gig workers. This is particularly important for talent-short industries where the permanent staff are often simply unavailable.
Crucially, though, we have to consider the candidate journey. Given that the contingent workforce is controlled by a separate function, very few corporate careers sites will actively be demonstrating the temp or contract opportunities that are available in the company. Nor will these sites have messaging that is relevant to contingent professionals. However, these individuals are visiting these sites – that’s a critical touchpoint with this talent pool that is going unused. And given what we know of millennials and their willingness to take contract and more flexible employment opportunities, failing to join up perm and temp attraction will only be detrimental to acquisition successes in the future.
We also can’t overlook the fact that, when it comes to sourcing contingent workers, many businesses will often exclusively use external recruitment agencies to source these professionals – an expensive option and often an unnecessary option given this talent may be approaching those businesses directly but is simply unable to view or apply for contingent roles. When we consider that many firms have an alumnus of previous contingent workers that could be tapped into again when the need arises, but simply aren’t used because information isn’t shared across departments, employers could be paying agencies to hire someone who has already engaged with the brand.
A total talent approach
In my mind, the future of talent acquisition and management lies in a joined-up approach where divisions co-operate and share resources and candidates are exposed to the same experience, regardless of their employment model. As gig workers inevitably become a more prominent part of our workforce, ensuring they are included in engagement strategies is crucial if firms are to be in a better position to compete for top talent.
About Jim Sykes
Jim is responsible for our talented staff, client relationships and delivery within our Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences sector and our Professional & Business Services sector. He ensures that we delight clients and candidates through exquisite service while leading and developing Alexander Mann Solutions’ own internal talent, which is firmly underpinned by our company values.