Expanding access to top contingent talent through direct sourcing

Expanding access to top contingent talent through direct sourcing

With the talent shortages prevailing across industries, organisations globally explore access to talent through non-traditional avenues, including contingent direct sourcing.

Hitomi Sakuragi - Global Product Manager Pontoon Solutions

Hitomi Sakuragi – Global Product Manager

We see the growing importance of engaging a contingent workforce, i.e. freelancers, contractors, and gig workers. They offer unique advantages, such as specialised skills, reduced overheads, and operational scalability. Through this, contingent workers enable organisations to remain agile and quickly respond to market demands.

Direct sourcing contingent programmes continue to evolve. Staffing Industry Analysts have recently reported that 52% of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) expect to increase their direct sourcing efforts in the near future, and Pontoon is no different. Considering the benefits direct sourcing brings to our clients, we continue to develop and expand our Pontoon Direct offering.

A wide array of direct sourcing channels

Pontoon Direct is our solution for attracting and engaging contingent talent. Our team works with customers to transform their hiring approaches, often siloed to the traditional perm vs temp recruitment where sourcing is reserved for RPO. We help clients realise they can successfully apply direct sourcing to hire contractors, and we support the required operational shift.

Various worker engagement channels can power a contingent sourcing solution, including newly sourced talent, but also clients’ alumni, silver medallists, referrals, or redeployed talent. At Pontoon, we utilise all of these routes, depending on the specifics of our customers’ operations and what channels are optimally suited to deliver quality candidates. For example, we are continually sourcing new contingent workers for our energy client in the US, delivering yearly savings of $694K. And not only that – our efforts improved the submit-to-offer conversion rate almost twice, with 15% of directly sourced candidates getting offered, compared to 8% of agency-sourced talent.

The other channels – let’s call them cumulatively: “known talent channels” – are also full of potential. These are pools of candidates who have already worked at the client’s organisation – for instance, former workers, consultants, interns and retirees – who, if rehired, can be onboarded faster as they already know the culture and business practises. Based on excellent past work experiences, known workers are genuinely interested in another role with their previous firm, which impacts retention positively. For one of our customers, we observed a noteworthy average worker tenure increase of 3 months year over year.

Tapping known talent pools for access to underutilised talent

Deloitte just reported that 55% of workers will likely switch employment models throughout their careers, moving fluidly between traditional full-time jobs, internal opportunities outside formal roles, and freelancing/gig work. Considering the continuous talent shortage, it is a huge waste to lose, for example, perm silver medallists, just because the role we now have to fill is contingent. Instead, at Pontoon, we build talent communities of proactively vetted, known candidates who already express work interest and can be tapped whenever the next contingent role opens. The same community can include referrals from various stakeholders, such as hiring managers or current employees. In fact, our team is just now implementing a direct sourcing solution based on known workers (in this case, previous contractors) for our tech and consulting client in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Alumni redeployment is another approach worth considering, as talent mobility in its various forms could be an antidote to the recent challenges with worker shortages. Returning workers are an attractive hiring option as they bring new perspectives but are familiar with the original organisation, and 4 in 10 workers admit they are open to being rehired by their previous employer. For one of our clients in financial services, we designed a returning worker programme that significantly increased the speed-to-hire. The solution resulted in a much quicker onboarding, allowing immediate results and increased productivity. In addition, the average professional contractor returning through our scheme saved over $17K annually and $2M in total.

Considering the variety of available sourcing channels, the key is to create seamless workflows so that the direct sourcing component perfectly complements the MSP delivery. Illustrated below is a high-level process we follow at Pontoon to ensure our teams work in unison for the best results.

Foundations for a flourishing contingent direct sourcing strategy

The first key step in our approach is to have meaningful conversations with our clients about where and how the contingent direct sourcing component can bring value to their organisation. The benefits go way beyond just the cost savings, including closing talent gaps, broadening access to readily-available quality talent, supporting redeployment, improving retention, and more.

Client buy-in is essential for driving adoption. One critical component that needs client support is translating Employer Value Proposition (EVP) into Contingent Value Proposition as we leverage our customers’ brands to attract workers and build talent communities. Another crucial item is access to data on known workers or silver medallists from other parts of the business.

As the attendees of our direct sourcing webinar noted, achieving a successful outcome requires gaining the support and cooperation of everyone involved. Additionally, securing buy-in from executive leadership is paramount for the programme’s success. Understanding the gaps within one’s organisation is crucial to explore the best practices and setting up the most efficient process.

Direct sourcing efforts bring the most value if they focus on repeating skill sets or target specific geographies. The key is to work in tandem with the client. Analysing the workforce allows us to pinpoint areas where deploying our sourcing team – rather than the supply chain – saves time and money.

Quality sourcers are imperative for an excellent direct sourcing function. At Pontoon, our experts are strategically located worldwide in the Global Delivery Network to accelerate sourcing and gain a competitive advantage in any location.

Final thoughts

The benefits of a successful contingent direct sourcing programme are numerous. Every sourcing channel has unique advantages, but they all bring improvements in speed-to-hire, cost savings, expanded talent pools, and enhanced candidate retention. While still approached with caution by parts of the industry, contingent direct sourcing can no longer be overlooked, as it provides solutions for some of the most pressing talent challenges.

Let us support you in defining the best direct sourcing approach for your firm. Contact us through the button below for guidance on optimally leveraging this strategy.


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