It’s no secret that multiple societal and business forces, including the global pandemic, chronic skills shortages, and changing labor demographics, are disrupting traditional talent acquisition and giving rise to hiring highly skilled knowledge workers on demand.
In fact, a recent MIT Sloan Management Review/Deloitte study found that 93% of managers view their external workers as part of their organization’s workforce and, in some cases, 30%-50% of an organization is composed of contingent workers.
Perhaps you’re wondering: “How do I quickly differentiate among the various alternatives to locate and hire the best talent efficiently and effectively?”
It’s a great question. To get you an answer, let’s review the options.
Traditional talent acquisition models
As you’re familiar with traditional methods for gaining employees, contractors, or temporary workers, we’ll keep the recap brief. Your options are:
Full-Time Hires. Highly-engaged full-time employees are the lifeblood of every organization’s long term success. Although enterprises gain a high-quality workforce, for a relatively small investment, the processes required for obtaining and onboarding the right individuals is time consuming.
Additionally, the full-time hiring model comes at a cost to agility and flexibility whenever you experience an immediate short term expertise gap to fill or bandwidth constraint to address.
Consulting Firms. Engaging with a consulting firm, like the Big 4 or MBB, provides you with access to leading professionals, for a finite period, in a manner that’s somewhat faster and more agile than full-time hiring.
However, working with a consulting firm is more costly than acquiring full-time in-house individuals due to factors such as fixed engagement durations, inflexible contract terms, and relinquishing control of team size to the consulting firm.
Staffing Agencies. On the opposite end of the worker quality spectrum from consulting firms are staffing agencies. These companies rapidly provide headcount at a more cost-effective price than consultants, but worker quality suffers as agencies focus on sending available individuals rather than curating candidates.
Modern on-demand talent platforms
On-demand talent platforms address the challenges with all of the traditional models. Such solutions significantly improve your enterprise agility and flexibility by providing the specific talent you need to fill interim gaps, address bandwidth constraints or provide fractional expertise. You also realize administrative efficiencies as the platform manages billing and payments, which significantly reduces onboarding tasks and costs.
Top-tier talent platforms are proven to save enterprises 30-50% versus traditional consulting and staffing firms.
The most advanced on-demand talent platforms enable you to build a “bench” of leading professionals who you can engage repeatedly, further streamlining acquisition. Such platforms also provide you with insight into a project’s status including milestones achieved, goals met, and tasks performed.
Regardless which platform you choose, rolling off employees at project completion is also fast and seamless as the engagement simply ends.
Selecting the right type of on-demand platform
With a basic understanding of talent platforms, now let’s consider the primary types of platforms and what you can expect with each.
Open Freelance/Gig Marketplaces. As the earliest form of technology-enabled hiring services, open freelance marketplaces offer vast, worldwide talent pools where anyone can advertise. Although some freelance marketplaces have started to vet a certain percentage of individuals for their credentials and skills, typically it’s a small population and vetting is conducted a minimal level. In addition, there is no candidate curation, meaning you’ll need to do the legwork for vetting and selecting from the hundreds, or thousands, of individuals who apply to your posting.
With hourly freelancing rates on open marketplaces typically low, the adage “you get what you pay for” frequently applies. Also, the marketplaces frequently require businesses to subscribe or pay other fees, as well as taking a cut from freelancers. Examples of such platforms include Upwork and Fiverr.
Expert On-Demand Talent Acquisition Platforms. The most advanced platforms combine the highest level of independent expert vetting for hard and soft skills, before individuals are accepted to join the platform, with end-to-end white-glove account service for each project that includes two tiers of AI-enabled candidate curation. This ensures you cost-effectively obtain the best fit for every project within the shortest time frame and frequently enables your selected experts to start within a week. Most importantly, top-tier talent platforms are proven to save enterprises 30-50% versus traditional consulting and staffing firms.
A significant value-add with a premium expert talent platform is an experienced account team dedicated to your company. This includes an account manager, who establishes the unique hard and soft skills you are seeking to onboard, assists with defining project specifications to attract the best independent experts, and creates a curated list of 2-4 candidates for you to review and interview.
The most advanced platforms combine the highest level of independent expert vetting for hard and soft skills, before they are accepted to join the platform, with white-glove account service for each project that includes two tiers of AI-enabled candidate curation. This ensures you cost-effectively obtain the best fit within the shortest time frame, plus you pay only for the hours an expert actually works.
Once you’ve identified the right independent expert(s) you are transitioned to a dedicated customer success manager, who ensures rapid expert onboarding, handles any enterprise contract requirements, and monitors the project to ensure it's executed in alignment with your stated objectives.
The most advanced premium platforms require no subscription or other up-front fees from client companies. Instead, they are incentivized to ensure that your projects stay on track towards achieving your critical business goals. In this way, client companies engage with the highest-quality subject matter experts and pay only for hours worked.
The bottom line
Although each type of talent platform has its attributes, a premium expert talent platform helps ensure your workforce is:
- Right-sized. You engage one or multiple individuals on demand to overcome bandwidth constraints or close skills gaps. No unnecessarily large project teams required.
- Cost-effective. You directly assess the experts who will work on your projects, gaining the same expertise as with consulting firms or staffing agencies, without the brand-name pricing.
- Flexible. You skip complex, locked-in contracts in favor of scaling up or down as needed and paying only for work delivered.