In the past few weeks we’ve shared our Talent Community Manifesto, some Guiding Principles behind a successful Talent Community, and a discussion on determining your goals for a Talent Community. In this article, we’ll go deeper into some other strategic considerations for HR, Talent Acquisition, and Procurement professionals to contemplate when building Talent Communities to curate and re-engage known independent workers.

As the market leading solution provider for enterprise companies who want to safely and cost-effectively engage independent workers, we are often asked to help frame up the business case for implementing an Independent Contractor Compliance and Engagement Program. With increasing frequency, these requests also include Talent Communities. In some cases, this consulting work takes place alongside our MSP or VMS partners. Other times, we are providing advice directly to our stakeholders.

As discussed in a previous article, this work typically begins with asking, “Why?”. Once we have greater clarity on the client’s objectives for building a Talent Community, we can then dive into the strategy which will get us there.

Slow Down to Speed Up

Before getting started, we always recommend that organizations should narrow their focus. There is great value in starting small and then growing the scope of a Talent Community as the solution matures. Taking baby steps at first will allow the team to build out and perfect the framework and process before ramping up the volume. It will also create some early “wins” that can help to promote the program to both contractors and internal project sponsors.

By choosing to focus on a defined group first, one where there is a repeatable and sustainable demand for talent, organizations can dramatically improve their chances of success. Here are a few examples of specific groups to consider starting with as you build your Talent Community:

  • Specific roles (i.e. Developers, Project managers)
  • Geographic focus (i.e. Silicon Valley)
  • Functional areas of the company (i.e. Finance, Marketing, IT)
  • Specific expertise (i.e. Cloud, Data mining, UI Design, Ruby on Rails)
  • Defined categories of workers (i.e. Retirees, Silver Medalists, Interns, Freelancers)

Other Strategic Considerations for Talent Communities

Building a Talent Community can have a transformative impact on a contingent workforce program. Like most high-impact initiatives, the more time and effort you invest in defining the strategy and planning the effort, the better the outcome will be.

Here are a few other discovery questions we’ve found helpful in framing up the strategy for Talent Communities:

  • What’s the pain? Can you articulate a problem statement? Why are you interested in building a Talent Community?
  • Is there a use case? Is this a hypothetical exercise, or is there a real problem we are trying to solve? What are the specifics of the population(s)? Is there an initial target population that we want to get into the Talent Community first?
  • Has anything like this been tried before? By who? What happened? Why?
  • Who will “own” the Talent Community? Which group(s) are stakeholders? For example: Human Resources, Talent Acquisition, Procurement, etc. How will we promote it internally and externally?
  • Who will play the role of Talent Agent? Client stakeholder? MSP? A third party?
  • Economic drivers? If we move forward, what metrics will drive the ROI of this initiative? Are we clear on how success will be measured?

Conclusion

There are many benefits to be gained by starting a Talent Community with a narrow focus and then expanding its scope. Spending time to carefully think through and define the strategy will provide a solid foundation for growth and foster a successful community of talent that can benefit the organization for years to come. In an upcoming article we will dive deeper into the supply-side of the supply/demand equation and examine the various sources of independent talent that can be considered for inclusion in your Talent Community.