The Evolution of Talent Engagement

Posted by Christopher Dwyer on April 7th, 2017
Stored in Articles, Complex Categories, People, Process

Sixty-three percent (63%) of businesses today are currently rethinking how enterprise work is addressed. This shift, which is essentially digging into the very core of every corporate project and initiative and questioning legacy directions, represents perhaps the most considerable transformation in today’s business world. Executive leaders are actively reshaping how work is done across the enterprise, understanding that, in order to produce a successful result, the required talent could come from any one of several forms (freelancer, independent contractor, gig worker, etc.) and does not need to be situated within the realm of traditional, full-time workers. This, essentially, sparks a great new evolution in the arena of talent engagement.

Nearly 38% of the world’s total workforce is now considered “non-employee,” which includes contingent/contract workers, temporary staff, gig workers, robotics, freelancers, professional services, and independent contractors. This is an increase of nearly 10% since late 2015 (and nearly 30% increase in utilization of this type of talent since 2013) and reflects the continued revolution of talent and the pure appeal that contingent workers have in the greater scheme of achieving core business goals and objectives.

The legacy engagement approaches of the past (namely the utilization of traditional staffing suppliers) are currently supplemented, and, in some cases, replaced, with new strategies that reflect the evolution of the world of work, the changing demographics of the workforce, and the innovation at hand. The biggest shift in engagement today comes in the form of real-time direct- or self-sourcing; 71% of businesses today are currently utilizing the on-demand nature of social and mobile networks, as well as online talent platforms to find and discover new talent. As organizations rethink their overall “work strategy” in the months and years ahead, these platforms will rise as viable options to not only find new talent, but to also source that talent directly and ensure that these workers are well-aligned with the core requirements of key projects and initiatives. The “people management” components of contingent workforce management today also bleed into the evolution of engagement, with businesses discovering new talent on opposite sides of the age spectrum. “Senior candidates,” including corporate alumni and retirees, are now considered (in nearly 70% of organizations) for contract-based roles, both due to their experience/expertise in a given industry field and for their maturity in the working world. As more and more Baby Boomers exit the full-time workforce, retirement is often the first path for these workers; however, the senior candidates interested in supplemental work represent a worthwhile source of skillsets for enterprises requiring short-term or contract expertise.

Millennials, which are now the largest generation in the overall global workforce, remain the focus of both the B2B and B2C worlds. Workers that fall into this group have long been known as “job-hoppers,” choosing to migrate from position-to-position more frequently than their generational peers. Millennials remain an ideal source of talent for a variety of reasons, including: their penchant for innovation and technology, their desire to feel a sense of “purpose” in their young careers, and the level of energy that they bring to enterprise projects and initiatives. Millennials fit into the non-employee workforce and the gig economy in the sense that they desire a digital nomadic, flexible lifestyle, which is an ideal attitude for businesses to tap into for contract work.

Online staffing is becoming the very core of the on-demand, non-employee workforce. Revolutionizing the way workers are engaged, online talent platforms and other forms of online staffing present stakeholders and business executives with real-time means of finding and sourcing talent (while also enabling organizations with a “direct” relationship with its talent). By integrating online staffing into greater talent engagement strategies, today’s enterprises are widening their talent pools and ensuring that additional sources of expertise are leveraged (in real time) for critical business projects.

Finally, “agile talent” is a growing concept within the non-employee workforce industry that involves the consistent utilization of highly-specialized skillsets on a recurring contract basis. Agile talent is founded in the belief that truly strategic freelancers or other types of non-employee talent (particularly consultants) can regularly contribute or even shape critical tasks within the modern organization. This attribute navigates beyond the traditional component of CWM, therefore, businesses must formalize a new strategy to manage the consistent engagement and influx of these highly-specialized workers. In order to effectively build an agile talent management strategy, aspects such as mapping of key project/enterprise priorities, alignment of project scope components (i.e. milestones, delivery dates, etc.), and robust onboarding procedures must be leveraged.

Interested in learning more about the changing world of work or evolution of contingent workforce management? Be sure to subscribe to our Contingent Workforce Weekly podcast (new episodes every Wednesday).


The Disruption of Talent Engagement, Part I: Procurement’s New Role in CWM

The Disruption of Talent Engagement, Part II: Disruptive Technologies, Next-Gen Solutions

How Will Business Networks Transform Talent Engagement?

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