Signals #3 – Talent Platforms

Challenge

  • Hiring full-time employees doesn’t always make sense. The right talent might not be available locally. But you still want to get the job done with good quality.

Opportunity

  • Hire from vetted platforms that only let 1-5% of the top talent in.

Get Started

  • Go for platforms that understand the industry you are in. Don’t go for coders if what you need is an engineer. Make sure the platform has proven references from projects that you are carrying out.
  • Prepare to pay more than on regular platforms. But remember, with the price tag comes quality and peace of mind.
  • Build a long-term strategy on how to get the best out of the on-demand workforce. Most companies use these platforms on ad-hoc basis. Build a blended model that allows merging your full-time workforce with on-demand talent.

Platforms

Pros

  • Screening and matching are the most important parts when ensuring the quality and suitability of on-demand talent. By using a vetted platform you ensure that the hard parts have already been done for you.
  • You can hire prebuilt teamsinstead of individualsRarely can a project be completed by a sole individual these days. Hiring a successful team that has already worked together in the past makes a lot of sense.
  • Using on-demand talent allows your full-time employees to work on projectswith greatest strategic importance. Proceed with your big goals while still keeping the payroll manageable.

Cons

  • Many associate using outside hires with lower salary costs. With top-tier talent this isn’t likely the case. However, consider this: how much time, resources and risk are you allocating to a full-time senior hire?
  • Higher price doesn’t always guarantee higher quality. Other checks need to be in place: has the hired talent understood the job at hand, what’s their history with former clients, can they communicate with you effectively?
  • Freelancers are what their title indicates: freeThey might not always be accessible. In addition, your company’s success is probably not their top priority. They do not necessarily have access to the same information that full-time employees do.

Cases

  • 90% of business leaders report that talent platforms will be important to their future competitive advantage.
  • Shell built their own on-demand talent platform internally: people with cutting-edge skills like robotics and machine learning could work on projects outside their own department.
  • Unilever experimented with 50+ pilot projects first, before committing to anything: external and internal talent platforms, freelancing marketplaces and crowdsourcing innovation platforms.
  • General Electric partnered up with Upwork to create a qualified external talent pool. Less than 1 day to find talent, projects performed 50% faster.
  • Sidekick used freelancers from Toptal to build a mobile app in 3 weeks and a database 10x faster.

Resources

Takeaways

  • Blended models of employment are here. In the future companies will maintain a small core workforce consisting of key players, and hire the rest on-demand.
  • Rethink talent as a strategic issue, rather than an HR issue.
  • Only a handful of companies are using on-demand talent as a competitive advantage. Go beyond ad-hoc, build it into your strategy.