It’s incredible to see how far contingent work has come and how it continues to evolve. The gig economy is booming today, and the peak has yet to arrive. According to a 2022 McKinsey survey, 36 percent of employed U.S. respondents identify as independent workers, a number that has grown by almost 10 percent since 2016.
As contingent workers have become more integral to workforces, they have become savvier, too. They decide what organizations they want to work for, the projects they want to work on, and they set their schedules and rates. As a result, they’ve learned how to direct their careers and harness their potential to find new and better opportunities.
Yet many organizations still struggle to find these people and build a stronger contingent workforce. Too often, a chasm exists between critical business needs and this widely untapped workforce’s potential. As a result, the need to connect organizations and contingent workers has never been greater.
As a product leader at an organization with the mission to find the right career for everyone in the world — and put the right talent intelligence and technology into business leaders’ hands — we know there is a better way to find, hire, and even rehire elastic talent.
Scale with a true elastic talent strategy
Today’s economic environment dictates that we look for ways to do more with less. Contingent workers are one of the most effective and efficient ways to strengthen any workforce.
As flexibility and skills become increasingly important in our ever-changing world, more organizations must ask:
- How do we break down silos to connect contingent hiring to broader hiring strategies?
- How do we improve the quality of hires while mitigating high costs?
- How do we speed up time to hire?
First, let’s look at the traditional contingent hiring process. Partnerships with specialty suppliers have contributed to rising costs, slowed hiring processes, and often mismatches between worker and gig.
Integrating the needs of HR, procurement, and hiring managers calls for a reimagined approach that considers skills-gap analysis, cost to hire, and time to hire. A comprehensive talent strategy incorporating contingent workers helps organizations build a balanced workforce that cost-effectively meets immediate skill needs.
Here’s where to start:
- Build bridges between procurement and HR. There’s a clear opportunity for procurement and HR to strengthen their partnership so the organization can comprehensively view the entire talent pool. Reaching shared business goals requires both teams to lower costs and hiring times while finding suitable candidates for the gig, which increases hiring manager satisfaction.
- Embrace direct sourcing. Outsourcing contingent hiring can result in inconsistent quality, high markups, and slow processes. In fact, going through agencies can cost about 20 percent or more of the contingent worker’s salary, with less insight into a candidate’s potential and capabilities.
- Get a 360-degree view of your contingent workforce. By connecting contingent hiring to your organization’s big-picture talent acquisition strategies, talent leaders won’t lose sight of great candidates once they’ve completed a project. Keeping them in the loop makes engaging great talent in new projects faster and easier.
One of our customers, Dolby, is harnessing the power of their contingent workforce by bringing it in-house. By relying less on agencies, they have expanded visibility into the capabilities of contingent talent so they can better match candidates to the right gigs. Ultimately, this strategy transforms their contingent workforce from filling a short-term need to becoming a competitive advantage.
“Now we use AI, automation, and candidate relationship management to build talent pools we can leverage again,” said Alan Kumar, Elastic Talent Program Manager at Dolby. “It’s a fundamental shift from the traditional.”
Building a contingent workforce is easier than ever with AI
With several stakeholders involved across the organization, it’s never been more essential to break down barriers in contingent hiring. Talent and procurement leaders need the insights and support they can only get from deep-learning AI to help streamline this process and support their elastic talent strategies.
Eightfold Talent Flex offers instant access to the entire talent pool of contingent workers — including previous employees, candidates who just missed getting an offer, and past contingent workers — helping talent and procurement leaders find high-quality hires faster. AI also makes finding great people with diverse skill sets easier and enables organizations to redeploy people once projects end.
We do this by tapping into the Eightfold Talent Intelligence Platform, which deeply understands people’s current skills while also identifying their future capabilities. This intelligence extends to the contingent hiring process by incorporating visibility into past projects so talent leaders can feel confident recommending the best person for the gig.
Finally, organizations will have more power and flexibility to scale up and down as needed, close skills gaps, and lower costs and time to hire across the board, all while minimizing dependencies on outside staffing firms.
At Eightfold, we believe in the power of AI to transform talent into a competitive advantage — and integrating elastic talent into your overall workforce strategies will be essential to staying ahead. Our latest updates with Eightfold Talent Flex support organizations and serve talent and business leaders as they navigate what’s next.
Sachit Kamat is Chief Product Officer at Eightfold AI. Learn more about how Eightfold Talent Flex can help with all your contingent hiring needs.