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Dissecting the On-Demand Talent Market

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The convergence of interactive talent engagement tools with a shift in worker mindset has created opportunities for companies to acquire critical project skills more easily and expeditiously. As the preference for on-demand talent spreads across industries, companies must adjust to the new workforce paradigm or be trampled on the battlefield for workers possessing the specialized skills needed to survive the competitive business climate. 

The on-demand model changes the way organizations must think about finding and utilizing personnel. Work no longer is defined in terms of jobs or employees, but rather as a series of tasks that must be accomplished by whatever means is most efficient. Just as Amazon, eBay, and Zappos have transformed the way we buy the things we need for our homes and families, Upwork, Toptal, and other talent marketplaces have revolutionized the way hiring enterprises augment their in-house capabilities. And like those consumer sites, hiring managers, procurement departments, and human resource professionals can comparison shop, order the exact skills they want, and accessorize by hiring people with complementary skill sets. Through the rise of minutely tuned vertical-specific labor marketplaces, they can even bundle services, talents, content, and deliverables from a one-stop shop. Projects can be kickstarted with a few clicks from a mobile device and initiated in mere minutes.  

On-demand talent identification, acquisition, application, and management are accelerating the drive toward total talent management and creating exciting possibilities in terms of labor demand forecasting, project budgeting, and just-in-time delivery. Traditional organizations that rely solely on employee labor quickly are finding themselves mired in rigid processes, unable to pivot successfully in response to changes in the market, consumer, or skill-demand. Unless they adapt to the new reality, their ability to innovate, collaborate, and integrate will sufferThe only solution is to rapidly build infrastructure to tap into diverse sources of talent that can be accessed and called upon to solve specific technical and creative challenges.  

The good news is, it is not too late, but you must start immediately. Start by dissecting the on-demand talent market as it applies to your firm. This will help you determine which components of the industry – its business models, platforms, vendors, and technology modules – you should implement to ensure the greatest chance for success. As you evaluate these options, ask yourself these questions: 

What type of contingent workers are you most likely to need and use? 

  • Independent contractors and freelancers  workers who run their own part-time or full-time business, marketing themselves and billing for their services on their own. They set their own rates, and it is often left to the hiring organization to vet their credentials by examining their portfolios, testimonials, and resumes to determine their value, as compared to others in the same line of work.
  • Gig workers  also work independently, but whose marketing, payment collection, and job assignments are handled through an online platform or application. Drivers for ride share companies are examples. The platform earns a fee or commission for assigning drivers to one-off tasks. The platform also ensures the workers meet the minimum qualifications.
  • Crowdworkers – typically reserved for low-skill tasks such as data entry and data scraping, these workers often form pools of labor working on large projects, getting paid per piece, survey, or other micro-job they complete. Others may compete against other crowdsourced workers for a monetary prize for, say, drawing a logo or coming up with a tagline. 

What structure will your on-demand workforce management program take? 

Do you have the management skill and resources to structure projects into a series of micro-tasks that can be assigned to many different contingent workers? Or is it more likely that you would hire project managers or creatives to work with your in-house implementation team?  How do you intend to find these workers – through vertical labor platforms, by building your own talent pool and pipeline, or by trusting a managed service provider to integrate all sources of traditional and external talent?

  • How much control over the process do you need? The more input and regular management of the project you need to exert, the less convenient the use of external talent becomes. If you set tight parameters on what experience level, proficiency, and geographical location are acceptable, or if you insist on interviewing candidates before hiring them, you will have to allocate managers and administrators to guide the process. If, on the other hand, you do not wish to be bothered with these details, you can leave them to a marketplace platform to make the assignment.
  • Can you forecast and/or manage your talent demand? Is your business cyclical or does it have predictable seasonal demand – for sales staff during the holidays, for example? Is much of your permanent workforce approaching retirement age? Is your industry evolving, unpredictable, or making constant use of innovations? Your answers will go a long way to determining which technologies, talent suppliers and marketplaces, and specific contingent workers you will need to target in order to gain access to the types of talent your company needs.

The talent management professionals at Metasys can help you analyze your company’s workforce, industry, and resources to answer these questions. As a full-service managed service provider, Metasys understands the ins and outs of the gig economy and the strengths each type of worker brings to organizations. We can ensure not only that you can find the skills you need, but also give you the tools to attract and acquire that talent. We will ensure all your contingent labor hires are correctly classified and all labor, finance, and compliance regulations are followed. Contact Metasys today, and we will develop a contingent workforce management plan customized for your company. With Metasys designing your talent engagement and planning, your organization will have a blueprint for obtaining workers with the skills you require and integrating contract, freelance, and gig work workers with each other and your in-house staff for maximum productivity. 


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