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Direct sourcing: 3 Steps to designing your program for contract talent

Aug 21, 2019


Even the best talent organizations can struggle when it comes to launching an enterprise-wide direct sourcing program. Although most efforts are well founded, some businesses may struggle with the assumption that informal direct sourcing activities can scale up easily (they don’t!), and fail to consider program participation dynamics from the talent’s point of view.

Launching an effective direct sourcing program will allow your organization to build a community of engaged talent, thereby lowering the cost of acquisition and increasing contractor performance while on assignment.

Here’s how to do it:

The approach

All best-in-class programs are designed with a three-part approach. This approach involves a cross-functional team of key client representatives and supporting team members. When preparing your direct sourcing program, components should include: Client goals, experience of the candidate, and program architecture. Although change management is fundamental, it will require its own dedicated work stream.

Step 1.
Setting Client Goals (and resourcing)
Great programs start with a set of clear and achievable goals, supported by a resourcing plan that provides all of the people and technology required to achieve success. When setting program goals, an organization should pick two or three of the ones below as the principal focus of their program.  Which goals are most important to you?

• Better access to talent
• Save money
• Increase transparency & control
• Improve contractor experience
• Independence from vendors
• Manage risk

Step 2.
Experience Design: The source of participation
Building a community of engaged contractors and future employees is not easy – it requires very intentional thinking from the talent’s perspective about the experience and benefits of participation. Poor experience design and inconsistent participation incentives will mean your program is unlikely to resonate with contractors, and those that do join, will tend to fall off quickly.

Business owners can off-set this by leveraging a process based on experience design. This includes analyzing your organization’s current needs and environment, followed by development of participant personas and crafting relevant value propositions at each phase of the relationship lifecycle.

Step 3. 
Fundamental program architecture 
In tandem with the experience design process, every program needs to define its fundamental structure and policy decisions that will govern day to day operations. We define this as the people, process, policy and technology elements of your direct sourcing program.  Identifying and addressing these components is fundamental to its success; however, many organizations approach these decisions in an ad-hoc way, as opposed to part of a larger design and outcome driven initiative.

A successful program will take into consideration these 5 major decisions:

• Payroll management model
• Sourcing format
• Rate management card
• Onboarding requirements
• Governance/KPIs

Building a strong direct sourcing program can be as easy, or difficult as you make it - it all depends on your goals and approach. A basic program will offer a clear framework for onboarding and managing your contingent workers safely over the engagement lifecycle. Want more information on designing your direct sourcing program?  Download our free white paper: How to Optimize Costs with Directly Sourced Contractors: 


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