Why Direct Sourcing and Talent pools will be the New Normal after COVID-19


“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” ~Rahm Emanuel


We must all adapt to a new economic reality. In time, we will conquer COVID-19. There are too many smart people from all over the globe, giving it the one-two punch.

To illustrate, we are inventing new respirator technology. We are reinventing assembly lines to manufacture hand sanitizer and protective scrubs. We have turned battleships into floating hospitals. The phrase “social distancing” is now a top tweeted hashtag.

What’s more, this is all within the span of a few weeks. And it’s working, slowly.

Undoubtedly, the aftermath will take longer to adjust to and will change the workforce landscape permanently. For example, will all those government employees working remotely want to go back to long commutes, inflexible schedules, and fluorescent lighting? The new normal for the workforce landscape is a fully distributed and much more remote workforce. In reality, that genie is already out of the bottle.


Talent Supply and Workforce Strategy

The time is now to make changes in talent supply and workforce strategy to leverage new and better ways for talent sourcing and deployment. There are new demands for which HR and Talent Acquisition leaders will need solutions. This is where the staffing and recruiting sector will need to pivot quickly.

Hospitality, restaurants, oil & gas, and airlines are facing severe losses. Conversely, food, healthcare, and supply chain have massive ramp-up needs. A total of 10 million people in the US filed unemployment claims in March. By and large, the highest number on record.

Companies facing increased (or very different) demand want innovative and efficient ways to get the talent they now need. The majority, those in cost-cutting mode with employee hiring freezes, must think outside the box as to how work gets done.


Direct Sourcing

Both scenarios will increase the need for Direct Sourcing. This solution dramatically improves speed to hire, quality of hire, and, most importantly, cost to hire. At its core, a direct sourcing strategy leverages the employer’s brand. It uses specialized candidate relationship management technology to proactively build talent pools of pre-qualified candidates interested in contract work for the company.

In our current crisis, this can help by:

  • Saving jobs – By building internal talent pools to redeploy existing staff into other areas of the organization.
  • Delivering successful outplacement – Building talent pools of former staff to share with other organizations who are hiring.
  • Increasing speed & agility – Talent pools built before need by skillset and geography, and candidates connect via SMS/text, which dramatically increases speed-to-hire.
  • Cutting costs – The approach reduces contingent staffing fees, and if you choose a managed service, there are no set up fees.


How to Quickly Get Started With Direct Sourcing

The most significant barrier to implementing direct sourcing is the lack of practical steps and information on this relatively recent innovation. For most organizations, the work and expense required to build a direct sourcing strategy for contract hiring is not sustainable. That is unless your organization already has talent pooling systems and staff in place for your permanent hiring.

A trend we have noticed: small to mid-sized staffing companies increasing creativity and outmaneuvering the big firms.

We have an imperative to be agile, innovative, and provide breakthrough results, or else we can’t beat our larger competitors,” says Edwin Jansen. Edwin is Head of Corporate Development for the Ian Martin Group, a staffing provider with a fully managed direct sourcing offering. They are experiencing increased demand.

They are an example of what smaller staffing firms are doing. Quickly bundling together direct sourcing technology, payrolling, and services wrapper into one solution that provides a unified candidate experience. Additionally, this solution can deploy rapidly, has no setup cost, and delivers at reduced rates.

Example of the components needed, courtesy of the Ian Martin Group:

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The direct sourcing market is noisy. Therefore, it’s essential to look for a provider that has a complete solution and credible experience delivering. Some of our customers have seen success by first performing a controlled pilot, building talent pools of similar positions in concentrated geographic regions.

For companies that need to furlough or lay off workers during this time. In this situation, you can set up internal talent pools to either ramp back up quickly, or redeploy workers to different organizations.

Workforce is the most significant capital expenditure. However, it’s also the biggest opportunity for creative, difference-making strategies. Direct sourced talent pools of contingent talent are one of the best assets a company can have to quickly and cost-effectively respond to a crisis like this.

In summary, we already see that industry and the medical community have responded swiftly to COVID-19. As can be seen, now is the time for recruitment teams to be agile and take proactive action. Which will then improve our ability to be responsive and resilient.

If you’d like to discuss, feel free to reach out, contact info below.

Terri Gallagher

Terri Gallagher is an international speaker and writer as well as a seasoned talent solutions executive and workforce strategy architect. She is the founder of Gallagher and Consultants, a consultancy firm that provides innovative strategies for small-mid size clients to optimize their contingent labor and integrate into effective total workforce strategies. Follow Terri on Twitter @GallagherandCo1 or connect with her on LinkedIn.