Ask a Workforce Expert: 3 Big Talent Questions


Tammy Browning

President, KellyOCG

The most rewarding part of my job is that I get to speak to talent acquisition leaders from everywhere – people in all types of organizations and from nearly every corner of the globe, all with different experiences, ideas, and challenges. I love hearing their take on everything from the work of the future to the latest tech innovations, and it’s really important for me to understand the obstacles they face on their journey to creating a winning talent strategy. Let’s take a closer look at these conversations by answering three of the most common workforce questions I’m hearing right now.

1. How can I get the most from my direct sourcing channels?

Direct sourcing has a lot of buzz around it at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for every business. Do it right and it can deliver the talent at a lower cost; do it wrong and you could be left with a time-consuming and expensive mistake.

Direct sourcing means different things to different people, but ultimately, its’s about pooling talent so that when an organization needs skilled support, they have a ready and waiting community of curated and culturally aligned individuals. Often, this community is made up of people from previous searches or people who have worked with a business in the past. Today, more and more businesses are actively cultivating hybrid direct sourcing pools, engaging candidates outside of their network to save on supplier costs. This sounds great in theory, but it’s important to implement direct sourcing very carefully to reap the value. Talent within a direct sourcing pool doesn’t stick around for very long (KellyOCG found on average, 30 days) and the time and energy a company puts into engaging this pool of people could wipe out any cost savings they might enjoy.

This type of talent pooling works best when a business is looking at clearly defined and repeatable roles that need to be filled regularly. An experienced talent partner can help to identify roles and areas where direct sourcing makes sense and implement it in a way that provides measurable benefits. To get the most from direct sourcing don’t assume it’s the answer, make sure it’s the right fit for your workforce strategy.

2. How can we make our workforce more diverse?

We know that diversity makes organizations more innovative, more profitable, and better for everyone. So, it’s no wonder that diversity is a hot topic in boardrooms all around the globe. But too often, organizations take a narrow view of their diversity initiatives and focus their attention on their permanent workforce. Contingent workers make up an increasing percentage of global workers. This means that it’s vital that organizations include contingent communities in the scope of their diversity approach.

To nurture contingent workforces, businesses have to embed diversity and inclusivity into their hiring culture and practices. Technology is a big part of that equation and it can help leaders to understand how diverse their workforce is today – this often means working with talent partners and suppliers to understand how this information can be captured ethically and legally. After unlocking visibility, the next step is figuring out how to make a business a great place to work – this could be enhancing an employee value proposition, establishing affinity groups or working with diverse institutions. Finally, an organization has to create a workplace where diverse workers want to stay – giving them a voice through working groups and defining career paths to strengthen cultural diversity and grow trust.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is a long, complex, and sometimes uncomfortable journey, but it’s one companies can’t afford not to take. I highly recommend you take a look at Kelly Discover. It’s a solution we’re incredibly proud of, and it helps businesses engage individuals across neurodiverse and opportunity talent communities.

3. How can data and analytics give me insights into the future of work?

Everyone is talking about data. Everyone expects data and analytics from their talent provider – they want to know who they are hiring, where they are hiring, and how often they are hiring. This information is useful but when it comes to the work of the future, it’s table stakes. The really interesting stuff comes when we start diving into predictive analytics, essentially peering into the future based on the information gathered in the past. When thinking about your talent tech stack, predictive analytics is something that should be near the top of your wish list, and it’s only going to become more important.

The pandemic reminded us that everything can change overnight, and organizations can’t afford to keep doing what they’ve always done when it comes to talent. They need to engage the right people at the right price, in a way that allows them to flex to the next global or market crisis. Predictive analytics can help to identify which geographies a business should be hiring in, which low-cost-to-serve markets should be considered, and how, on a wider scale, they can work smarter. It’s not about having a fancy dashboard; it’s about delivering actionable insights that help to reach your goals. I believe predictive analytics has the potential to change our approach to every part of talent management, including direct sourcing and DEI.

Do these questions sound familiar? Maybe you’re asking them right now as you attempt to build a workforce strategy that allows you to navigate a new obstacle or opportunity. If you’d like to talk through any workforce questions, big or small, reach out. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on these issues.


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