Talent Pools are a powerful way to segment, engage and manage an organisation's workforce, especially when specific projects require different workers, suppliers and contractors need to be brought together.
In this guide:
A Talent Pool is a collection of workers, suppliers or contractors that share a similar skill, experience or attribute. Talent pools are a method of segmenting an organisation's workforce, very specifically for talent management, HR and project resourcing.
In a very basic example, if your workforce is divided into four groups of skills: design, development, project management, sales, these cohorts could be neatly organised into four talent pools: Designers, Developers, Project Managers, Sales.
A common talent pool strategy is to segment a workforce based on skill or skill plus location. E.g., French Speaking C# Developers or Hong Kong Based Tax Accountants.
Additionally, Talent Pools can also be used to group workers or suppliers based on other attributes. For example, talent pools can be used to group sliver-medalists and alumni.
Talent pools can take on different guises based on their characteristics and the members of the talent pool. There are two main ways to categorise talent pools:
External talent pools, as the name suggests, are for segmenting external 3rd parties such as freelancers, contractors or suppliers.
Internal talent pools are comprised of an organisation's employee workforce. These are typically very specific to a skill or common trait. Whilst not as common as external talent pools, an organisation may use internal talent pools to bring together employees for specific projects that require specialist skills.
Private talent pools are invite-only, meaning that only selected, vetted workers are able to join and be members of the talent pool. Private talent pools, due to the nature of the vetting and selection are usually easier to manage, more engaged and yield the best results in terms of time-to-hire and output quality.
Public talent pools are largely open to all workers. Public talent pools, whilst larger, can develop the problems inherent with talent marketplaces: low levels of engagement, varying day-rates/costs and inconsistent levels of quality.
There are two main, and interconnected, benefits of using talent pools:
Used correctly, talent pools allow an organisation to group, manage and engage pre-vetted, highly skilled workers and suppliers. This makes it very easy to match a project with the right talent. Considering it can take up to 5 months to recruit a permanent hire and the productivity gap costs on average £5,700, the advantages of being able to hire in hours/days through pre-vetted, engaged talent pools are significant.
A knock-on benefit of hiring talent via talent pools is that talent is easier to retain. Once a freelancer, contractor or supplier sees value in being an active member of a talent pool, they are more likely to be receptive to future opportunities and projects.
Managing talent pools effectively poses three main challenges. In this next section, we'll explore how talent pool technology now provides a solution.
Talent pools are extremely flexible. And with most modern talent pool technology, there are no limits or constraints on the type or number of talent pools you can have. But to get the most value from your talent pools, you should focus on the talent pools that you'll actually use.
Technology like Talon can provide reporting to help you identify commonly posted project types, in-demand skills or regularly engaged freelancers, contractors and suppliers. You can then create a new talent pool in a couple of clicks.
Managing and engaging an effective talent pool requires a fine balance of supply and demand. Too many workers and you'll start to lose engagement. Too few workers and you'll start to struggle to resource new projects.
Talon's talent pool technology provides intelligent application funnel visualisation reports at a project level to allow you to make fine adjustments to the number of members of a given talent pool. If you have a surplus of workers, you can use reviews, recommendations and performance reporting to remove poor performers. If you have a shortage of workers, you can use job-board and social media integrations to attract, vet and shortlist new talent pool members.
As discussed in our guide on the challenges of direct sourcing, The simplest route to engagement is to ensure every freelancer, consultant or contractor in your talent pool is working on a project. However, whilst this is the simplest route, it's not the most practical.
At any given time, there will be a portion of your contingent talent pool without any work to do for you. To ensure these workers are there and available for the next time, you need regularly engage them.
But not all contingent workers are equal. They will all need different nudges and communications to stay engaged. For example:
Recently unsuccessful members of your talent pool may be most receptive to an email or phone call to discuss upcoming opportunities.
Active, successful, applicants are pretty ripe for any communication. They are going to be keen to hear what you have to say. Email communication about your 'freelancer value proposition' or how you ensure IR35 compliance would be useful and engaging.
Talent pool members that have never responded to a invite to tender, or opened an email, are likely engaged elsewhere. The best way to get these people back would be contextual advertising.
Identifying these different segments of your talent pools is possible with on-demand workforce software. TalonFMS, for example, through its integration with some of the popular email marketing platforms can create and sync mailing lists in real-time so it's easy for you to keep your contingent workers engaged with meaningful, timely, relevant communication.
Talent pools enable businesses to move, adapt and resource projects faster. They are a fundamental component of unlocking the cost saving potential of a direct sourcing program. But it is vital to ensure that an organisation retains tight control over the quality of the members of its talent pools.
The most effective way to create a flexible, responsive, liquid workforce AND retain control over the quality its members is to use private, external talent pools, with very strict protocols over vetting and onboarding unknown workers.
TalonFMS' talent pool technology, provides channel agnostic talent acquisition capability backed by configurable, automated vetting and onboarding quality protection processes.
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