7 Tips for Stretching Talent Bill Rates in 2017

In the spirit of holiday giving and the annual attempt to stay within budget during what can be a precarious time of year, we gift you these tips for controlling contingent talent costs and creating balance in your budget. May you find the peace and joy of the season while showering loved ones with gifts and being competitive contingent talent buyers!

1.       Don’t forget! Look internally before buying external talent.

Often in the rush to fill an immediate talent need, organizations overlook the opportunity to leverage to internal talent to fill a short term gap.  This should be the first question we prompt our hiring managers to ask themselves. Second, is a FTE or Contract to Hire search more appropriate than a short term contingent hire? And, what is the budget and talent resource strategy? Remember to build this starting point into the hiring workflow for contingent roles and to guide hiring managers to work with leadership and HR to answer.

2.       Define the scope of the project and evaluate talent to expand it.

A strong job description is always critical to a successful hire. When candidates have been identified that meet the required skills of the role, meet with them to understand their broader skill set, experience, and attributes which can be used to expand the original scope of the role. Often organizations miss the opportunity to capture the full contribution that contingent talent can bring to the table!

3.       Consider leveraging talent in additional areas outside of their subject matter expertise.

The organization has hired talent to support the online marketing aspects of the project. It so happens that the talent is also a gifted designer. Recognize and support the contribution and perspective and receive twice the contribution for the same bill rate!

4.       Reward timely search and placements – with talent vendors and hiring managers.

Time is money. The shorter the search and hire process, the quicker the contribution of the talent. Ensure that the talent vendors driving the search process for you are not just measured on how quickly they produce candidates for hiring manager review, but that there are incentives tied to this aspect of scorecard metrics.

Hiring Managers are key drivers of the hire process. The quicker the interview and process hire is completed, the more likely it is for the organization to secure the best talent at the best bill rate. Ensure managers understand and are accountable that they are critical participants in the time sensitive hire process.

5.       Incent based on milestones and longevity.

Bill rates can be tied to incentive payments to ensure successful milestone and project completion. It is okay to structure a contingent project in terms of total compensation! Doing so rewards for performance and builds buy in during both short and long term projects. Work with the organization’s program management teams to create total compensation packages which can be used to contain cost and ensure success from the start of the hire process.

6.       Allow for flexibility!

Research indicates that telecommuting and flexible work arrangements are some of the primary reasons that talent leaves the full time work market and enters into the contingent work market. Offering and using these kind of balance benefits in the hire process allows the organization to not only save on office costs, but to hire experienced talent that actively seeks out these kinds of work arrangements.

7.       Create brand ambassadors of your talent.

Remember that brand awareness and is a concept that is understood and evaluated by talent as well as by consumers. The best talent on the market is sophisticated and network well with strong resources in place to determine if there is a “fit” before they even agree to be considered for a contingent opportunity.

When there are reputational issues with the brand, it becomes extremely challenging to attract top talent to the organization. Understand and socialize the organization’s brand (and brand challenges) within the vendor and talent community.

Upon engagement, value each talent’s contribution. Create discussion around how to be considered for FTE with the organization. Ensure that the contingent talent exiting your organization are satisfied with their experience and were encouraged to contribute. Ultimately, this creates an easier (and more cost effective) environment for your talent vendors to recruit talent for the organization!