The Current and Future State of Direct Sourcing


Rana Fatima: Awesome. Perfect. Hello and welcome everyone. I hope you guys are able to hear me on the right and just wanting to check? Perfect. I think it's all good. Great. Did we miss it? I think Bruce, 

Jonathan Prothero: We lost Bruce. He'll be back not to worry. 

Rana Fatima: Awesome. So nonetheless, I'll get started on my end.

Rana Fatima: Hello and welcome everyone. I'm Rana Fatima. I am on the Talent Tech Labs team. And today we'll be discussing and talking about the current and future state of direct sourcing. I hope you guys have had a number of great sessions today and I hope today will just be or the session will be another one as well.

Rana Fatima: In terms of Talent Tech Labs to give you guys a bit of a background. Talent Tech labs is a research and advisory firm exclusively focused on IT tech and helping companies like yourselves solve your business and recruiting challenges. Here is a list of some of our staffing clients. And so just to say, we're very acquainted and intimately familiar with the challenges that many of you in our audience today are facing.

Rana Fatima: And the one we'll be focusing on today is Direct Sourcing. TTL is definitely no stranger to direct sourcing. And we've spent the last couple of years building up some great research material to help our, to help guide our members as they go through identifying their needs and establishing a direct sourcing strategy.

Rana Fatima: I've just thrown in a couple of logos on the side of clients, as well as. People that have kind of helped source and help produce some of this research as well. So I've got a ton of great resources out there. And today I'm introducing some of our panelists. Our panelists today include Jonathan , who is a president, and co-founder at TalentNet.

Rana Fatima: Jonathan comes to us today with 20 years of experience in staffing and a lot of experience building companies in the TA space. We're also joined by Bruce Morton, who is the Head of Strategy at Allegis. He's a strategy expert and focused on global workforce design. And Bruce brings us some of the experiences working with clients on all scales.

Rana Fatima: And firstly, I'd like to thank Jonathan and Bruce today for their time and the opportunity to learn from their experiences when it comes to direct sourcing. Also, I guess I'm the moderator. But I'll just before we get started and we start getting into the nitty-gritty. I'd love to take everyone just through a quick overview of direct sourcing.

Rana Fatima: The evolution of direct sourcing comes from VMS systems that have developed and given rise to MSPs, which have pushed the need for direct sourcing to the front. According to the 2020 SIA workforce solutions buyer survey, we've seen really high adoption rates in all these technologies and an impressive 60% are planning on exploring direct sourcing.

Rana Fatima: According to our numbers at TTL, we estimate that about 5-6% of the current ecosystem is actually engaging in direct sourcing today. So I guess the question kind of becomes what is direct sourcing. And to put it as simply as possible. It's when a company leverages its own candidate pool to find in place contingent and temporary employees within the company, this could be through alumni or retirees, silver medalist candidates.

Rana Fatima: The like, and we've identified that there are three main components of direct sourcing. And these three components could be a sourcing, the sourcing tech or strategy itself, the curation process of selection. And then finally the compliance components that act as the backend to kind of tie it all to that.

Rana Fatima: And with regards to today's session, we'll be going over some fundamental topics when it comes to exploring the direct sourcing model. i.e What do you need to get started? How does direct sourcing play with your existing strategies? How useful is direct sourcing really? And what is the future of direct sourcing?

Rana Fatima: Frankly, the numbers speak for themselves, direct sourcing, a hot topic. And while a lot of companies are interested in exploring this, they simply don't know what they don't know in order to get started. And our hope today is that we'll be able to clear some of these unknowns for you and build a case for a direct sourcing strategy in your organization.

Rana Fatima: So I guess I'll just kick it off with a couple of different questions, but I'll start off with Jonathan as President and co-founder of TalentNet. How would you describe the technology platform of TalentNet and what does direct sourcing look like for a corporate client as opposed to a staffing?

Jonathan Prothero: Yeah. Great question. So the TalentNet platform, we started in this space in 2013, and I've really had the privilege of being one of the first organizations in the North American market to come out with a direct sourcing platform. And it is a platform that's designed on existing workflows. So when you ask about the technology, it is really an extension of existing VMS workflows.

Jonathan Prothero: So today most organizations have. VMS in place. And the primary goal of a VMS is exactly what the name states, which is vendor management, what a direct source platform, like TalentNet, allows these organizations to also use their own brands, to attract talent, to create talent pools, to re-engage workforces that they know.

Jonathan Prothero: And don't. Our brand attracted talent to engage those workers and bring them before they go to PSL or preferred supplier list. So what does it mean to a client? Well, it means a lot of things, obviously. There's been a lot of talk of cost savings speed, efficiency, quality, et cetera. But there's a few other things I think we'll talk about today, specifically around brand and managing brand and brand awareness as well as things like the war on talent, et cetera, but lots of positives for our client at the first staffing firm.

Jonathan Prothero: It's a new, it's a new era. It's a new area that is not going away. So staffing firms today need to have a strategy in terms of what they're going to do in the direct source space and what it could be to be a curator in the direct source space, or be one of the service providers that do this, whether it be in the enterprise or the mid-market space.

Rana Fatima: Awesome. Yeah, I think definitely even looking at some of the research that we've looked at and everything. An area that a lot of staff and clients are really well positioned to start taking advantage of. So I guess Bruce how clients at Allegis typically start their journey in deploying a direct sourcing program and what are some internal and external initial steps that they have to take?

Bruce Morton: Yeah. Hi. Hi. Thanks. Rana. Thanks for having me here today. So as we think about this obviously this is in the MSP context where we are managing and organizing all of their non-employee workforce, helping them attract, manage onboard and onboard those folks. So this is in a way, a natural progression of that, where an organization starts to identify certain skill sets, certain geographies, where it might be better suited for them to be going direct and using that brand.

Bruce Morton: And I think some of that has been driven from both sides of the. One is John touched on, I think, you know, a few years ago, organizations were predominantly thinking about this as a cost saving exercise in today's talent, a short market that sort of goes away, becomes secondary or third. This is now about, for those individuals that have decided that they want to work for my organization.

Bruce Morton: In a new formal contract, be it contingent. How do I allow them to find me a lot easier and actually have that personal interaction to see if it's right for them, how the conversation and get on board. So in a way, this is, you know, a lot of his growth has been driven by the changing worker and the changing social contract in a way that how people think about that career.

Bruce Morton: I think any staffing firm online now will know if you've been around long enough. Like I have people who used to work, walk into your branch and say, show me your job. What jobs have you got today? And it sort of didn't matter what they were now. It's not that I'm in charge of my own career. I've decided to be a freelancer or a contractor.

Bruce Morton: And there are certain organizations that I want to get among resumes to make me more valuable so that organizations are waking up to that and reacting to that approach. You know, if somebody goes into our career site and they want to work for us as an employee, it's like, Hey, we're the greatest company that will come on board.

Bruce Morton: If I want to go there for 12 months, it's like, well go away. So that has been a lot of that driving. So a long-winded way of answering your question internally. I think our clients are. It makes sense. We want to get to that group, that cohort of individuals, what are the best way of doing that from a type of position and how do we then start thinking about positioning those open racks in the marketplace directly?

Bruce Morton: So I know we'll get onto this later, but it isn't as easy as switching, turning on a switch, whether that's so much procurement or whether it's somebody in HR, they come at it from different ways where they have to go through that process of getting everybody on board. Because this isn't a case of building it and they will come.

Bruce Morton: It's a lot of change management, a lot of internal promotion, make sure that everybody understands that this is an opportunity to get people. 

Rana Fatima: Perfect. Yeah, I definitely think there's a lot of backend work that needs to be done in terms of setting up the organization to be ready for our direct sourcing program.

Rana Fatima: Right. So I guess for Jonathan, what would you say are some of the obstacles that you see clients having to overcome before a robust, direct source program could be put in place? 

Jonathan Prothero: Well, the biggest obstacle right now is just knowledge. It is a new space. It's a new strategy. More adopted at least in a certain slant in places like Europe, but in North America.

Jonathan Prothero: Direct sourcing is a few years old and certainly at the scale and volume that we're seeing it implemented now. So just general access to information, best practices, how to launch a program. What's the best strategy, you know, is it geographically? Is it skill-based how to then educate internal folks to understand the value, you know, end of the day, you've got a hiring manager who doesn't really necessarily care.

Jonathan Prothero: They just want great talent. So educating those folks and making sure that they're aware of the value of direct sourcing. And more my new things within an organization. How do you get a brand on board? What does legal have to say? Because they will always have something to say. What about technology?

Jonathan Prothero: You know, what existing technology agreements do you have in place? That may or may not compliment what you're doing from a direct source strategy? So there's a lot of moving pieces. I, TalentNet, we put together something called our program readiness and it's something we've been doing for a number of years now.

Jonathan Prothero: But it is exactly that it's an educational process that we go through with all of our clients to really give them the nuts and bolts of what they need to do to launch a program. And as part of that, it is a goal setting strategy and that's the biggest one is what do you want to get out of direct sourcing?

Jonathan Prothero: Everyone has a different strategy. Some people, we have clients where it's an alumni redeployment, that's their whole strategy and other clients. Yeah, I've got a huge number. I need to save for my procurement team. And in some it's things like brand, we want to protect our brand and control the message to the marketplace.

Jonathan Prothero: So starting there and working your way backwards. There's a number of strategies that today are unfortunately aren't I guess as well-ingrained as some of the strategies that have been around for years, but they will be we're confident that eventually this will be table stakes and something that every program does just like they do all other best practices within contingent.

Rana Fatima: Awesome. Yeah. I think one of the biggest things that probably some of our audience might be thinking about is that, you know, direct source programs seem so similar to an MSP or a contingent labor program. So why does it make sense actually, to build a direct source program within an MSP contingent labor program?

Rana Fatima: And this question kind of goes up to Bruce. 

Bruce Morton: You know, I think that the. You know, one of the jobs of an MSP is to create an umbrella for risk compliance, visibility, transparency, and strategy across the non-employee workforce. You know, typically in today's world, that includes all the service providers as well.

Bruce Morton: So as you're thinking about standing up a program like this, and I guess I'm slightly biased because I'm within MSP, but for us, it makes sense that it's under that. Because he doesn't want it to be sitting outside of a program where it can get a bit out of control and get a bit rogue taking it by being in the program, you know, then get access to all of the best practices around max bill rate.

Bruce Morton: What should we be paying for this? Where's the availability, whereabouts, you know, in today's talent, anywhere world, whether those skillsets switching right now, your MSP can provide all of that. So you can be far more targeted. And have more science. If you like around which positions you're going to be deliberately selected, that can be filled in this way, because you know, where we are in our approach is very adamant that these are exclusive roles for direct sourcing.

Bruce Morton: We've violently consulted against don't pitching these out against your suppliers. It's just the easiest way to turn your suppliers off. So you're going to ring fence saying we need to be competent. You confirmed through this. One of the ways you get that confidence is data, which is what you're going to get from the MSP.

Bruce Morton: And so that's all, you know, I say might be my slightly bias lens, but I would always recommend putting it in the same program. Even for those organizations that are self managing an MSP, having it under the same roof just makes a ton of sense. 

Rana Fatima: That makes sense. I guess, piggybacking a little off of your very clear bias, I'll ask you a follow up question and that's what role does allegiance play as the MSP and curator in direct sourcing programs?

Bruce Morton: Yeah it's a bit of a mixed bag. As in, you know, they're all different flavors with different organizations. Some companies have taken a sort of talent acquisition approach to this and say, Hey, we've got a big T 18. You know, attracting perm hires, they own the database where all those potential contractors are setting.

Bruce Morton: So we want you to manage this. Allegis, you know, we obviously we're partnering with talent that we're using that technology, but from that QA perspective, it just makes sense because we've got that group of people there. We'll do the QA ourselves with other organizations too. Hey, now we want you to do that, you know, and we have a, you know, then we plugged that into our global RTC infrastructure to do that.

Bruce Morton: And then other times it might be a third party. It might be a staffing company that the organization has a great relationship with. They know them really well, and then it makes sense for them to do it. So, you know, it's sort of like horses for courses, but I think it's something that organizations that are moving into as well think very clearly about, and also make sure that they understand the difference between curation and recruiting.

Bruce Morton: It's called a different name for a reason, and this makes takes a different skill sets. And a different discipline. So, that's so the answer to your question is there are different ways. But the most important thing is there is a curator who owns that curation. Don't try and do it without that. You know, let's just set up.

Rana Fatima: That makes sense. I guess my next question would probably be for both of you, and I'd love to hear both of your thoughts on this, but what happens if your staffing supplier in our audience and you don't have an MSP, how do you stay relevant with all these changes going on? And doesn't a direct sourcing program actually make sense for them.

Jonathan Prothero: Yeah, go for it. So we've seen this in many cases, organizations that launch a direct source program and over time that direct source program becomes more and more successful. And of course that has an impact on staffing suppliers, their PSL. What I have seen as a great strategy that's kept the best of the best tool is sort of an optimization if you will, of those providers.

Jonathan Prothero: So. Take an organization that now three years into their direct source fills 50% of their roles. They may have a third of the staffing providers they used to have, but those providers that are the most successful are still getting the same share of business that they had originally. So that's the one thing to keep in mind is how do you position yourself?

Jonathan Prothero: How do you continue to add value? And ultimately that's through results, if you are good. And you're one of the top providing PSI. You've got nothing to worry about. So that's the first thing that I would mention the second is what are you doing in curation? If you haven't thought about becoming a curator and speaking to your clients about curation, I think you're doing yourself a disservice.

Jonathan Prothero: And if you have, then I think you're on the right track at that point. It's, you know, what are the best practices of a curator? How does it different from what Bruce says? How does it differ from your traditional recruitment and what best practices are quickly being adopted in the industry.

Jonathan Prothero: Those are all things that you need to absorb in and make part of your curation practice. 

Bruce Morton: Yeah. Just to add particularly to that first point, Jonathan, when it was making it now, it's think that, you know, like gas is that every staffing company, if you're delivering through an MSP, you're aware that you'll be in that.

Bruce Morton: Every second of every day of your success rate and know through optimization, there are some winners and some losers. There's always people at the bottom of the table. Right? So now, as organizations are thinking about more optimization, that means that it's more important for you to be in that top five, not the bottom five.

Bruce Morton: So being. Laser-focused on only going after those jobs. You think you've got a, you know, you've got a really good chance of filling because it's all about metrics. Now you could be filling a hundred jobs, but if you're getting a thousand only filling a hundred, that might be bad news. If you're getting a hundred and putting 80, that's a much better story from an MSP perspective.

Bruce Morton: So, you know, for those owners and managers of staffing companies, it's, you know, it's a good time to double down on that and really study those ratios that.

Rana Fatima: Awesome. It seems we have a question from the audience. I'll just pose this to my moderator or my panelists. Would you guys rather answer the questions as they come in or do you want me to save them at the end for Q/A by the way? Awesome. Yeah. So, Chris in our chat is asking about the last question we just spoke about: does Allegis position the management of direct sourcing talent pools as a separate service.

Rana Fatima: And do you have a preferred technology? 

Bruce Morton: So the answer to the first one is do we sell and provide direct sourcing as a standalone offering? No. But it is a separate service within an MSP. So hopefully that answers, that makes sense. So there's not a standard product that we take to market, but it is all, it's something that we include in our MSP as a separate service line.

Bruce Morton: But under that umbrella and the preferred technology, are you looking at it, Jonathan? So that was an easy one talent. And I thought about our partner in this space. 

Jonathan Prothero: Good answer, Bruce. I like that one 

Bruce Morton: to that. 

Jonathan Prothero: Perfect. Okay. 

Rana Fatima: Awesome. And I guess my next question will be for Jonathan. What are some of the benefits that early adopters of direct sourcing or benefiting from?

Jonathan Prothero: Yeah, another good question. Obviously the big ones cost savings. If you're contingent programs run on under procurement, obviously cost savings is always a big one. And I'll do some defending of our staffing from friends that may or may not be on this call. You know, the typical approach to cost savings is squeezed the staffing firms.

Jonathan Prothero: And unfortunately I think that's. Sort of a well beaten path for a long time, in my opinion and a direct source solution. Leave your staffing firms alone. You need to go after your low lying fruit yourself using your own brand. There's your cost savings. If your staffing firms are used for those roles, you can't fill great.

Jonathan Prothero: They should be compensated for that and they should be compensated in a fair and equitable way. So. You know, I think when you look at what the levers are in a direct source and the volume and savings that you can implement into a contingent program, it's far out, in ways, any program that you can squeeze on your poor PSL.

Jonathan Prothero: So, you know, that's the number one sort of feedback that we get is the amount of savings in some of the programs, some of our larger programs, millions and millions of dollars they're saving through their direct source program. Or at least cost avoidance depending on how you're looking at it, but there are a bunch of other levers obviously quality being able to track and redeploy known workforce whenever you're re-engaging with somebody and staffing firms know this high quality predictors, when you've had somebody who's already worked at a firm, being able to track that redeploy those people, whether they're alumni or even silver medalist for that matter.

Jonathan Prothero: And then there's the idea of having a localized location, a talent pool. So. My former interns, my former co-ops, my former full-time alumni. You put them all in one place. The options that you have from having a properly run talent pool go far beyond contingent. And I think we'll talk about that a little bit with the future of direct source, but quality is a huge one.

Jonathan Prothero: And speed, obviously, if you're using your brand and going to market right away and your technology partner like TalentNet. Has the ability to broadcast those roles to social media, your career page, job board, within seconds of it being released within your vendor management system, that has a lot of power and a lot of speed.

Jonathan Prothero: You know, some of our top clients with big brands have. Dozens, if not more applications in the first 10, 15 minutes within their direct source program, that is a, that's a powerful response that not only brings people in the door faster, but it's a great story to tell internally to your hiring manager, especially those that maybe want to go around the system or give you a hard time about it.

Jonathan Prothero: It's a, it's something that you can promote about the speed of your program. So, you know, cost savings, quality, speed. Those are the big three. 

Rana Fatima: And then I guess just to piggyback a little on that, Where are some of the benefits? Where do you see that progressing over the next two years? Do you see any other sort of benefits that early adopters will kind of realize over the next two years, 

Jonathan Prothero: You've given me my soapbox here.

Jonathan Prothero: I'm going to stand. So, so yes , absolutely direct sourcing of strategy. Let's keep that in mind. It's a strategy within the contingent labor space. The great thing about what direct sourcing does beyond. Speed quality and cost savings is it gives you a mechanism to move towards what we're calling total talent attraction.

Jonathan Prothero: We stayed away from total talent management because obviously nobody wants to hear that phrase anymore. But total talent attraction is the ability of a large brand to centralize their talent attraction. It blows my mind that programs today are still having their talent attraction team, their TA team, their full time.

Jonathan Prothero: We're completely independent from their contingent team. And then we're completely independent from anybody who's bringing in freelancers who are completely independent from anyone who's managing the intern program. It's maddening. I don't understand how we got to this place, but you know, to Bruce's point earlier about.

Jonathan Prothero: You know, th this sort of war on talent or the difficulties you have today with talent, why is it so difficult for talent to engage with the brand? There should be one doorway into every organization where I, as a talent, can come to you and say, here's what I'm interested in your brand. Here's what I do.

Jonathan Prothero: Are you engaging with me, whether that be a freelance full-time contract, it doesn't matter. But right now that does not exist anywhere. If you're a contractor and you want to go work for a specific brand, how do you do it? How do I go and figure that out? I've got to go find the staffing firm that represents that brand.

Jonathan Prothero: That is crazy. Why is it that we're talking about the war on talent, but then make it impossible for talent to engage with us. That's going to change. That is absolutely going to change and direct source because. Very much mirrors. What happens on your full-time talent acquisition side, but does it on the contingent world using your brand, your database to attract and manage talent?

Jonathan Prothero: Because it mirrors that it can very much work together. And to Bruce's point earlier about the future of the MSP, I'm not in the MSP space. I don't have a horse in that race, but if I did I would be looking at how I look at total talent attraction? How do I bring full-time contingent freelance?

Jonathan Prothero: Employee and non-employee and bring them in under one umbrella. I think to me, that's the future of where MSP goes, one management of all talent attraction. And today, finally, we have the technologies to allow that to happen. Awesome. Yeah,

Bruce Morton: it's a 100% agreement and we've gone one step further. We've gone beyond turtle animals, what we call our universal workforce model. But it's the same concept of. Think about the work, not the talent. What is the work you're trying to get done? What is the best way of doing that?

Bruce Morton: What do I do from methods? Do I haven't got that work done. Do I package it up, put a price label on it and bid it out? Do I AppSource it completely, am I getting internal people, stretch assignments, internal gig economy. All of that is, you know, it's going to become the place of the next five to 10 years.

Bruce Morton: And you know, Jonathan, you hit the nail on the head. I agree that direct sourcing is one of the first stepping stones to it naturally starting to join those now in Europe. When we use the term direct sourcing, they think you're talking about permanent recruitment, it's going to those people. So, you know, we're a bit behind in North America on that.

Bruce Morton: But yeah, the bottom line is you cannot get to that world unless you're doing direct sourcing. 

Jonathan Prothero: Absolutely correct. Yep. Yeah. As long as you're relying a hundred percent on third-party suppliers to fill your contingent roles, you can never get to total talent attraction because you're not attracting. Someone else's.

Jonathan Prothero: So it's a stepping stone to get there and you brought up one other thing, Bruce, that, you know, the, my soapbox again you know, internal gig that, you know, we've got three clients today that are piloting internal gig economy type type setups using our technology because they recognize today, not only are people looking for new challenges and other departments, not only is the talent anywhere within an organization, a real thing, but they want to be able to understand what skills they have and where, and right now, again, no mechanism to do that, certainly not overlaid with your non-employee talent.

Jonathan Prothero: There's nothing that gives you that vision. And thankfully we've started to feel that gap. 

Rana Fatima: Awesome at this time, it seems we've got a couple of questions from our audience as well. One of them is from Tamara. She was asking many MSPs don't accept small agencies. Are there any sorts of advice on what MSPs we could get them into or when we should target them?

Bruce Morton: Yeah, it's a great question. Unfortunately, it wasn't a simple answer. I think that. The size that we are the leaders and, you know, run some massive programs. We have literally hundreds, not thousands to staffing companies knocking on the door, trying to get in the program quite right.

Bruce Morton: That's their job. I mean the advice I always give is that, you know, the way we operate at least at leaders is we have a supply chain function that manages all of those suppliers, manage those relationships. And then we have our program execs. You can't just go to one and the other, we are a hundred percent in a relationship built organization.

Bruce Morton: So I wish I had a magic one for you, but it's not. It's just, you know, it's the hard yards of picking the phone up and building those relationships and being very. And I always say, if I say it might take you three years to get an, our 10, but once you are in, as long as you, before you set, you know, so I know that's probably not an answer that's so many, but there isn't a magic bullet.

Bruce Morton: But it is, you know, I think building those relationships, knowing the patients is essential. 

Rana Fatima: I guess. Are there any sort of leading indicators or kind of metrics that these small agencies? Aimed towards, you know, making relationships more stable. 

Bruce Morton: Yeah, I think they, and this is I guess just so much a personal view as leaders for you, but you know, if you're a small organization to mean something, it's all about being there.

Bruce Morton: You know, I used to laugh when I was a recruiter, you know, young, 20 year old or whatever somebody said. Yeah. We specialists on that. Yeah. We specialize in that as well. Oh, I'm not one. And you simply can't specialize in everything. It's a sort of oxymoron. So try and be known for something, whether that's a diversity play with a specific skill set.

Bruce Morton: Certain type of individual. Well, why don't we have, may be try and find something that helps us stick out from the crowd slightly, and then just work that and work that 

Jonathan Prothero: I don't have a horse in the race in this one either, but I would just add it in. Like if you're going in and I would imagine Bruce, this happens, but you know, the old saying we're fishing from a different pond that doesn't exist anymore.

Jonathan Prothero: LinkedIn pretty much has everybody you're ever going to need. And for $10,000 you can be a LinkedIn recruiter. So sorry, you don't really have that pool anymore. So how are you going to differentiate yourself in terms of innovation? You have to have an answer for that. What are you doing differently?

Jonathan Prothero: I think niche is one of those things, but generally innovating in a space that really needs innovation. Hey, if you've got that message, bring it forward. I think lots of people would love to hear it. 

Rana Fatima: Awesome. Just another question that kind of was talking referring to Jonathan soapbox, which was, so if you want to go for TTA, do you see that contingent talent pool technology converging with permanent recruiting?

Rana Fatima: And if so, how. 

Jonathan Prothero: Yes, it already is. And in fact, now that questions come up I apologize. I don't think I ever answered that question that you had on that ramp, but yes, there is a convergence taking place with our direct source programs that have been doing it for some time and have great success.

Jonathan Prothero: There's a natural progression between talent acquisition and procurement or HR, depending on who's running the contingent program to say, Hey, you've got that great database over there. That's really doing well. Can we use that? Is there any way that we can start working together because we're struggling on our side and, you know, we need more talent.

Jonathan Prothero: And when you look at our stats across the board, 70% of the people that sign up within our talent communities, if they're given the option to click, yes, I'm interested in full-time. Yes. I'm interested in freelance. Full-time is 7 out of 10. They'll say I want a contract. I want to work full-time. So the workers themselves, if it's the right brand and to Bruce's point, they want to get that brand on their resume.

Jonathan Prothero: They're already saying I'll take a contract, I'll take full time. In some cases, even saying I'll take a freelance or gig or whatever. So it's a natural progression to say, Hey, why do we have two separate databases? Why do we have three? If we're using an FMS? Oh, and then we've got snow. There's another database somewhere out there that, you know, none of it speaks to each other.

Jonathan Prothero: None of it is integrated. Using one talent platform for your organization is what we believe the future will be. And that will be a full-time contract gig. 

Rana Fatima: Awesome. I'm going to pose this question to Bruce. What have you seen, like in terms of the impact on the client's incumbent supply base with the direct sourcing program and how do you see that changing over time?

Rana Fatima: So

Bruce Morton: Just repeat that question. 

Rana Fatima: Yeah. Sorry. No worries. W it came out a little awkward. What's been the impact on a client's incumbent supply base? And how does that change over time? 

Bruce Morton: Yeah, I think we touched on this earlier, but really it was about the key to it for organizing. So make sure you're not making sure these roles are exclusive.

Bruce Morton: Don't pitch them against your supply base and make sure that you are through that optimization process, understanding that supply base not just fit for your needs now, but does that align with what the company is going to look like in 12 months, time and two. You know, organizations themselves now change so rapidly change their skill sets they need.

Bruce Morton: So if you're saying, okay, well, we haven't gotten room for 20 suppliers. Now we need to take it down to 15. Those 15 need to be the right 15 in trauma. It's time, not now. And sometimes that might be a bit more taking some more of those inevitable ones. Perhaps it's some newer ones, but it's just some smaller ones, obviously some of the diversity ed, whatever that may be.

Bruce Morton: So you're, future-proofing your suppliers. The worst thing organizations can do is, you know, select for today went along as I was going to be completely different. You know, what every organization on the planet seems to be going through a digital transformation in the last couple of years. What's the next thing?

Bruce Morton: What is everybody else going to be needing? Who are those organizations that we get in now, those stuffing suppliers that we can help them grow, because that will build that relationship. But it's another one making sure. Whoever's setting those strategies in procurement or HR, truly understands what that supply chain is going to look like in the future.

Bruce Morton: But to repeat something I said earlier the biggest impact is this isn't going away. So make sure that you're really embedded, build those relationships, build those niches, be known for something. And if there's an opportunity, get in the space, jump on board and do some curation. 

Jonathan Prothero: Yeah. Good.

Jonathan Prothero: And I think I'd just add to that, Bruce, you know, you brought this up around you know, what does a supplier do when they're in this situation, what, you know, are they looking at different opportunities within the organization to expand services? Are they looking at You know, just what they're doing in terms of performance metrics.

Jonathan Prothero: There's a number of ways that I think they need to be involved in what's going on. And ultimately that starts with the client. The client has to communicate their strategy clearly because at the end of the day, the PSL, your preferred suppliers, that's a huge service there. That's not going away. If you look at it from a full-time perspective, Even a talent acquisition team that hires in-house with, you know, their 70, 80, whatever number of recruiters.

Jonathan Prothero: There are situations where they have to go external. And when they go external, they pay head hunters or agencies through a percentage fee to fill those roles. That's still going to happen in the contingent side as well. As you said, Bruce, as technologies change your talent community might not have those technologies.

Jonathan Prothero: Certainly not out of the gates for those projects. You're going to need your PSL. So PSL, you know, I want to be clear that the staffing firms need to realize that it's not the elimination of what they do. That's not what's taking place here at all. It's a transformation that they need to have a strategy for, but they also need to be good at what they're doing, because if they're good, they're not going to go.

Bruce Morton: Yeah. I mean, people said when monsters, those they're old enough listed again, and monster came out, it was all that's stopping the industry. No, it isn't, it's just changing it. It gets better for it as well. 

Rana Fatima: Awesome. And I'm going to pose this question to both of you. What are some of the milestone metrics that your clients are using to measure the success of their respective program?

Bruce Morton: I'll go first, Jonathan, if you'd like. Yeah. I think the nannies have changed over the last few years, but currently the most important one is retention. So can we draw a direct line where this strategy relates to those individuals being successful and the way you are most successful with, you know, getting the assignment done on time.

Bruce Morton: Staying for the length of the assignment is another one of course, and being referred on bass being deployed. So that's a really key measure now organizations are. You know, when the talent short market, once you get the great ones you want to keep them. So that's becoming in a way and you know, obviously the programs out to on a wild four, you can get that in the earlier days.

Bruce Morton: Some of the SLA is, are more milestones, a bit more traditional around how many people go in the talent pool. Have we got hold of our job finally created? Are they in the right geographies? And then adoption's massive. Do our hiring managers. Using this service now to do some competitive bidding, as opposed to, I already know, I want you know, my buddy I'm bringing in, can you get him paid please?

Bruce Morton: So, you know, that's a part of that change management piece is to set organizations up for success to be able to benefit and take advantage of the strategy as opposed to doing things like. 

Jonathan Prothero: Yeah, we break it up similar to what you just said, Bruce sort of lead and leg indicators, lead being how many people are in my community, how many people are applying to each role?

Jonathan Prothero: If I'm posting them to specific places like indeed, et cetera, what kind of traffic am I getting? How many Googlers are getting through applications and dropping off? No sort of those types of lead indicators and then legs are obviously, you know, your butts and seats, if you will, how many people are getting placed?

Jonathan Prothero: How many are happy? How many are staying? How many love the journey on the way in the door, which is a big piece of direct sourcing, being able to control that journey and making it a positive one. And I'd add to that, just the whole DE&I strategy, which is awesome that it's got such popularity and legs over the last couple of years, but understanding your talent community 

Jonathan Prothero: So. Well, who's in my talent community? How does that compare to geographic census codes and my high and my low if I'm low, how do I increase that? How do I advertise my jobs in places that are going to be seen by a more diverse talent pool? All of those things are sort of tweaks along the way that are important for both your lead and lag indicators.

Rana Fatima: Awesome. Thank you. There is a question from the audience from Mark, who. Who is best positioned to manage the curation role? Is it internal MSP payroll or like who amongst those, I guess, yeah. 

Bruce Morton: As I explained this earlier, I'll let you go first, Jonathan. 

Jonathan Prothero: Yeah, I think Bruce will have a, certainly an MSP hat on for that one.

Jonathan Prothero: We see all different approaches we've seen. Obviously using an MSP and using MSP as an extension to do the direct sourcing, the actual curation we've seen engaging with a payroll provider. We've seen picking one of your PSL or just doing a complete RFP and going to market and picking someone new.

Jonathan Prothero: And then we've seen strategies where they've done it in house and we've seen success and failures and all of the above. So it really depends on who you choose which is a huge component because if you think of this as. Sort of three legs on a stool. One of those legs is who you choose to be your curation partner.

Jonathan Prothero: And if you pick the wrong one and listen, you can get a hundred applications to one role. If they're not being properly spoken to and brought through to the hiring manager, your outcome's going to be the same. No one's getting the job and the program is not going to work. So the curator plays a massive role in all of this.

Jonathan Prothero: So it is a key decision along the process. But you can do it at home. You can do it external. We've seen it all. Typically external, I would say 9 out of 10 programs that we deal with are picking an external provider to be the curator. Okay. 

Bruce Morton: Yeah. I think that the payroll is a good Mark.

Bruce Morton: Thank you for that question. So I didn't mention that. I think there is an obvious parallel. You look at main, most payroll websites. Now in North America, the homepage talks about direct sourcing. You know, they want to get into that space cause it's a massive growth for them. And obviously employee workload is incredibly important to make this whole transition go smoothly because they're not being paid by a staffing company, but the, you know, anybody, you know, as you're surveying the payroll.

Bruce Morton: Marketplace just doubled down on that. What is the curation capability? Because most payroll companies have come from payroll or MSPs will come from staffing if you get my drift. So their strength is employee record, and that's a key piece to this. People are going to get paid, but you don't want mistakes there.

Jonathan Prothero: And we have seen to add to that, Bruce, we have seen situations where. The MSP, the curator is not the payroll or they're not the employer of record. Right? So there is a there's a lot of partnerships where someone's doing the curation, like an MSP or a separate curator. And the payroll continues to be the employer of record.

Jonathan Prothero: We've seen lots of that as well.

Rana Fatima: I hope that answers Mark's question and actually works really well because it piggybacks into my next topic, which was for Jonathan. What is the overall value of curation and how should it be looked at within the overall direct sourcing program? 

Jonathan Prothero: Well, it's critical as I just mentioned you need somebody sort of the best comparison that I have is an RPO.

Jonathan Prothero: So if you look at it on the full-time side of the house, often organizations bring in an RPO to help them on the full-time hiring aspect. Essentially, you know, there's a lot of people in my team who smacked me upside the head for saying this, but essentially this is contingent RPO, right? You're bringing.

Jonathan Prothero: An external party to use your brand in the marketplace. And there's a bunch of other things, obviously in benefits of building your talent pool, but essentially they're using your brand. And you are outsourcing the recruitment process of bringing contingent labor to your front door. So there is a ton of value in that, not just in their ability to curate, but their ability to.

Jonathan Prothero: Echo your brand message. You know, I find it astonishing that, and I was talking about this earlier this morning with somebody, we have a client who just went through a process of. Picking a new marketing company for their organization. And I think it's like 250 million over a few years that they're paying this firm.

Jonathan Prothero: And I never really kind of understood the marketing world as much as I kind of have over the last year or so. And I was astonished like that's well it's a big number, probably not that big compared to some brands, but what astonished me. There's all this time, money and effort to very specifically position a brand in the marketplace in whatever marketplace they're in, but then when it comes to hiring for anyone, who's not an employee, they give it to a third party to go do it.

Jonathan Prothero: And they have no control over their brand message. It blows my mind. How can that be? How could you possibly give your very specific, very expensive brand message to someone else without any training? Often people in the PSL don't have any specific training around how to position a brand. Once you get to that point in the discussion.

Jonathan Prothero: So it gives that power back to an organization. They can control the message from start to finish when engaging with the workforce. 

Bruce Morton: Yeah, it's interesting that we use the word curation and curator and cause you know, that used to mean old dudes surrounded by dusty artifacts. I was a curator in a museum.

Bruce Morton: So I want you to think of about a nine, but anyway, that one stuck. So that's what we will call it. 

Jonathan Prothero: Blame Justin Lumby from our team. He came up with that term. So there you go.

Rana Fatima: Awesome. And I think we're just coming up on our last couple of questions. And so this one is just for the both of you. What is your crystal ball telling you where direct sourcing will be and how will it have evolved in the next few years? We've talked a little about kind of, you know, where we see it in this convergence, but specifically in terms of direct sourcing, I guess, and just maybe adoption or types.

Rana Fatima: In what ways do you see that companies will pick it up? 

Bruce Morton: Yeah I'll go first. I think in a few years we won't be talking about direct sourcing, so it'll just be the norm. It might be an attribute on a candidate. They might be an employer of record candidates except come direct source, as opposed to being owned by staffing organizations that are paying them.

Bruce Morton: That'd be the only difference. I think it will be part of a far more holistic way. We call the universal workforce model, far more holistic approach to getting work. I think the organizations, you know, the world we're in right now, everybody's struggling to hire talent, some or more companies are thinking, how can we get that problem off our plate and put it into somebody else's, you know, that's why we've seen such a massive growth in services.

Bruce Morton: You know, we're paying, getting paid on outcomes as opposed to input. It interests me that this concept of direct sourcing will be just built into everybody's strategy, staffing companies as well, by the way. And if anybody is providing a service, they're going to need to attract people based on their brand and live, and die by that brand and get paid based on the outcome.

Bruce Morton: So, not really mind blowing prediction. But I do think so. Yeah, at some point in the next few years, we will, there won't be sessions like this because they'll be built in as part of the overall solution. 

Jonathan Prothero: Yeah. Agreed table-stakes at that point. Right. I would add to that, that I, and we touched on this a little bit earlier where we are as an organization where talented is sort of putting our bets, our crystal ball, if you will, is in the single doorway, this concept of allowing talent to have a single entry point into an organization.

Jonathan Prothero: Telling that organization, who they are, what they're interested in and having the organization show them jobs, whether they're freelance, full-time contingent, whatever. We believe that is the next big step in where direct sourcing will go. And to Bruce's point, it won't be called direct sourcing at that point.

Jonathan Prothero: It probably be just what you do. But you know, a lot of large or all large organizations, all fortune 500. They have a VMS, they have an ATS, they have a CRM ERP, whatever it is, the challenge is none of those platforms speak to each other or very few of them do. So how do you then have an organization that creates a single doorway?

Jonathan Prothero: You know, that's the gap that we're attempting to fill. So we don't blame the big organizations. They've built their teams on top of the technologies they have, but technologies are changing. New technologies are coming in that will allow an organization to be much more nimble. Much easier to manage and engage with talent through all different departments.

Jonathan Prothero: The idea of procurement and talent acquisition, not speaking to each other will be a thing of the past. Thankfully for everyone involved. It will be a a synergy that the brand has an approach to attract talent. How do we get our name in the marketplace? How do we get the best talent?

Jonathan Prothero: And we don't care who they are, what they are aware they are. And I think Touched on this earlier and sort of the talent anymore piece, being able to do that on a global scale and higher on a global scale and say, oh, I found the right candidate. They happened to be in Germany and we don't operate in Germany, but it doesn't matter because we've got partners that are going to allow that to happen.

Jonathan Prothero: That's where we see the future. And then it's. How nimble can you be? How quickly can an organization engage with that talent? How quickly can they deploy that talent? Because that's where I think, now, the future of talent acquisition is going to go hand in hand with how well an organization does.

Jonathan Prothero: If you can't get the right people, you can't grow as an organization. So. You know, and I preach this all the time, but if there really is a war on talent, which everybody seems to think there is, and there definitely is, I think it's called the great reshuffle or something like that. I read an article about it the other day.

Jonathan Prothero: If there is this war, why is it so hard for talent to find roles within your organization? Why has it been built that way? It makes no sense. So, you know, two years, five years, seven years, whatever it is that will go away, organizations will have a single doorway for all talent to engage and advertise their skills to a client and be properly engaged anywhere in the world for these organizations.

Rana Fatima: Awesome. Yeah, I think definitely. I think in terms of. The future of TA and even to a degree as TM as well, is this convergence of there's one door, even for employees that are already existing within the organization, as well as candidates outside, I work on the top management and which is post hire.

Rana Fatima: And we've seen this huge trend in terms of, you know, internal talent marketplaces, gig marketplaces. Employers waking up and recognizing that the talent that they're seeking outside sometimes just exists inside. Right. So, yeah, so I definitely agree on, and I do I, you know, through personal practice, I guess, with our clients and everything, we've definitely noticed that there's a huge gap where we're they're seeing this technology, however, and they're seeing like the benefits of kind of bringing everything together.

Rana Fatima: However, the technology just. The right spots where they're not talking to each other, the programs, you know, and the structure that got set. So I guess on that end, my question would just be to, I guess the last question maybe a little selfish on my end would just be, what's the, kind of the best strategy that a client or a company can kind of take in that and where, you know, you want it, you want to put in this structure strategy, but the infrastructure that you have in place just doesn't cooperate.

Bruce Morton: Yeah, I'll jump in on that one. So just to come back to your last point, good question. Wherever your organization plans to ask themselves, if it's easier for an employee of mine to apply for a job outside my organization, then here's inside the organization. I need to get onto that. I need to sort that out now.

Bruce Morton: That's just ridiculous, but it happens in so many cases and I'll be losing this talent because it's easier to apply for a job than it is a job internally, or find a project in term. But it was Starbucks, but coming back to the second point. So online, the. The way that organizations think about this has to very subtly, but in a way, massively changed the mindset.

Bruce Morton: And that is about what we call task based versus goal based. So instead of starting the question and the conversation about the jobs back in the person's back to start talking about. The work should drive the strategy. What is it we're trying to achieve? How can we take those pieces of work, deconstruct them into tasks?

Bruce Morton: What is the best way to get each one of those tiles done? What can be automated? What do we have to keep inside? What are we okay with? Give it bringing a contractor in what elements of that? Do we not care whatsoever? Who does it? We don't need to know that we don't even know the name. Just need to wipe. Yeah, it can be a 13 year old girl in Venezuela.

Bruce Morton: I don't care. She's getting the work done and it's doing them well. So that's the world we're moving to, thinking it is a good work land instead of a talent and our industry and talent acquisition, you know, we've been responsible for this. We've taught a whole generation of people to hire based on job descriptions.

Bruce Morton: That don't mean anything. I always say to people, if you're feeling down when. Probably a job description at your door that will give you a laugh. I guarantee that's not what you're doing. And it's crazy. So let's move on from that and think about the work. So that's my closing argument. 

Jonathan Prothero: I agree with Bruce a hundred percent.

Jonathan Prothero: I think it is a monster of our own creation that You know, it is going to get fixed. And from a technology perspective, there are technologies. Now that plug into those, you know, we go into enterprise clients now all the time and they'll have an ATS and VMS, all sorts of different technologies, big monster technologies.

Jonathan Prothero: And our solution for a single doorway is to integrate with those. You don't want to have to get a new CRM to deploy a single doorway platform. You want to be able to use the existing platforms you have. So that's a huge part of a strategy is how do I take my existing platform? All of my staff work off of all of my hiring managers.

Jonathan Prothero: All my people know how to use these platforms already. How do I build an extension of what I already have to accomplish this goal of creating a single pool for all my talent. And Bruce mentioned this before, but you know, it's. We kind of pull through articles all the time in different data.

Jonathan Prothero: That's coming out on why people move, why they quit one of the biggest ones. And it was such a simple thing. They're bored. People are bored doing what they're doing nine to five, Monday to Friday. They don't feel like their skills are getting challenged. They're not getting involved in new and different projects.

Jonathan Prothero: Having your own internal talent community, your own ability like Bruce said to apply or put your hands up for even things that are side off your, Hey, I need somebody an hour a month. Who's really good at Excel, pivot tables, for example. I can broadcast that within my talent community and have someone on the other side of the world say, Hey, I can do that an hour a month because I want to get involved in that project.

Jonathan Prothero: That's curious to me and I can talk about how, Hey, I just did a project. New York city. And I lived in Japan. That's pretty neat and I met some people in my organization that I never would have met. That's the future of where work will go is as Bruce said, it's sort of a deconstruction of the sandwich and understand what do I need here?

Jonathan Prothero: What do I already have? What do I need to go external for? And what can I utilize my existing workforce to get done? And right now, unfortunately, technology hasn't allowed that. And again, that's the gap that we're trying to fill. 

Rana Fatima: Awesome. I'm smiling just because you just hinted at what is my personal soap box, which is the internal, like just the shift from like, you know, an employee base to kind of needs based workplace, but I'll spare everyone on that end.

Rana Fatima: But it's perfect. I mean, we're evidently like recognizing that I think everyone's coming to similar conclusions where, you know, there is something. In terms of these disparate systems that don't talk to each other, these disparate strategies that don't talk to each other, and there needs to be that sense of cohesion in order for us to tackle this, you know, quote unquote war on talent.

Rana Fatima: Right. So, I appreciate the thoughts that Jonathan and Bruce have shared. I'm going to wrap up our session here and kind of open it up to any Q/A, and next steps. If in terms of, you know, anyone wants to reach out, I know that Rachel from Jonathan's team has graciously provided his info. Chat and my emails over here as well, but I just want it again, take up the time to thank Jonathan and Bruce today for, you know, your sharing, your thoughts, and just taking just showing us the snippet from from your experiences, working with clients and just building your companies 

Bruce Morton: And thanks for everybody joining on a Friday afternoon.

Rana Fatima: Awesome. Okay. I'll hold out a little. We'll just hold on here, I guess, for if there are any other questions, but if not, thank you everyone for attending and have a great weekend. I believe we do have some more sessions and in the half an hour we have an AMA, so hopefully looking forward to seeing some familiar faces there as well.

Rana Fatima: Thank you again. 

Bruce Morton: Great. 

Jonathan Prothero: Thanks Rana. Thanks Bruce. Have a great weekend


No items found.


Rana Fatima

Jonathan Prothero

Bruce Morton




Watch Session now