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Companies often consolidate vendors to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. But did you know it’s smart to consolidate talent sources too? It may seem counter-intuitive at first, especially when managers reported that in 2017, it was three times harder to hire than the previous year

So why consolidate?

Because reducing sourcing channels, from agencies to individual contractors, may help you fill project needs faster—and save you time and money in the process. Here’s how.

Benefits of consolidating talent sources

Each time a business partner submits a talent need, your team must post the open contract to multiple sources. What’s more, each source has its own posting process and it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before a project starts.

Juggling several sources is time-consuming at best. Spreading usage across different invoicing and tracking systems can also make it difficult to gain a holistic view of total agency and contingent labor spending.

Consolidating sources to those that bring the most value may help your team:

  • Improve talent quality: Enjoy more accurate talent matches by sourcing through vendors that provide the most qualified talent
  • Raise performance levels: Build reliable talent pools of people familiar with your company’s processes and quality expectations
  • Reduce admin time: Streamline processes for faster talent sourcing, engagement, and payments
  • Shorten lead times: Establish relationships with core vendors to help your team source and start talent sooner
  • Lower risks: Manage compliance, track usage, and forecast with more ease and accuracy
  • Stretch budgets: Gain greater visibility into rates, services and other costs can help drive down costs

Deciding who makes the cut

When pruning down your vendor list, it may be tempting to base decisions on price. Although price is a valid factor, it’s helpful to also look at the larger picture. That is, which vendors provide the highest value?

determining vendor total value

In addition to price, it’s beneficial to evaluate each vendor based on:

  • Performance: How responsive are their account managers? What KPIs can you measure them against based on your business goals?
  • Quality: How accurate are your talent matches? And what’s the quality of their work?
  • Lead time: How long does it take to fill a project need? How well does it meet your business needs?
  • Risk: How easy is it to access detailed reports of total spend? Does the vendor provide compliance support?

Take technology into account

Many talent sources use a predominantly manual system to handle everything from sourcing to paying talent. If you have multiple projects, carrying out all the related administrative tasks can require so much time, it pulls employees from other important tasks. When consolidating vendors, you may also want to consider:

  • What process streamlining or automation they provide
  • How well their solution integrates with your current systems and workflow
  • How easy it is to use

Considerations for contract talent

If you utilize independent contractors (ICs), look at vendors that provide Freelancer Management Systems (FMS). These online platforms streamline tasks from sourcing to paying talent, which enables large companies to engage talent efficiently, at scale. An FMS also provides detailed data that you can use later for future planning, analyzing spend, and so on.

Some solutions, like Upwork Enterprise, combine technology and services to meet most of your contingent workforce needs. It may surprise you to see the extent of services offered, so brainstorm with your team to create a wish list of how your vendors could make talent sourcing more efficient, reliable, and secure. For example, Upwork Enterprise enables you to:

  • Bring your own talent: Add your existing contractors and agencies to the platform. This enables you to pay them faster, enjoy Upwork’s Payment Protection, and expand your approved supplier list.
  • Access the largest global freelancing website: Upwork freelancers posted over 5,000 skills, at various levels of expertise, across 160+ countries.
  • Find approved vendors in one location: Projects are documented across verticals, so managers can find talent their colleagues engaged.
  • Facilitate competitive bidding: Conveniently view bids from multiple agencies from a single dashboard
  • Identify and report on rogue spend: All spend is tracked and reported across the organization.
  • Reduce compliance risk: Upwork Enterprise Compliance provides both IC classification and staffing-vendor compliance services. As part of providing compliance services, Upwork Enterprise also offers indemnification to protect you against certain possible risks such as misclassification.

Sometimes, less is more

Filling talent needs efficiently doesn’t happen by having more sources. It happens by having the right sources. When you focus on vendors that provide the highest value, your team can meet your business partners’ diverse and flexible talent needs more efficiently.