How to keep talent close during times of business and economic uncertainty

With today’s economic uncertainty, a potential recession looming, and predictions that more than half of the U.S. labor force will be freelance by 2027, companies are facing an uncertain future when it comes to their talent strategy. Compounding the problem is that existing talent channels aren’t working and aren’t cost-effective. Once you have talent onboard, the challenges don’t disappear. According to a recent Forbes report on the CHRO of the future, eight in ten CHROs report facing a significant talent retention issue, and half said retention was particularly an issue among in-demand roles. Bottom line—organizations now require a more holistic approach to hiring. They need technology in place to engage, nurture, and keep top talent around. 

Direct sourcing (when a company sources its talent directly rather than through traditional methods like staffing agencies, job boards, or other methods) is quickly emerging as a strategic workforce solution for all hiring needs (be it full-time, contractor, freelancer, SOW-based worker, etc.), resulting in access to the right talent, faster time-to-fill, lower cost, and improved candidate experience.

Many leaders have implemented technologies to help close this gap and accelerate a scalable approach to talent management that relies less on staffing/consulting agencies and more on talent equity.

This is especially true as a possible recession looms and redundancies hit all industries. Look no further than the news at major tech companies like Amazon, Meta, Twitter, and Zillow, who are laying off thousands across their global workforce. For companies looking for similar skill sets, this means highly specialized, in-demand skills now hitting the market. In a recent CIO Dive article, enterprise IT leaders with an eye on their talent needs, these layoffs mean hiring opportunities, and “enterprise leaders will need to adapt to the needs of incoming talent and put in place strategies for attraction.”  

“After I was laid off during COVID, I was inundated with employment offers.  When one sector suffers, others thrive, even in an economic downturn, said Dr. Hallie Bregman, PhD, Global Talent Strategy and Analytics Leaders, and Founder of Bregman Group. ”

But what about the companies doing the laying off? It may feel uncomfortable to deliver a parting message at the same time you’re asking them to stay engaged with your brand by joining your talent communities (more on that in a minute), but think of the cost, effort, and knowledge invested on both sides to join your company in the first place? 

“Alumni networks can be a rich source of talent when hiring picks back up,” Bregman added. “ I know many folks who returned to their prior organization following a layoff; it’s all because that company treated them well during the layoff. Humanity goes a long way.”

With any economic downturn, eventually, companies will begin to hire again. Forward-thinking leaders want to keep that talent close. Joining a talent community that keeps them engaged in your brand and knowledgeable about your organization should be a benefit in every separation package provided. This community forum would provide constant, personalized communication via immediate job opening alerts, an opportunity to refer colleagues and network, continuing education opportunities, and important communications about what’s happening within the organization.

In that same Forbes report, researchers found that by 2025, a significant change in the composition of the workforce will happen (and it already is), with less reliance on full-time employees and more on part time workers, contingent and gig workers, and a “greater use of digital automation assistance (bots).” Look no further than Twitter’s global workforce, which, pre-layoff, was composed of nearly three quarters contract workers (72%). 

So, how can both organizations laying off and those looking to benefit from new talent hitting the market react, attract, engage, nurture, and, eventually, redeploy that talent?

A study by Honeywell International suggests over 60% of US companies are willing to invest in automation to cope with the challenges of the pandemic and subsequent market uncertainty. Today, companies need an AI-driven platform that engages talent through all aspects of their journey — from job discovery through hiring, onboarding, post-placement, redeployment, and unfortunately, sometimes, separation; one that offers participation in a meaningful talent community to keep them engaged with your brand. 

WorkLLama helps companies do just that by creating powerful candidate experiences. Direct sourcing through our dynamic talent pool functionality allows companies to maintain active communication with former employees, silver medalists, alumni, contingent workers, and passive candidates through automated talent marketing and talent relationship management. Creating talent communities also allows you to automate an unlimited number of talent segments, customize and personalize touchpoints, and gain unprecedented visibility into your talent community.

This translates to greater efficiencies, lower cost to retain talent, and a scalable, repeatable process that can be used across industries and geographies. It also means that during times of economic uncertainty or redundancies, you can continuously engage that talent, so when opportunities open up (be it full-time, contingent, or freelance), you are ready to re-engage them immediately. 

If you want to learn how WorkLLama is helping companies achieve their workforce planning and direct sourcing goals, please visit

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