Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Right Talents, Right Role: Here’s what it means to engage the RIGHT independent professionals in your firm! [Tuesday: Return Driven Strategy]

October 10, 2023

Miles Everson’s The Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

Hello, everyone! 

Welcome to today’s edition of “Return Driven Strategy!” 

As someone in the business and consulting industry for 30+ years now, one of the things I find effective in managing my team is Return Driven Strategy (RDS). That’s why every Tuesday, we publish articles about this framework to help you effectively navigate an ever-changing work landscape as a business leader, manager, or worker. 

Today, let’s talk about some best practices to attract the right talents to an enterprise. 

Keep reading to learn how you can set independent talents up for success in your firm this year and in the years to come. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy

The business landscape is currently experiencing an exciting phase as new ways of working have taken root. The COVID-19 pandemic has opened doors to a variety of work styles for employees and contractors. 

While some enterprises have moved back to the pre-pandemic work setup, others are adapting to the changes. They are initiating or expanding remote work policies, accommodating digital nomads, and laying the groundwork for a combined workforce of full-time employees and independent professionals.

Photo from Deloitte

In just the U.S., the independent talent population virtually exploded after the pandemic lockdown was lifted. The total number of full-time, part-time, and occasional independents rose to 51.1 million in 2021, then grew further to 64.6 million in 2022. 

This robust independent population supports an optimized workforce, allowing hiring managers to fill short-term and long-term roles within their firms.

However, it’s just one thing to have such a large talent pool available to an organization. Setting up for success is another thing, as it means engaging the RIGHT independent professionals and motivating them to re-engage with the business over time.

So, if you’re a business leader, owner, or manager, ask yourself: 

“How well does my organization create an environment that supports the success of high-value independents and motivates them to continue to work with me and my team?”

Setting up your independent talent for success begins with the RIGHT processes, technologies, and strategies across the enterprise. Here are some best practices to help you create a comprehensive plan and set up your company and entire workforce for success:

  1. Engage the RIGHT talent

Setting up for success starts with having the right talent in the right role. Getting this practice right makes a BIG difference on your team’s productivity and project outcomes. You can do this by:

  • Putting a talent network in place
  • Using marketing to attract talents from outside your existing network
  • Implementing policies that address various independent work styles
  • Having a range of compliant engagement options
  • Reviewing insurance requirements
  1. Clearly define roles, deliverables, and scope

The completeness and clarity of your independent contractor engagement has a significant impact on the quality of work and results you achieve. That’s why it’s worth the time to go beyond templates and standard documents in setting up your firm for success. 

Keep these tips in mind to make this practice effective:

  • Tailor a standard contract for each professional. 
  • Use a scope-of-work template and modify it on a project-by-project basis. 
  • Make scope changes as easy as possible to put into place. 
  1. Ensure fast and efficient onboarding and re-engagement processes

A large part of the onboarding process can be automated, and most, if not all, can be accomplished online. Implement software and tools with the right capabilities for steps like background checks and enterprise-mandated training courses. The benefits to you and your talent are the ease with which onboarding gets accomplished and the ability to track completed actions easily and accurately.

Meanwhile, talent re-engagement should be easy to accomplish, both for you and your independent contractor. It may be as simple as creating a new scope of work for both of you to sign.

  1. Establish efficient payment processes

This is another area where automation is valuable. Online invoice submission is useful as it minimizes the overhead time needed to tender bills. However, you have to ensure accurate terms are entered into the online system you’re using so your independent talents are paid promptly according to what’s stated in their contracts.

  1. Define communication channels

There are many modes of communication in a business. On an enterprise level, channels that suit different communication systems can make work more productive because of time savings. 

For example: An email platform is a ubiquitous form of messaging, while Slack and Microsoft Teams allow fast, real-time chat in threaded form between team members and other people in the organization. Online collaboration spaces like Google Docs and SharePoint let people add comments and suggested edits directly in a document.

  1. Build rapport with independent professionals

Rapport is critical in any relationship. Without this, communication and collaboration become harder. A work environment with good rapport supports a motivated and productive work experience.

In a first-time engagement, take time to review the materials available about your independent talents such as schools attended, hobbies, volunteer work, and other things that could form the basis for collegial conversation. Alternatively, spend time talking with them and asking questions about anything that piques your and their interests.

Other rapport-building activities include: 

  • Conducting periodic updates
  • Having regular one-on-one meetings
  • Giving feedback and coaching comments

Always remember to establish rapport throughout your work with independents. Check back with them, expand on conversational topics, and be interested in what they say.

Setting Up for Success through the Lens of Return Driven Strategy (RDS) 

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo say building a return-driven organization involves a great deal of business analysis and planning. They explain that in detail through the RDS framework. 

Based on RDS’ Tenet 9—engage employees and others—high-performance firms treat their employees like customers, understanding what services they would like to receive and designing systems that fulfill those needs. 

… and it’s not just employees that this tenet covers. “Others” refers to those who may not be employees of the firm but are critical to its success such as independent contractors, vendors, distributors, or other business partners throughout various processes. 

That’s why firms should also have resources, tools, and services in place for independent talents. Through this, there will be a strong support system that benefits both businesses and independents in their organizational and individual goals.


Overall, setting your firm up for success is an all-around win. With the inclusion of contingent labor in an optimized workforce and collaborative, fruitful working relationships, the potential for growth for your enterprise, independent talents, and yourself is high.

We hope you enjoyed reading today’s topic! 

If you’re looking to gain a better understanding of Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy, we highly recommend checking out “Driven” by Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo. 

Click here to get your copy and learn how this framework can help you in your business strategies and ultimately, in ethically maximizing wealth for your firm.

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created the Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to the Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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