Flexible resourcing with a unique identitySubmitted by Hans van Nes on Tue, 03/02/2009 - 20:59
Flexible resourcing is a trend going on in most industries for some time. The IT-industry always has been at the forefront of this. Concepts like co-sourcing and outsourcing are quite common; freelancers and offshore solutions more the standard than the exception. Some of these developments have an emerging quality impacting issue: loss of identity. In an interesting discussion with a senior manager of a big international consultancy firm, we contemplated on the need for new approaches to overcome this.
Consultancy firms mostly started out locally, with their on specialties, culture and market segment. With consolidation and internationalization we ended up with at one hand large to very large companies employing (ten-)thousands of people, and at the other end of the spectrum an army of freelancers, contractors and other self-employed resources. The big firms see a large turnover of staff, struggle (at least in western Europe) to attract graduates and more and more use the free agents as capacity buffer. And of course the small and mid-size specialized niche players draw from the same sources.
How to differ yourself and attract the work and thus the people that keep a company growing? And at the other end: how to keep your payroll flexible enough to deal with market uncertainties?
From the perspective of the free agents: how to keep at work also in the economic downturn? And at the same time how to keep up to yourselves developing the knowledge and skill demanded whilst keeping your freedom?
One of the solutions I see is a new kind of resource brokerage, supplying to consultancy firms an (exclusive) quality flexible work force and a home for quality aware free agents. The brokerage firm will remain from selling to end user organizations, thus leaving the consultancy firms with marketing, sales and account management. The added value of the brokerage firm will be the offering of a services organization, handling everything from invoicing, pay rolling and training. For the independent agent this means he or she can delegate the cumbersome things around arranging your own mini-company at a sensible price and can focus on quality delivery of their skills. It is feasible that these brokerage companies will be aiming for maximized profit or go for a cooperative model on behalf of the free agents.
I have not seen a brokerage company around in the way I described above but I do see various free agent groupings moving toward this model. The senior consulting firm manager agreed with the concept as one of the roads to follow but at the same time stated that currently his peer managers where to fixed on the current business models and accompanying reward models.
So quite some experimenting ahead of us. Do you see this as the next trend? Any good examples around that you encountered? Let me know what you think.
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