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Leveraging Flexible Talent for Results

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 20, 2017

Leveraging Flexible Talent for Results
Karen L. Kramer, SPHR, Executive Director of HR, Association Management Center 

We have all been there: whether it’s trying to figure out how to tap into additional resources to get the work done, or support is needed in the form of interim staff during recruiting efforts, or a leave of absence is suddenly required, or a new billable project has been approved, or a project that was on hold needs to be accomplished, or a new idea needs to be developed and piloted. 

There are solutions. 

Why not consider creating a business model that leverages and executes your strategy using flexible, educated, skilled, cost-effective talent? There are a couple of approaches for how to uncover the capacity that already is under your roof or to create a team comprised of individuals with specific talents who may not be accessible through traditional employment and staffing sources. Read more.

Fully utilizing existing staff enables individuals to be exposed to other clients in greater depth and provides potential opportunities for staff development. At times, one or multiple people even may have a small amount of bandwidth that can be leveraged. In this sense, continually assessing the need and identifying bandwidth creates a win-win solution. 

Why not go a step further and build a small team that is flexible and nimble and is already acclimated to your company, systems, and clients? The training time would be minimal and the results would be fantastic. The team would be available to flex and meet needs as they arise.

A critical component to making this work is creating a matrix that clearly outlines the need. When creating the matrix, the devil is in the details, such as the career level of the person needed, their skill set, the deadline, the approximate amount of time the project will take, specifics of the responsibility, and any other important pieces of information. Once that is in place, identify the individual(s) needed and check with the appropriate person to make sure it is okay for the individual(s) to be considered. At Association Management Center (AMC) we do this on a regular basis and we have had great success with aligning skills and fulfilling the need. We’ve received positive feedback from our staff with this approach because they enjoy working with new team members and learning additional skills. 

Prior to determining the best structure at your company for your flex team, do your homework to identify the need as best you can. Consider potential future needs; when and how have you used resources from staffing agencies; and how often have you had new or unaccounted-for projects pop up. The key to recruiting a flexible, nimble staff is everyone having an understanding of and commitment to managing the ebb and flow of work and the flexibility needed of the individual in the role. 

At AMC, we sought the ultimate in flexibility and tapped educated, talented people with a strong work ethic who also were seeking highly flexible situations. This created a win-win environment for both our clients and the AMC team. 

You may be wondering how exactly that worked; what if AMC had the need and the people couldn’t work? Because we have a small group of these pinch-hitters, AMC often is able to fulfill the company’s need all while still meeting the needs of individuals. We are always able to coordinate the client’s need with the schedules of the team. When someone needs an extended period of time off we can make that work, too, and when they can resume working they do. The make-up of our group is returning-to-work parents, people who were interested in working but didn’t want to make too big of a time commitment and who needed an understanding, flexible environment. 

The recruiting effort for this type of role often can be accomplished through word of mouth or reaching out to the local elementary and junior high schools to tap into the pool of moms or dads who are ready to get back into the workforce. 

With a little up front effort, you can manage through all of the new and varied demands that come up out of nowhere and simultaneously create new opportunities for your staff.

 

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