Lisa Hufford, Founder & CEO, Simplicity Consulting
Companies are increasingly looking at their goals and their successes in terms of projects. These might be long-term projects; they might be strategic projects; or they might be more tactical projects. But by 2020, it’s estimated that 40 percent of the workforce will not want to be full time employees. So how can a company plan for long-term success with such a fluid talent pool? On-demand talent.
Finding on-demand talent is about identifying the right resources for each specific project, which requires a new strategy that conventional approaches lack. Those approaches are seriously out of step with the evolving and fluctuating realities of the on-demand workforce and project-based workplace. Companies need access to a worldwide, on-demand talent pool, or they’ll face significant costs to their bottom line. What’s more is the potential cost to innovation. Leaders must too often deal with how to do their job with less — less staff, less budget, less time. The message? That talent is more empowered than ever to design their career paths, they have more choices when it comes to how, when and where they work, and for whom they work. And that won’t change. If these realities are not included in your strategy, you’re missing out on tapping into a growing pool of incredibly skilled and experienced talent. This is a huge opportunity. I’ll show you what an on-demand talent strategy looks like, and how you can apply it to your company’s projects.
The SPEED strategy (Success, Plan, Execute, Evaluate and Decide) enables leaders and their managers to build flexible, project-based teams that get results. SPEED provides an agile and flexible framework for creating on-demand teams and it also provides the ability to adapt to unanticipated business changes. SPEED encompasses the best practices that I have observed, learned, and implemented in hundreds of projects in every type of cost, management and operational situation. SPEED provides an agile and flexible framework for creating on-demand teams and it also provides the ability to adapt to unanticipated business changes. SPEED encompasses the best practices that I have observed, learned, and implemented in hundreds of projects in every type of cost, management and operational situation:
S – Success
What does success look like for you? First, begin with your project goals. If you don’t know where you need to go, it’s impossible to tell if you’re on track to get there.
P – Plan
Once you are clear that your project’s success will mean bringing a specialist, it’s time to form a plan designed to meet your goals and priorities in order to fill the talent gap you have. The planning process starts with the drafting of a comprehensive project description. Planning then segues to the project budget, rates for the expert, ways to access the expert talent, and the screening/interviewing guidelines.
E – Execute
The key to successful execution of the project is setting and then meeting expectations. Execution comprises documenting the project deliverables in a Statement of Work (SOW), onboarding and then integrating the consultant into your team. The SOW defines who and what will be delivered and by when. This phase is about the nitty gritty: for example, define the invoice schedule; discuss payment terms; etc.
E – Evaluate
Metrics are vital to understanding if your investment is generating the intended ROI and they are also an early warning system for you to get ahead of possible issues.
D – Decide
When you have achieved your project goals, you will feel empowered to tackle the next project in a faster and more efficient way. But first it’s time to decide if the project remains a priority. If so, then keep going. Maybe you need to expand it, or shut it down.
Decisions are made with data from the evaluation step. Over time you begin to notice trends that will aid you in making informed decisions. Sometimes a program should end and other times it should expand. Having clear metrics (see Evaluate) helps you feel confident in your decisions and provides support for your management if needed.
The SPEED strategy helps you identify what your goals are, helps you find your on-demand experts, starts the project with clear expectations, measures the results and takes action to keep going or to pivot in another direction. First and foremost, SPEED enables you to have a much broader viewpoint than simply plugging names on an organization chart. It’s about asking what your business needs and goals are and what talent and skills you’ll need to achieve them.
About the Author
Lisa Hufford is the founder and CEO of Simplicity Consulting, a talentsolutions company. Simplicity has worked with companies such as Amazon, Hewlett Packard, Farmers Insurance, T-Mobile, Ericsson, Nordstrom and Microsoft to create flexible teams with the on-demand experts they need to achieve their business objectives. She is the author of Navigating the TalentShift: How to Build On-Demand Teams that Drive Innovation, Control Costs, and Get Results. www.lisahufford.com