I was having a recent discussion with a client about flexible working for their business – and the marketing needs they have on a part-time, not full-time basis. I see a growing interest in this area with the people I work with – where there is a recognition that different people have different skills and so it is better to outsource or part-time employ people with different levels and specialties.
So I looked up an article I read a year ago in Harvard Business Review, about the ‘Rise of the Supertemp’ in terms of senior executives like myself, who work for a few different companies. “Supertemps are top managers and professionals—from lawyers to CFOs to consultants—who’ve been trained at top schools and companies and choose to pursue project-based careers independent of any major firm. They’re increasingly trusted by corporations to do mission-critical work that in the past would have been done by permanent employees or established outside firms.”
The article comments about companies following the talent, which often chooses the way it works. This has a massive benefit on their own business, in a world where you don’t need certain skills on a full-time basis. And technology makes this model easier, as location becomes less of an issue. “Companies follow the talent. So as growing numbers of professionals decide that they prefer to work on a temporary basis, organizations are finding ways to work with them. The prevalence of lean management teams, the postrecession drive to cap costs, and the accelerating pace of change combine to make temporary solutions compelling. These new arrangements have also spread because the surge in outsourcing and consulting in recent years has accustomed managers to thinking about work, including high-end work, in modular ways.”
An article in Forbes in August 2013 points to the same trend. There is an increase in outsourcing certain skills, either because companies are keeping in-house costs down or because they know the specific skills they seek might be better found outside of the company. It is also a trend that Ashridge Leadership courses talk about – this change in the way we work. And companies big and small do need to get ready for it and indeed benefit from it. It’s a huge benefit particularly for smaller businesses, that need certain skills, such as marketing or HR – or any other business function. And they may well seek that on a senior level – but don’t need, nor have the funds to have that as a full-time, in-house resource.
An area close to my heart, as it’s the way I work, with my clients – but also something I see increasing demand for around me. And some of the benefits received in my case for my clients are: My experience in marketing, the fact that I have experience with lots of different customers, that they aren’t paying me to stand and chat at the coffee machine – but rather the hours spread over a week focused on their work and that they work with me as and when they need me. It’s quite a shift of mindset from how things have been done. If you are reading this and thinking from a marketing perspective, you’d like to know more, feel free to get in touch!