Monday, 23 November 2009

Bring on The Flexiforce

Today is the start of the CBI Annual Conference and there is a lot of emphasis on change - the idea that the recession has taught us some big lessons about how to adapt to a more volatile future.

Discussion points include how businesses (and remember the CBI represents 240,000 of them in the UK) should partner with their competitors in order to prevent a 'Domino Effect' of the recession bringing down multiple companies rather than just a few weak ones. This will be a bitter pill for many business leaders to swallow and could we have prevented crashes in the UK if Woolworth and Poundstretchers had teamed up? I don't know but it's an innovative and lateral concept.

One area I have blogged on before and is close to my heart is the concept of the 'Flexiforce'. The idea that companies should have a core set of permanent employees and then bring in resources to do specific tasks as and when they need them. The concept that I have referred to as 'Putting the power where it is needed, when it is needed'.

Often we think of this as temporary staff filling administrative holes but I am thinking more about getting in specialist staff to attack new or short term opportunities when the company lacks experience in the specific area. For example, it may be staff to help drive web presence or advertising, telesales people to try and get leads or sales in a specific market, experienced field sales people for a target market or even project managers for tasks. The point is that such resource may be expensive to hold as permanent employees but can be viable if they can be switched on and off when needed - without onerous long term contracts and employee issues. Pay as you go resource, if you like.

To some extent this is what I do but the reality is that there is now a big pool of experienced resource out in the market who are flexible, capable and ready to fill the gaps where needed.

As we emerge from recession, there will be great opportunities to pick off and there has never been a better time to consider the advantages of the new style of 'Flexiforce'.

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