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A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.Francis Bacon

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Agile Talent

Agile Talent

How can you get the most from your external service providers? By establishing a real relationship strategy towards them.

Author(s): Jon Younger, Norm Smallwood

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Date of publication: 2016

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The authors start from the observation that companies increasingly rely on external talent. Demand is high, particularly to address increasingly specialized needs or to manage human resources in a more flexible manner. But supply is also high, as freelance platforms and remote communication tools enable more experts to offer their services. Still, challenges abound. For example, half of IT departments run into problems with their service providers. And many consultants feel insufficiently recognized—or even mistreated—by their clients. How can you avoid this mutual dissatisfaction?

The authors recommend adopting a true external resource strategy. They analyze the various phases of consulting assignments, from the identification and definition of an opportunity to the maintenance of the relationship over time. For each phase, they show which questions to consider, on what aspects to be vigilant, as well as the best practices they have identified.

They also address the best attitude to adopt in the client-consultant relationship and show how companies can benefit from drawing closer to an employer-brand logic. Indeed, client companies rarely ask themselves why consultants would want to provide their expertise to them, outside purely financial reasons. Yet, answering this question ensures much greater consultant engagement and, therefore, higher quality services.

Written by two consultants, this book has the merit of being concrete and suggesting sometimes counter-intuitive ideas supported by numerous examples.