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Capitalising on specialized third-party expertise is a future imperative

Today’s economy requires fluid and specialized workforces capable of quickly responding to crises (like COVID-19) and keeping up with constant changes in technology, markets, and competition. By outsourcing talent, companies will be able to build these workforces more effectively than ever before. 

Many company leaders live by the mantra “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” This is what I used to think – that due diligence meant assuming as many responsibilities as possible to ensure that deadlines were being met and work was being done to the highest standard. Then I met Britt Linter (who has decades of experience as a managing director at several companies), and she told me that she knows what she’s good at and uses trusted resources to outsource the rest – advice that has stayed with me ever since.

Leadership doesn’t mean imposing an unmanageable workload on yourself and others – it means finding the most efficient and productive way to get work done. When you outsource tasks to vetted professionals, you’re not compromising on quality – you’re improving quality by leveraging diverse forms of expertise while increasing your own bandwidth to focus on the things you’re uniquely good at. This will save time and money by maximizing the human capital available to your company. 

Additionally, opportunity cost equates to real dollars. Leaders and managers tend to spend a shocking amount of time trying to become experts on work functions not in their wheelhouse. And when they potentially do decide to outsource, they’re too reliant on Google or they limit their identification of good providers to their personal networks – asking friends who have had similar needs in the past. A better option is using trusted third parties to identify who is good at what.  These partners can help with the process of identifying and hiring experts who will bring specialized skill sets to the company and make your workforce as effective as it can be. 

Building a specialized workforce
The global economy is more complex and dynamic than ever before, which has led to persistent skills gaps across industries. Instead of attempting to fill these gaps by repurposing elements of your existing workforce (who may have to be retrained and whose transfers will create other roles to fill), companies should deploy third party resources on a project-by-project basis. In this way, they’ll get top-notch talent on an as-needed basis, which obviates the need for expensive training and personnel transfers that can create more problems than they solve. 

According to Gartner, almost one-third of companies say they’re replacing full-time employees with contingent employees to reduce costs. A recent Deloitte survey found that cost reduction is the top objective for companies that outsource. However, the second-most cited reason is flexibility – a capacity that has proven to be especially important as the global economy recovers from a once-in-a-century pandemic. Flexibility is also essential to keep pace with the rapid economic shifts we’re witnessing, such as the emergence of new technologies like AI. 

At a time when we’re reconsidering some of our most basic assumptions about work (such as the centrality of a nine-to-five physical presence in the office), companies should explore the value of building specialized workforces with third party resources. 

How to make the most of outsourced talent
Creating a specialized workforce doesn’t just mean bringing third party talent on board and hoping for the best. Companies have to first conduct an assessment of their needs and the gaps in their workforce to determine which roles to establish and how responsibilities should be delegated. While third party hires have long been associated with the “gig economy,” this is outdated thinking – companies often require highly trained professionals or interim leaders instead of low-skill contractors. 

This has actually been the case for several years – a 2019 survey found that C-suite and leadership candidates were among the most in-demand third party hires. When companies plan to outsource this type of high-level talent, they should have a clear idea of what their needs and priorities are and where the unique skills interim leaders and specialists bring to the table will be the most useful. 

If companies are trying to decide whether a third party hire makes sense, they should determine how efficiently their current workforce operates: How much time is being spent on rudimentary tasks? Are employees in positions that play to their strengths? Which teams are over-performing and which ones are underperforming? The answers to these questions can tell you whether outsourcing talent makes sense, as well as which types of expertise you need and where it will do the most good. 

Why third party expertise is only becoming more vital and how to find it
In the first five months of 2021, private equity (PE) deal volume shot up by almost 22 percent. The massive surge in PE activity is one of the reasons third party talent is becoming more and more indispensable – as funds acquire new companies, it’s crucial to get the right people in the right places as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, mergers are also on the rise, which raises a similar issue: the biggest challenge merger integration managers say they face is finding people with the right talent and experience.

Company leaders shouldn’t have to spend hours scouring job boards and Google searches to find the talent they need. Beyond the fact that this isn’t a good use of their time, it’s also a haphazard and unreliable way to go about identifying the right third party expertise. This is why companies should look into trusted resources that have proprietary lists of pre-vetted candidates who meet their specific needs – be they individuals or bigger consultancies for projects that need more resources. These resources free up company leaders to focus on other tasks while providing a wide array of specialists who have the skills and experience to fill gaps in the workforce and create value. 

Today’s economy requires fluid and specialized workforces capable of quickly responding to crises (like COVID-19) and keeping up with constant changes in technology, markets, and competition. By outsourcing talent, companies will be able to build these workforces more effectively than ever before. 

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