Anita’s Father needed constant care. The losing battle against old age and the nonsense that passes off in the name of ‘home care’, was taking a huge toll on Anita’s career. Circumstances forced her to take on the caregiver’s responsibility during these sunset years. Anita’s lucrative job as a Finance Manager with a multinational company hiccupped painfully, before finally coming to a halt. Sorry, they had a business to run!
Anita needed work that allowed her the flexibility of time, specificity of task and a decent pay. A few hours a week in situ and the rest from home. She tried. Only to be told that, (a) we don’t hire ‘temps’, (b) we don’t have a flexi-time policy, (c) we don’t even know who you are!
Most did not even respond to her mails and calls.
Finally, Anita came across a resourcing company that placed people for short stints, in roles that respected their expertise. Filling in for someone going on maternity leave, or someone taking a break for a professional exam. Ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Anita got a three-month assignment.
It worked perfectly. Anita did work she knew and was good at. Two half days a week at the office and the rest from her father’s bedside. Her employer was pleased with the arrangement. Their work continued and they owed Anita nothing more than the agreed remuneration.
Globally, interim resourcing is already an established sub-industry within the ambit of talent acquisition. Lack of awareness on the demand side and uncertainty around the quality of supply are some of the reasons why this is sluggish in India. Growth rates still hover around the early double digits.
Pity! Interim resourcing is a terrific opportunity just begging to be exploited!
1. Supply of talent: Contrary to popular belief, there is a rather large talent base sitting on the sidelines…waiting. People with skills, experience and competencies but who are unable to fit into the conventional role structure. Restricted by excuses of some unvisited policy, perceived ‘over-qualification’, time constraints, even age.
2. Budgets: With compensation accounting for upto 60% of Cost, it is fair that leaders look at it hawk-eyed. Whatever you do, don’t touch the S&B (Salaries and Benefits) line! Co-incidentally, the cost of an interim resource need not sit in the S&B line!
3. Less Social stigma: One thing the last recession taught us was: it’s okay to not have a job for a while. So many people got ‘laid off’ and were ‘between jobs’ that a new socio-economic segment nearly took birth! Fact is, as soon as they cross the Kübler-Ross stages of emotion, people bounce back.
4. Disruptive career syndrome: An archetypal Gen-Y trait, where people drop jobs, change roles, take study breaks, sabbaticals, holidays…at will. Only to loopback into the workforce in a year or two. A new normal!
Boom in second-lifers: Lately, there’s been a boom in ‘second-lifers’. People with solid backgrounds, who’ve escaped the rat race (or who’ve been ‘put out to pasture’), but open to doing different things. Not overtly concerned about pay, yet not wanting to get shortchanged either! Different sectors, smaller roles, fewer responsibilities? No problem!
And most important:
Women in the wings: That this hugely talented, and vastly underutilized, workforce still has to struggle to get back on the ramp is, a gross leadership failure. India Inc needs to think this through. There has to be a more strategic approach to welcome women back on the ramp. Especially after something as natural and beautiful as having a baby! The overall opportunity is humungous!
For organizations facing temporary talent gaps, interim resourcing firms offer several benefits:
- Business continuity with minimal double hatting
- Knowledgeable resources who hit the road running
- No additional headcount liability
- Low cost, low risk
- Confidentiality and non-compete clauses baked into contracts
- Legal compliance
For the interim resource:
- Short, flexible work periods
- Experience gathering continues
- Can pursue other activities
- Financial security
However, there are some aspects that organizations must keep in mind when considering interim resourcing:
1. Define the period of time-frame
2. Be cautious with strategic roles (though, part-time CEO, Head of Finance, HR, Legal have been successful)
3. Select the agency partner carefully
4. Ensure that all contracts are tight and compliant with prevailing labour law
There’s a big opportunity out there. Talent Acquisition leaders would do well to look outside the box to harness it strategically. Interim resourcing is an ideal enabler to channelize this expertise: A cost effective, talent portfolio that considers organizational need and respects this unique professional choice of the individual.