Organization effectiveness (OE) has become a top human capital priority for many organizations. Building internal OE groups and capabilities can greatly assist organizations in achieving optimal performance and better managing change. Whether their OE team emphasizes consulting, creating an OE toolset, or a hybrid approach, one of the biggest challenges organizations face when looking to build out their OE capabilities is the shortage of talent in this area.
Demand for OE expertise is growing. Many of our clients attempting to fill an OE position tell us it is an especially challenging HR task, with talent searches often exceeding 18 months. The process is made even more difficult when—as is often the case—an organization seeks to fill multiple OE positions at once. During this time, existing OE team members often struggle with a greater workload than they are able to effectively shoulder.
This situation begs a few key questions for organizations wishing to fill OE positions: Might there be alternative talent pools in which to find suitable OE professionals? What alternative staffing solutions are available to lighten the workload for OE teams during a search that may last for months? And, how might external partners be leveraged to create a hybrid delivery model to help bridge the OE talent gap?
Tapping Unconventional Talent Pools
Let’s start by reviewing the history of the OE field. In the early days of OE, few or no formal programs existed to educate talent in OE best practices. Instead, when an organization needed OE talent, they looked for people with complimentary skills. Once in the OE roles, these people learned on the job, through self-study, and by attending conferences and other relevant training. As OE graduate programs and certificates began to be offered, formally trained OE talent became available and preferred by most organizations. A desire for experienced OE professionals emerged.
At this time, it may be helpful for organizations seeking good OE talent to consider returning to the earlier model of finding talent in the raw. Looking for competent individuals in unconventional fields such as finance, engineering, or academia who can step into an OE role, bring their existing skill sets into play, and build capability on the job. This approach may offer a fast track to filling open OE positions, though it will require organizations to create programs and pathways to train up and help non-traditional OE talent gain the skills needed to contribute.
Leveraging Existing Partners
Another increasingly popular solution to the OE talent shortage is to draw from an organization’s consulting partners—not by hiring their talent away, but by contracting for OE services on a temporary basis, for a specified period of time and monthly amount.
This can be an especially effective solution for organizations that have an existing relationship with a consulting partner. It can allow an organization to stay on top of their internal demand for OE services while the talent search continues. A consultant who has already worked with an organization as an external consultant will already understand the company’s culture as well as the capabilities, knowledge and skillsets of the OE group. There is low risk of surprises, and they can step into a temporary 3-6 month OE position (or however long is needed) and start making an immediate difference to the OE team’s productivity with minimal training time and without requiring an additional talent search on the organization’s part. It’s also a flexible solution. In cases where full time help is not needed, or for a short-term project, this arrangement allows for the organization to engage OE help where and as needed.
Taking a Hybrid Approach
Another solution to consider is a hybrid delivery model, in which an organization uses a mix of full time internal OE staff and scalable external support. This can be an extremely flexible approach because it expands the capabilities and/or scope of the internal OE group without the expense and difficulty of adding full time staff as demand grows or peaks. It can also allow the internal OE team to focus on their preferred projects as well as keep up with high-demand periods without risking the expense of over-staffing during slower times. And, internal OE business clients often cover the cost of retaining temporary OE staff.
Staffing challenges are, of course, not limited to OE. Applying creative thinking to human capital needs can pay off in any area of an organization. If you are finding it difficult to fill needed positions in your company, considering these or other alternative approaches may provide just the solution you need to stay on top of demand and deliver value for your organization.