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10 Oct. 2017 | Comments (0)

More and more organizations over the past few decades have begun to implement Organization Effectiveness (OE) practices and methodologies to optimize change management, restructuring, and optimal performance of the business. To facilitate this process, many have developed OE groups and capabilities within the organization. These groups and their capabilities vary from organization to organization.  Some act as hands-on consulting groups, others concentrate on providing tools to leaders or other internal professionals looking to improve the effectiveness of their organizations within the company.

One thing most OE groups have in common is a shortage of good talent. In the face of the growing demand in the workplace for individuals with OE skills and expertise, employers are finding themselves both recruiting more frequently and needing to explore new talent sources to build and maintain their OE teams.

Today’s flexible workplace environment means that not every organization needs or wants to hire full-time, permanent employees. However, organizations seeking to build their OE teams are especially hard put to find talent. Hiring an OE team member has become a long-term proposition in many cases; 18-month long or longer recruiting efforts are not unusual. The challenge is amplified for organizations when multiple new team members are needed.

Those responsible for creating and leading OE groups and capabilities are well served by asking three strategic talent acquisition questions:

  1. Where else (aside from traditional talent pools) can we search for OE talent? 
  2. What temporary staffing measures can we take to fill the talent gap in our organization until we are able to hire someone full time?
  3. How can we effectively utilize external partners to help us stay abreast of the OE workload?

As in any emerging field of expertise, in the early days of OE, talent was often recruited by hiring people with unique skills (e.g., training, facilitation, Six Sigma, strategic planning) into OE positions and letting them learn on the job and through conferences and independent study. As OE became established, educational institutions began offering degrees and certificates in the field and companies began favoring certified candidates as well as professionals possessing significant hands-on OE experience.

In the face of the current OE talent shortage, however, it may be time to reconsider the specialized training and experience requirement for OE candidates. Mining talent from unconventional fields such as engineering, finance or even academia could yield candidates who, while lacking formal credentials in OE, could possess many of the capabilities and skill sets necessary to excel as practitioners of OE.

Another solution that can work very well for companies looking to make progress while an external search is ongoing, is to engage temporary help. We have helped several of our clients by providing them with competent temporary OE team members for set lengths of time (for instance 3 or 6 months) while the hiring process was ongoing. It can be an excellent solution that lets a company maintain progress on the OE front and keep up with business goals while their talent search is in progress.

Our clients have expressed satisfaction with this approach for a number of reasons:

  • Flexibility. It can eliminate the need to find talent for short-term projects, and/or provide just the right amount of support for teams that don’t need a full-time employee or who have fluctuating needs.
  • Reduces or eliminates the need for search. By finding a temporary talent source, companies can bypass the entire costly and time-intensive hiring process.  
  • Trust and familiarity. If you have worked with a partner before, you have already established a working relationship and are familiar with the capabilities, skills and knowledge you will be able to leverage. They will also come onto your team with a grasp of your company culture, which leads to a smooth onboarding and transition.

In addition to these ideas, OE groups might also want to consider meeting demand by adopting a hybrid delivery model. Using both internal, full-time staff and contracting with external practitioners to minimize the cost and effort of building a full-time team while still enabling OE to extend its scope and capabilities in support of company objectives. It also allows for fluctuations in workload by enabling the internal team to easily scale back when demand drops and quickly ramp back up again in the face of increased workloads. Often, internal business clients will cover the cost of the hybrid model, which also allows the internal team to be selective about the projects they take on, because they can engage around the most strategic initiatives and engage a trusted partner in handling other efforts.

Such creative human capital solutions are by no means limited to the field of OE. If you are experiencing challenges in talent acquisition in any area, or if your situation calls for a creative approach to human resources, consider what alternative measures might be available to help you keep up with your business agenda and keep delivering value in the marketplace. 


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  • About the Author: Reed Deshler

    Reed Deshler

    As a frequent speaker of The Conference Board’s conferences and webcasts, Reed Deshler specializes in developing strategic organization designs and helping companies bring them to fruition. As a…

    Full Bio | More from Reed Deshler


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