Generally speaking, many of your internal employees would love to be part of or any new programs of work. From a retention point of view and from an investment-in-your-people point of view, it would be ideal to give the opportunities to internal staff and have them as the subject matter experts, rather than have them sit on the sidelines. But if you’re considering contractors it’s usually because your permanents don’t have experience with what’s needed.

So, how do you execute a business imperative that benefits both your permanent people and your company?

It comes down to striking the right balance between the fresh and the faithful. It’s when you strike the perfect symmetry that the results become inspiring.

Your internal people know your business

They know how things are currently done – in regards to both governance and efficacy – and they know how to reach your customers. For any incoming contractors, the value your permanent people add to any newly scoped project is exactly this.

Great contractors know their stuff

This is what makes it such a highly competitive field. If you manage to get the best contractors in your sector, those whose reputations precede them, then your permanent talent can’t help but learn from their expertise, guidance and dedication to the project.

In many ways this will happen organically via the exposure to great talent, but also because the best contractors are typically at least one part great instructors.

Striking the balance?

It would be far too prescriptive for me to suggest an optimum percentage of internal to external individuals on any given works; there are too many variables. However I will venture that, in my experience, the winning formula often looks something like this.

Your pillar heads are internal with strong capabilities and have performed in these roles before. The BA team is a blend of internal and contracting professionals with a skew toward internal. This allows for more upskilling and results in greater satisfaction among your own people, letting this mix efficiently deliver your business goals.

This is a result that contractors depend on. It leads to repeat business and solid referrals in their tight-knit circles.

Added bonus – Any challenges presented by the pay disparity between contractors and permanent staff is mitigated by the fact that your perms readily interpret this as an opportunity for on the job training. It can be viewed as – because it is – an investment in their development.

Who do you want?

You want in-demand contractors who deliver successful projects and programs of work on time and on budget, with a variety of experience with leading brands and technologies.

If they tick these boxes, that’s who you want influencing your people.

Today’s smart money is also on capable contractors with outside sector experience.

Increasingly clients are considering the fresh perspectives of these types to give them an edge. Some clients aren’t as forward thinking – the more traditional organisations in Australia keep recycling the same contractors week in week out, which I think we can all see has inherent limitations.

They’re missing the growing number of talented contractors coming from retail, for example, into financial services.

Which, when you think about it, is a good fit, considering the end user wants the same great customer experience.

It’s the beginning of a calendar year and you’ll probably be scoping out your capital expenditure and deciding on investments that need to be made to increase your revenue streams. So, now is the time to be looking for professional advice, flexing your networks, attending events and those sort of things.

As I said in last month’s blog, the economy is buoyant and there is an increase in contracting work, but, it is still a highly competitive area. You need to be harnessing all your resources to work with the best contractors if you want to have these talented individuals upskilling your internal team members while delivering outstanding projects.

Thanks for taking the time to read this piece; I enjoyed writing it. Join us on LinkedIn for more insights from me and my colleagues.