As we sluggishly start to exit the economic downturn, talent outsourcing has gained more attention and momentum. It is a changing model and constantly evolving. Could it be your ticket to a faster growth phase?

The economic turmoil and business upheaval of the past few years resulted in mass reductions in force and the cancellation or postponement of new projects and programs. After all the cost cutting and belt tightening, companies are trying to figure out how to get back to where they were and grow. Many are considering talent outsourcing for the first time or re-examining it, determining its long-term value to the organization and the return on investment.

We should start with a definition of talent outsourcing. For the purposes of our discussion, it is the process of turning over part or all of an organization’s function to external resources or an individual. Historically, most organizations only used this model in technical disciplines to access expertise not available internally or to bolster technical talent around project initiatives. In the past two decades, however, it has grown to include finance and accounting, human resources, sales and marketing, and even more diverse engineering and scientific disciplines. More recently, companies are examining every department and function to see whether it would be a potential candidate for outsourcing.

During the downturn, companies reduced their labor forces but did not adjust expectations for shareholder value, the complexity of their processes, or their product pipeline accordingly. In fact, many companies expanded expectations in those areas and are proponents of “doing more with less,” which has now become the new normal. As management looked at the talent pool, they acknowledged the need to answer the question of “necessary or not?” when evaluating how employees contribute directly to the product or service.

The result of these factors (and, of course, others not discussed) is a growing demand for more flexible and efficient ways to staff projects and pursue business opportunities. In their effort to remain competitive, companies are seeking to streamline non-core activities and move strategically toward new products, services, and markets. However, these initiatives can be challenging given the reality of smaller, over-stressed staffs.

One way to address this challenge is through the use of interim talent. Using interim talent can help companies reduce their overhead, instill best practices within an organization, obtain expertise that doesn’t exist internally, or staff up for projects focused on growth. For companies that look to stay lean while still capable of addressing the diverse opportunities that exist in a turbulent economy, building a flexible and scalable workforce provides a great way for even the smallest, yet most nimble, company to compete with global giants for any business opportunity.

How prepared is your organization to address your next growth opportunity or business challenge, given your current staff?  Perhaps it’s time to consider interim talent.

Adam Berman can be reached at Email or 215.441.4600.