Business talent sharing is the latest trend in workforce management that is spreading quickly across the country, with Australia’s defence industry at the forefront in response to concerns about workforce shortfalls.
Tim Walmsley, a military veteran and founder of BenchOn, believes that this talent strategy is the biggest productivity lever for businesses and could solve many of the current problems experienced in defence industry.
"In its purest form, business talent sharing is nothing new. Companies have been successfully using this tactic for decades to get their work completed. They just know it as sub-contracting, secondments or consulting, which has historically been limited to their relationship network," Walmsley said.
Essentially, business talent sharing is when a business fulfils their non-permanent talent requirements by borrowing the available staff of another business to complete work, or alternatively, loaning available staff who might be ‘on the bench’, to support another business for a project, specialist requirement or for a surge period. The employee remains employed by their company but fulfils a task or project at another organisation.
It sounds simple enough, which is why it has been overlooked in the past, but when implemented at scale, the benefits can be extensive.
“Consider the compounding effect for a business when they minimise their employee under-utilisation,” Walmsley said.
“Firstly, they reduce their overheads by reducing ‘bench time’, which makes them more cost competitive. Then they increase revenue with additional contracts they didn’t have before from companies outside their network – and that’s just the benefits for the company supplying the employee.”
Indeed, the benefits extend much further. Businesses looking to source talent are tapping into a much broader pool than just job seekers, which assists in reducing the talent shortages experienced in many sectors.
“Historically, businesses have fought with each other for the best talent. If you needed someone, you poached them from another company creating this constant movement of employees across the industry at great cost to both your business and the business losing the employee,” Walmsley said.
“Enboarder reports that employee turnover is costing the business somewhere between 90 per cent and 200 per cent of the employee’s salary. At that cost, why do we continue to cut each other’s legs out?"
Employees also have reported significant benefits including job stability, maintaining their tenure and leave entitlements, experiencing new projects and ways of working and improving their network.
"It’s a win/win/win for all involved. Businesses get the workforce agility they are seeking, employees get job stability and industry as a whole benefits from increased productivity and a reduction in consulting cost," Walmsley added.
The key to achieving this, he said, is to ensure that businesses protect themselves when working with a company they have never worked with before.
“It’s important to ensure that all proprietary information is covered by an NDA and that each business is properly vetted. Business owners should also ensure that they are addressing any conflict of interest at the outset. This way, businesses can share their talent in a trusted, transparent and secure way,” Walmsley said.
Walmsley is the founder and CEO of BenchOn, a business talent sharing platform that matches contract talent requirements to the available capacity in Australian businesses.
BenchOn, which won Start-up of the Year 2019 at the Australian Defence Industry Awards, allows businesses to manage the peaks and troughs of the business cycle with workforce agility and job stability.
BenchOn not only provides a national network of businesses across all industries but has also released enterprise products to create talent visibility both internally and externally to solve the talent shortage crisis.