The workforce of today is brimming with options for talent. Gone are the days when your primary choices were full-time employees, part-time employees, and occasional temporary help. In the late 1940’s Elmer Winter and Aaron Scheinfield founded Manpower, Inc. to fill a need for secretarial help. They found they were on to something, and in 2023, Manpower Group is a Fortune 500 company and the third largest staffing firm in the world, providing much more than secretarial support.
Not too many years later, in 1950, McKinsey & Company began providing consulting services, which, albeit also “temporary talent,” started the trend to utilize outside help at the highest levels of the organization.
Fast forward to 2023, and there is a myriad of choices. Thanks to the power of the internet, a global economy, and SAAS, one can select from a wide array of options to assemble a workforce that is nimble, flexible, adaptable, and with specific skills. You can quickly scale up or down. You can also move labor costs off the balance sheet and into the expense column.
Hiring help around the globe is possible thanks sites like Fiverr and Guru.com – paying as little as $5 per task. Or you can hire one of the big global consulting firms for upwards of $300 to 700 per hour.
There’s great value in hiring expert help. That value is amplified when you select the right talent working with you in the right way and at the right price point.
Let me walk you through three common choices for talent – and then provide you with a fourth option that might be your best bet!
The Gig Economy is here. Fueled by the ability to quickly find and source talent from around the world and to work remotely, freelancers abound. They can be small business owners or contractors for a firm. They typically provide “pair of hands” type work and engage in a specific project. Writing, editing, graphic design, webwork, coding, digital marketing, translation, and photography are some of the more common tasks.
While easy to source, thanks to sites like www.upwork.com, www.fivrr.com , and www.guru.com, the output quality can vary greatly. It often takes several projects to help the freelancer you are working with understand your needs and provide the quality deliverable you need. Language and time zone issues can also add difficulties.
Independent Consultants –
An increasing number of skilled professionals are becoming “solopreneurs” – or offering their professional services to multiple clients. It’s been a common approach for lawyers and accountants. Still, now you can find local independent talent for fractional C-level work and consultants across various fields such as IT, HR, Business Strategy, Talent Development, Supply Chain, Continuous Improvement, Marketing, Sales, and many more.
Independents can provide high expertise and personalized service, often at a price point under the big firms. They are often local, avoiding travel expenses and making them more accessible. However, finding them can be a bit more complicated.
Big Firms –
There are the big four (Accenture, Deloitte, McKinsey, and PwC ) and a myriad of other larger and mid-sized firms. They bring deep expertise and a deep bench. They have a global footprint and often cutting-edge IP. The old adage is true: people don’t get fired for hiring a big firm, as the risk from poor advice or shoddy work is perceived as low.
And the knocks on big firms also ring true. They are often too expensive or out of reach for most businesses. They are big and often not fast or nimble. And the consultants with more knowledge are more likely to sell the work and leave the delivery to very junior members.
As an independent for sixteen years, I saw the value independents bring and also experienced the downsides. It was harder to market and sell. It was hard to scale. I was limited when my clients needed a more integrated solution.
Which is why, in late 2020, Joe Indiano and I (along with a few other independents) formed Apeiron (pronounced A Peer On; a Greek word for boundless). Apeiron is a network of vetted consultants across disciplines who come together to better serve clients. We’ve grown to twenty-five people in the network, providing our clients the benefits of:
- Our one-stop shop helps you find vetted, high-quality consulting talent.
- Our cross-functional talent avoids “siloed approaches” that are doomed to fail.
- Our focus on people ensures change that is adopted and sticks.
- Our diversity of experience and expertise enables more creative and insightful solutions and approaches.
- Our flexible team provides you with the right talent at the right time and in the right amount.
- Our agile approach enables us to adapt as needed to provide you with results, rather than a forced approach or “one size fits all” service.
Below is a summary of your four choices for “temporary talent” and some of the pros/cons of each.
If you are interested in seeing how Apeiron might be able to partner with you and your organization, reach out to us to set up a “discovery” conversation. This is a “no sale” meeting to learn more about you and your business goals.
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About the Author: Kris Taylor
Fueled by their shared passion for people-centric organizations that achieve business results, Kris Taylor joined Joe Indiano to found Apeiron, where professionals join together in an abundant, entrepreneurial community to grow sustainable businesses by collaborating together. Bringing together highly skilled consultants across functions, Apeiron is creating the “workplace of the future”, where talented professionals come together to service clients with an agile, collaborative approach to tough business problems.
Kris is also the founder of Evergreen Leadership in 2004 and has worked with over 80 companies across the US to develop customized leadership development programs focused on 21st-century skills. Evergreen Leadership is known for its high-impact retreats, coaching, and learning programs, specializing in fostering agility, collaboration, relationship building, accountability, creativity, and innovation.
Kris writes, speaks, teaches, and coaches leaders at all levels, from the C-suite to high-potential emerging leaders. She is committed to giving back in meaningful ways, most visibly with Evergreen’s Annual Community Builder Award. Since 2015, fifteen leaders across the mid-west have come together for the Connect and Create Retreat.
Her many years of work experience are rich in variety – beginning in education and non-profit for ten years before making a career change with RR Donnelley. In this Fortune 200 company, she fulfilled many roles from Human Resources to Operations to a corporate role in Learning and Development over fourteen years.
On the faculty of Purdue’s Certificate Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation for seven years, Kris developed and taught a course on consulting, as well as a course entitled Your Entrepreneurial Career. Kris is also the author of author of Owning It: Take Control of Your Life, Work and Career and The Leader’s Guide to Turbulent Times: a practical, easy-to-use guide to leading in today’s times. She holds a Master’s Degree from Krannert Business School at Purdue University and did her undergraduate work at West Virginia University.