So you’ve made the decision to leverage agile talent to boost the capabilities of your L&D team. You’ve explored the benefits and discovered that staff augmentation is the right choice for your organization. But now you’re faced with the challenge of vetting the various options in front of you. Internet searches will reveal a sea of staffing vendors, all with the apparent qualifications to fill the talent gaps you’re looking for. The question becomes: What vendor is the right choice for your organization? The job of the L&D professional is never done. You now need to be a business analyst, vendor manager, and risk assessment expert, all while maintaining your primary role as a learning leader.
In this article, we wanted to help save you some time by getting to the heart of the problem and provide you with a few ideas to get you started in your vendor search. Our goal is to help you understand the difference between traditional staffing agencies and staff augmentation vendors that are specialists in delivering top L&D talent. In addition, you’ll better understand the benefits of working with a staff augmentation vendor that truly understands your unique needs to find the perfect staffing solution for your team and organization.
To be sure, there’s a huge difference between the two. Rather than simply dropping talent on your doorstep and walking away, a creative L&D agency will continue to add value by working with you as your talent needs evolve, critical projects arise, and innovative learning strategies become an attractive solution. It’s all about finding a learning partner. Once you have that relationship in place, the world’s your oyster!
Are they L&D specialists?
Many vendors are simply a staffing company, dedicated to filling positions. This is a logical choice for generic staffing needs. But L&D is a different beast altogether. As you’re well aware, L&D talent needs to be uniquely qualified for the projects you’re developing. And once a project is complete, you may no longer require that specific skill set. The advantage of staff augmentation is that you can slot qualified talent quickly, get the job done, and then release them.
Your staff augmentation vendor needs to be able to understand the specific capabilities you require to support your team. They need to be able to vet and validate candidates for L&D and meet your unique project-by-project needs.
You need a vendor that knows what you may require in the future. Perhaps an instructional designer with graphic design talents or one who can also build programs in various authoring technologies. You need to think strategically to get the most out of your staff augmentation vendor and talent.
Can they deliver a project-based pricing model?
Your needs can quickly shift, and you need to be able to source talent on a per-project basis. Ask your staff augmentation vendor if they can help you reduce costs by managing talent in a project-based model. This can help ensure that you’re not paying for someone that you’re not using—a typical issue with full-time hires.
Do they understand the needs of virtual learning?
What is their track record in managing remote teams, and can they help you manage yours? Is there staff accredited and trained to work virtually? If your organization is planning to operate in a hybrid model for work and learning, your staff augmentation vendor needs to understand the training challenges associated with the move.
Do they work well with other vendors?
If you work with multiple L&D vendors, you need to ensure your staff augmentation vendor has a track record of working with other suppliers in this space. You need a well-functioning network of L&D vendors to work closely with each other to support your needs, not only theirs.
What do their clients say about them?
Do they have references from companies within the same industry space as yours? What impact has their team had on other organizations? Have their team members been successfully integrated into other organizations? Have they been asked to become permanent? There’s a lot you can learn from better understanding a staff augmentation vendor’s previous experience and relationships. Never be afraid to ask for references.
Do they employ a core methodology?
Before you launch into a major partnership, you need to know what to expect. Do they have a proven process that can demonstrate how your vendor relationship will go? Ask about their process and ensure they have a dedicated project manager or customer success person who will be primarily responsible for providing you reliable check-ins and be responsive and flexible to your needs.
Are they ready to scale with you?
Staff aug is on the rise, and more talent may be required in future. Taking this time now to vet a staff augmentation vendor will save you the stress and uncertainty down the road. With a trusted partner, you can be confident that your current and future L&D program requirements will be met and even have the opportunity to explore new and innovative learning strategies as the industry evolves.
If you’re ready to get started with your search for an L&D staff augmentation vendor, feel free to contact us for more information. We can discuss your talent requirements and provide you with a comprehensive strategy and methodology that we use when we work with our client-partners.