Over the last two decades, the financial sector in Scotland has witnessed many large-scale corporate actions. Acquisitions, mergers, outsourcing, insourcing, transformational business wins – they have combined to fundamentally reshape companies and the way they do business.
With more high profile consolidation set for this year, the role of temporary and contract staff in large-scale corporate projects is just as important as ever.
In this article, we look at the different approaches used in resourcing major projects. We outline the pros and cons of each, and identify the important factors in ensuring a project is delivered successfully.
Whether taking on a transformative new client, outsourcing back office functions or embedding a new acquisition or merger, there are broadly three approaches to staffing:
1. Utilise existing staff
2. Move existing staff to full-time, dedicated project roles and backfill their business-as-usual positions
3. Recruit a specialist contract team to manage the project
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
In reality, the best approach tends to be a mix of all three: a blend of internal company expertise and external contractor experience.
This may involve business-as-usual staff moving to full-time project roles, but the numbers are much less than in option 2.
This hybrid approach retains most of the advantages of options 1, 2 and 3 while mitigating many of the downsides. For example, with contractors working side-by-side with internal staff, key skills and experience inherent to the success of the project are retained within the company. This is usually through osmosis – a gradual assimilation of skills and experience – rather than formal training and development.
Whether you opt for option 3 or the recommended hybrid approach, the main factor in success is not so much in choosing to use contractors but choosing your contractors wisely.
Often, when projects have gone awry - over budget, delayed or abandoned – it is because companies have entered the contract market with quantity rather than quality in mind. They have simply thrown bodies at the project.
As a corporate, you will be spending a significant amount of money employing contractors. It is better to invest in one market-leading expert rather than two journeymen.
Next time your company is faced with delivering a large-scale corporate transaction, whether it’s a merger, acquisition or transformational business win – think carefully about the various ways you can deploy and employ staff to deliver it successfully.
Being mindful at the outset of the different approaches and their respective advantages and disadvantages can go a long way in anticipating and therefore avoiding many of the problems experienced by your predecessors.
And if entering the contract market on a significant scale, choose quality over quantity.
With over 15 years’ recruitment experience, Mike Stirton has worked at the heart of most large-scale corporate transactions across Scotland’s financial sector. He has provided temporary and contract professionals for many significant projects, including mergers, acquisitions, outsourcing, insourcing and transformative client wins.