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Smart L&D Staffing With No Worries

Many L&D leaders are facing a mixed bag of workforce challenges—including labor shortages, hiring freezes, evolving roles, and emerging skillsets. In this article, we respond to the many reasons why some L&D leaders may be reluctant to engage temporary talent as part of the solution to the challenges they face.

Over the past several months, analysts have been relatively consistent in their prediction of continued labor shortages and talent gaps. This reality is particularly true within learning and development. For example, leaders may be struggling to source specialists in topics such as gamification, AI for learning, or learner experience while also managing the day-to-day production of e-learning or virtual instructor-led training. While there are a few high-quality outsourcing options (please see AllenComm’s comprehensive learning services), many have a need to boost the talent and outcomes of their internal team.

Staffing options, however, often come with a set of worries that many overtaxed leaders are reluctant to take on. Meanwhile, their teams may be overworked and increasingly stressed, and, by clinging to all of the possible things that can go wrong, these leaders may be slow to take advantage of an agile, just-in-time talent and staffing option. Meanwhile, while they wait, the backlog of work only grows.

So, let’s get past all the usual worries so that you can benefit from AllenComm’s Smart L&D Staffing:

Worry #1: “They won’t understand my audience or organization.”

This worry often stems from a misconception that temporary talent lacks the understanding of your specific audience and organizational culture. Of course, it’s true that a new resource will need to learn about your audience and organization. We know how to greatly accelerate this learning curve.

At AllenComm, we specialize in connecting organizations with flexible L&D talent who possess relevant experience in your industry, similar audience demographics, and expertise in the specific training type you require. Temporary team members can then hit the ground running, minimizing the need for extensive onboarding and maximizing their immediate contribution. Additionally, their diverse perspectives and fresh viewpoints can often lead to innovative solutions and improved learning outcomes for your target audience.

Worry #2: “They can’t be relied on for long-term projects or are a waste of training investment.”

Again, concerns about reliability and knowledge transfer are valid considerations. The best approach is to anticipate such problems upfront. Firstly, clear communication is crucial. By openly discussing project expectations, timelines, and success factors with both the client and the talent, we foster a strong working relationship and ensure everyone is on the same page. Additionally, we prioritize sourcing individuals who thrive in flexible work environments and are not simply using this as an interim stopgap.

Furthermore, we implement strategies to minimize knowledge loss even after the project concludes. This may involve incorporating key documentation such as design documents, content outlines, and scripts into the project. These resources serve as a valuable knowledge base for future reference and ensure continuity even after the project ends. Finally, we select talent with proven ability to quickly grasp new information, particularly those who have experience working with diverse clients on complex projects. This ensures they can adapt to your specific needs and contribute effectively from the outset.

Worry #3: “It’s ultimately more expensive or they won’t be as invested in success.”

Here, we have two, closely related worries. The perceived cost-effectiveness of flexible L&D talent compared to full-time employees is often misunderstood. When you need a specific skillset for a limited duration, utilizing flexible talent can be significantly more cost-effective. This is especially true for large deliverables, temporary staffing needs, or hiring freezes. You should also consider the opportunity cost for the time it takes to source a full-time resource.

As for the concern that temporary talent lacks motivation due to their non-permanent status, well that is simply not the case for a professional talent who is intentionally building a career as an independent talent. At AllenComm, we assess so-called soft skills in addition to technical skills. We take a consultative approach, understanding your team culture, collaboration opportunities, and success factors before sourcing talent. This upfront dialogue fosters a sense of connection and purpose for the temporary team member, ensuring they feel valued and integral to the project’s success. Additionally, we actively seek individuals who are intrinsically motivated by quality, efficiency, and performance outcomes. This intrinsic drive ensures they are invested in their work and committed to building strong collaborative relationships with your existing team.

Worry #4: “Finding, screening, and managing them takes too long or threatens existing team members.”

Compared to the often-protracted process of hiring full-time employees, sourcing temporary talent is significantly fasterIndustry benchmarks show a 3–4-month average for full-time hiresIn contrast, AllenComm’s smart L&D staffing can deliver a 3-10 business day turnaround. We handle the entire process, from recruitment and screening to onboarding and managing expectations for both you and the talent. This frees up your valuable time and resources, allowing you to focus on your core business functions.

We recommend proactive communication with your team about the use of smart staffing. They need to understand the why and how. When they can see how the extra hands will lighten the overall workload, they will be eager to collaborate with an outside resource.

Worry #5: “I’ve had negative experiences with agencies. I can do it myself or get HR to help me.

Our emphasis on upfront consultation, robust contingency plans, and clear success factorsminimizes the risk of past issues recurring. Additionally, we focus on creating win-win situationsfor both your team and the temporary talent, fostering a positive initial experience that shapes future collaborations.

And, while it would appear that online platforms provide easy access to a vast talent pool, the actual time, effort, and expertise required for effective sourcing, screening, and management can be significant. HR teams, often focused on full-time roles, may not have the specialization needed for L&D talent. Partnering with an experienced agency like AllenComm allows you to leverage our expertise and established network, ensuring a streamlined process and a reduced workload for your internal team.

The Strategic Advantage:

Utilizing temporary L&D talent strategically allows you to:

  • Access specialized skills: Fill specific skill gaps without long-term commitments (adaptive learning, assessment, course creation, creative services, etc.).
  • Increase agility: Respond quickly to changing needs and market demands. Dynamic needs won’t wait for the annual planning process.
  • Cost-optimize: Pay for the skills you need, when you need them.
  • Boost innovation: Gain fresh perspectives and diverse approaches.

By embracing AllenComm’s Smart L&D Staffing, you can unlock a wealth of strategic advantages, empowering your organization to learn faster, adapt quicker, and achieve greater impact. So, the next time you start hearing any of the typical worries discouraging you from solving the resourcing problems on your team, remember that you have an experienced partner at hand, one with 40+ years of experience in learning and development. You might be surprised at just how much pressure can be alleviated with a good plan.