How do you eat an elephant

Written by: One Circle Team  created on: 23-04-2020


Work-related projects are daunting prospects.

The cliché “how do you eat an elephant” often comes to mind when faced with projects involving enterprise-wide scope, massive amounts of resources (including money) and generally a range of different involved stakeholders.

HR projects are no different to any other consulting project, and due to the personal nature of related interventions, one could argue that they might have an added layer of complexity. HR Directors in organizations are generally long-suffering individuals!

It is interesting, given the complexity of such projects, how businesses can leverage freelance or remote arrangements to get those projects done.

It is however intriguing to look at how HR projects are addressed in a business, given that they are generally manifestations of responses to certain problems or identified opportunities within organizations.

Though HR-projects are much less complex than system-related transformation ones, they can still be quite a mouthful to manage. For example, introducing a new incentive pay scheme ranges from design to implementation while involving multiple stakeholders, governance considerations and good change management, all of which are vital for the overall success of the venture.

Up to now, companies without the appetite (or in-house capabilities) to handle such projects alone reach out to the traditional consulting companies to handle the entire project span. This approach is tremendously expensive, and essentially results in an outsourcing of the project to the likes of Big 4 firms, or management consultants.

The end results typically tick the boxes in terms of compliance, but generally leave the company feeling overwhelmed with a big implementation that again requires external consultants interference.

And yet, companies continue to farm out such work in project-sized chunks to the same players. At the surface what might seem as companies preferring to go to well established consulting companies is much deeper than that. One of the main reasons, companies are prepared to pay the massive premium charged by consulting companies for entire projects, is they simply are unaware of available alternatives and the entire project itself is a behemoth to manage internally.

The rise of the platform economy has presented precisely such new alternatives, allowing companies to access the requisite skills, from different sources, on-demand, and at realistic rates. If you think of how the rise of online retail sites have allowed consumers to shop from multiple stores depending on their product preferences (or where they are getting the best deals) with minimal fuss, all in one place, you start to get a sense of the potential of digitally enabling access to talent on a contingent basis.

Online communities like One Circle bring together HR specialists from all over the world, who are prepared to help companies on specific HR projects, while the platform itself provides payment and work delivery assurance.

Existing consulting platforms can assist on entire projects, just like the traditional consulting firms, but also handle just the project management, or any other piece within an overall project. After all, if a company is only missing 2 or 3 key skill areas from the overall project, why not go out to the market for only these skills, through one of the existing platforms, as opposed to the entire project?

If companies need help “chunking up” projects, this is also something that the specialists on that same platform can help a company do. One Circle consultants for example can, at no added cost, help a company understand what it needs to tackle a specific problem, project or initiative, identify capability gaps and then recommend how to use infused skills to fill these gaps.

To take an example that is so easy to understand, we looked that an incentive pay scheme.

A company may have an excellent internal team of communication specialists and reward analysts to tackle this but perhaps lacking in design and modelling capabilities. Existing consulting platforms can give this company access to some of the leading Agile Project Management experts who can help define the different segments or phases of the full project, not as a static forward-looking big hairy objective, but in more palatable chunks that identify which ones truly require external help on. This has obvious cost saving potential, and also ensures that a real expert in every stage of the project is handling that particular project piece. The use of an Agile approach also breaks down longer time horizons into more tangible milestones and delivery dates.

The key message is that approaching tough HR projects, important ones that help support your business strategy, doesn’t have to be overwhelming enough to engage expensive consultants to help out at the cost of millions.

Try a better value, more focussed and modern option by checking out the talent available globally, virtually and on-demand. If you have already defined your need, you can immediately register your company and engage directly on almost any of those platforms. If you require some pre-help by discussing your problem or proposed project first, you can also get this from those same platforms that can help define the overall project before you select your specialist consultant.

With the platform economy on the rise, access to global talent virtually and on demand became the norm.

The great news is that you don’t have to figure out how to eat an elephant anymore. You can now instead eat up bite-sized chunks which are much more palatable.