How Tech Leaders Can Move Initiatives Forward with Contract Staffing – Even with Budget and Hiring Freezes
We’ve been working with a lot of tech leaders who are working at companies that have hiring freezes and budget freezes due to Covid-19.
We are seeing that many leaders can secure a portion of their budget to keep projects on track. Below are the 7 Best Practices which are effective for them.
Make the Case that Your Project is an Exception to the Overall Policy
If you can make the case that your project is critical to the future success of the company, your project is likely to get funded even if there is a Freeze Policy in place. Show your bosses that the risks or rewards of your project are critical and there is a much higher chance of getting your project funded. Can you point out that if your security project is not completed, the company is at risk of $20 Million in losses? Can you point out that your Initiative will improve ecommerce sales by $30 Million? In either of these cases, your $500,000 project will probably be green-lighted.
Use Tech Staffing vs. Consulting Companies to Reduce Costs
This method takes advantage of the different pricing models between Staffing and Consulting Industries. Staffing companies have lower margins. A Software Engineer that has a bill rate of $98 to $105 from an IT Staffing company would have a bill rate of $160 to $250+ from a Consulting company.
Ask for Contractors instead of Full-Time Hires
Bringing in an IT Staffing contractor for a six-month project may cost about $100,000. However, hiring an additional team member commits the company to $150,000+ per year in perpetuity. Managers find it much easier to get approval for contractors than full time hires.
Use Contract Resources in Smaller and Less Costly Ways
Usually tech leaders bring in contract resources through staffing firms on a long-term, 40-hour per week basis. This is a good way to go, but when finances are tight you may not have the budget for this. Instead, your bosses may accept an expert who can get you started with a new technology project and do a lot of knowledge transfer to your staff. Another inexpensive route is to have a technology coach for your team. ProFocus can provide an expert who can meet with your team on a regular basis such as a 1-2 hour per week meeting, and this can have a huge acceleration effect for your projects.
Bring Back Laid Off Staff on Contract
If you have lost team members to layoffs, an IT Staffing company can hire these people for you and assign them to you as contractors. This way you can benefit from their knowledge and experience with you. This keeps them engaged with you until you are able to hire them back again. ProFocus Technology offers discounted rates in these situations and you can hire the person back with no conversion waiting periods.
Make a Good Business Proposal Showing what you Plan to Spend and the Results
Now more than ever you need to address the projected costs and ROI of your proposed project. Detail out the costs and the expected gains carefully. Calculate the ROI. How long will it take to pay back? Have a friend in Finance take a look at your proposal and help make sure it makes a good case to the financial people. ProFocus has a CFO resource who can help you step through a strong proposal for your boss and we provide this for free because approved projects are good for our business.
Share a Well-Crafted SOW with Management Showing the Deliverables
You can increase your success rate in getting management approval to bring on contract resources if you plan out an explicit SOW outlining the objectives you expect to be achieved and in what timeframe. This gives a lot of clarity to management about what the investment is being spent on. This can be a lot more effective than saying, “We are short of resources and could really benefit from another developer to help move things forward.”
Get a Fixed Bid
You can require a fixed bid with a clearly defined set of outcomes/deliverables. Although sometimes this can be harder to define and negotiate, the fixed bid can give leadership the ability to budget against specific outcomes and sometimes this is more palatable and easier to sell. This can create complications for you with your service provider, both in the upfront negotiations and with the need to deal with change orders as the project progresses.
Contract Now and Hire Later
Your hiring freeze means you can’t hire, but you have big plans to build out your team in the longer run. You can get approval for contract resources today, with the intention of hiring the contractors later. ProFocus can help you implement this plan, ensuring that the contractors will be open to being hired when the time comes.
Seize the Cycle Early
There comes a time at every company where business stabilizes after the layoffs and cost-cutting. When the business starts to see an uptick in business, but there is still uncertainty, that will be the time that execs start authorizing contract resources. Be ready for this time before it happens. Make sure your boss knows you need to add contractors as soon as possible. Have your proposals and ROI already done and in your boss’s hands. In this way, you will be at the front of the line when this opportunity arises.
Have your Strategy and Processes in Place
Contractors should be part of any company’s strategy in order to be flexible and able to respond and meet ever changing demands. It has been proven to be successful time and again and should be given the same consideration as FTE’s when looking to satisfy demand. It is therefore important that organizations acknowledge this and have their internal processes set up to support this model. Putting these structures in place will be of great benefit in the long run. It will streamline the process and provide guidance to managers on the company stance to leveraging contractors.