Keys to a successful flexible IT staffing strategy

With specialized skills in short supply, CIOs are increasingly turning to contingent workers to supplement in-house talent. Here’s how to ensure your workforce mix is on target and productive.

Keys to a successful flexible IT staffing strategy

The 250 employees at the University of Alabama at Birmingham can’t tackle all the work on the IT docket, so CIO Curtis A. Carver Jr. says he turns to vendors for fill the gap.

Those outside workers are important enough, he says, that he occasionally schedules large catered-lunch meetings so he can share with strategic vendor partners his plans for upcoming work. Carver says this helps both sides — his IT team and the vendors — determine which projects will be staffed entirely with in-house talent, which will need a mix and which will require near-entire outside expertise.

It’s all part of Carver’s strategic approach to staffing, a tactic that helps him to thoughtfully plan — rather than react — to personnel requirements.

Carver says such forethought is critical: His enterprise IT shop — like many others today — regularly relies on contingent workers to augment his full-time employees yet must still ensure that these nonemployees are motivated to deliver the same high-quality results he expects of his staffers.

“As CIO, you want to make sure the project is executed flawlessly because you’re ultimately responsible for delivery. You’re accountable for it, and your reputation is at risk every time you enter into these partnerships unless you recognize and manage the advantages and disadvantages [of such personnel arrangements],” Carver says.

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