The free-agent nation

I read an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review that was written by Jody Greenestone Miller and Matt Miller titled The Rise of the Supertemp. The article does a really nice job of positively exposing and exploring the growing numbers and interest in what they term “the free agent nation”, a/k/a “The Supertemps”.  Supertemps are top managers and professionals with real world experience from top corporations who have chosen to pursue project based careers independent from any firm. The authors go on to say that these Supertemps are being relied on more and more by companies to handle mission critical work that in the past would have had to be performed by permanent staff (read costly) or expensive outside firms (also read costly).

The author’s opinion is that these so-called Supertemps are growing in numbers and will eventually change how business works. In the article it was noted that a 2011 McKinsey study found that 58% of US companies expect to use more temporary employment at all levels of their organization and that 16 million Americans are working in this fashion today. We at Fronetics feel so strongly about this trend that we created a service offering tailored to these Supertemps and the companies that need their services. We call it Fronetics Interim Retained Management Service or F.I.R.M.S. .We like to think of it as a “management as a service” offering. Although the concept has been around for some time in the ranks of the production or hourly employee base, it is just reaching critical mass in the management and executive ranks.

If you think about it, the reasons behind growth in Supertemps are really simple. For the companies using the Supertemp, they get a high quality, experienced, and focused resource when they need it for exactly how long they need it for, at a fraction of the cost of a full time hire or an expensive outside firm. Not to mention, the time lag involved with getting a full time hire up to speed. For the Supertemp, they get to work on exciting and quality projects at superior organizations. The work is intense for a specific period of time (or outcome) and then it ends. The Supertemp gets to see the fruits of their labor, gets paid similarly (or in some cases better) than traditional full time options, and then gets to re-charge when the work is complete. And with the growing advances in technology, the Supertemps can be located anywhere and have access anytime. It really makes perfect sense for both parties. And this so-called trend is not going to go away. As companies continually need to “do more with less”, high quality expertise will get balanced against cost and time to market. When this happens, the “Supertemp” option will win that battle every time. In the near-term, it’s in the best interest of corporations and their hiring executives to start developing relationships directly with Supertemps or with intermediaries that represent them. At Fronetics, we are building our relationship base and deploying these Supertemps now and expect to see this “management as a service” offering continue to grow in the future.