An Introduction to Partnering with Intent


To advance the latest thinking about workforce management in the digital age, Rural Sourcing authored a breakthrough white paper entitled “Partnering with Intent: An innovation workforce model for the digital age.” A series of blog posts will highlight key takeaways from that white paper, as well as workforce management commentary from leading IT luminaries.

This first post introduces the Partnering with Intent™ approach as a springboard to offering solutions to managing through today’s business transformations and the shortage of digitally prepared IT talent. Additional posts will explain how Partnering with Intent explores the importance of culture, encourages cultural alignment, and describes how transparency can help rebuild the trust lost during offshoring and why being a destination employer can offer a sustainable competitive advantage.

As changing customer demands hurtle toward businesses at warp speed, companies are counting on new ways of combining people, processes and technology to enable digital adaptation. In the quest to succeed, IT leaders see a lack of digital talent at the number one obstacle to achieving their business objectives. As a result, CIOs are exploring new partnership and workforce models to meet this talent shortage head on.

No company can afford to keep on staff all the digitally prepared talent needed to maintain and expand its market position. For that reason, enhancing staff capabilities with contingency labor has become a way of life for IT organizations at companies of all sizes. However, the unintended consequences of offshoring, such as the degradation of trust between IT leaders and those in their employ have soured the relationship between those in staff positions and externally sourced talent. Yet, the heightened demands of customers and the speed at which change occurs in the digitally adapted workplace demand more collaboration – not less. That’s why the three key components digital workforce management are so important:

  1. Partnering with Intent
  2. A “flex” culture
  3. Transparency

Partnering with Intent (PWI), a highly selective approach to sourcing specialized digital talent to enhance the IT staff, uses two radically different criteria to evaluate potential labor resources. Those two qualifiers – the presence of “soft skills” along with digital technology specialization and the ability of talent from partnered resources to support the company’s culture and values – have the power to redefine how IT companies choose their labor partners. “Soft skills” are defined as the ability to collaborate and communicate willingly and effectively, two capabilities that IT organizations competing in the digital age prize as much as technology prowess. Under the PWI model, labor partners earn value by being able to provide digital specialists that share their client’s mission and support the client’s culture. When these specialists from the outside blend seamlessly into the client’s organization and culture, everyone wins.

In addition to PWI, today’s IT organizations need to build a “flex” culture to efficiently tackle the rapid rate of change that comes from digital. The “flex” framework enables IT organizations to source technologist specialists armed with the latest digital talents and the necessary soft skills as well. This holistic approach gives IT leaders a degree of workforce management latitude that was previously unattainable in the previous “hard-wired,” project-only orientation. With a flex approach, digital specialists can be combined with staff resources in a free-flowing, initiative-based agile team designed to accommodate shifting priorities and stimulate, not stifle, creativity. At its heart, the digitally optimized IT organization leverages teams’ cultural integration to respond to business-driven change.

Transparency, the clear delineation of roles and responsibilities communicated openly, enables IT leaders to begin rebuilding the trust staff lost during offshoring. Composite teams depend on cultural integration and transparent leadership to feel more comfortable with their respective places in the IT organization and clearly understand how third-party labor resources contribute to organizational success. For IT leaders, trust and transparency have become a baseline requirement of the hyper-competitive digital age.

In our next post, we will explain how to blur the delineation between internal talent and externally provided digital specialists, build high-functioning composite teams, and achieve the cultural integration necessary to digital adaptation success.


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