If you’re an IT services provider, your customers expect continuity of operations, technical readiness and, critically, staffing – including steady provision of people with the skills and knowledge to do the job, and in the numbers the customer needs. The people factor in the “people, processes, and technology” equation can indeed be the most difficult to navigate. This is especially true in mission systems, where enhanced need for clearances or system access may be involved; and at enterprise scale, where projects may last years and require seamless staffing transitions. No matter how challenging this may seem, the customer is paying you to solve it.
Addressing the Entire Staffing Lifecycle Thankfully, you can find ways to optimize across the entire staffing lifecycle and make the whole system work to your advantage. Here are some steps you can take at every stage to strengthen your staffing on behalf of clients and mission success:
Recruitment and Job Requisition – Optimizing the workforce begins long before you ever make the first hires or provision contractors on a program. Technical recruiting teams should partner closely and proactively with project managers, solutions architects, and SMEs to game out how the project will likely run – from requirements and program schedule milestones, to team structures and workflows. You should then utilize hiring models to define the hard and soft skills that complement this picture and determine the scope of recruiting efforts required to ultimately fill the number of positions you have.
Onboarding and Training– Once you’ve secured the right people in the right numbers, make sure they understand their specific technical and teaming environments, the success criteria and escalation paths, and opportunities for knowledge transfer or skills training as the program matures. Above all, make sure they understand the ultimate mission of service. For instance, we’re currently staffing up for a project to modernize the U.S. Department of Veterans Administration’s Loan Guaranty Service (LGY) under a GSA IT-70 contract vehicle. But all team members know to look beyond the acronyms and realize their work is critical in helping Veterans and Servicemembers obtain, retain, and adapt homes during a time of pandemic and economic challenge in the U.S.
Ongoing Performance Improvement – Even the most well-run enterprise programs call for adaptability and continuous learning among staff to meet new or evolving requirements during the life of the program. This means training and cross-collaboration are things that endure well beyond the onboarding phase. Encourage an ongoing culture of collaboration and knowledge transfer; and empower staff members to ask for what they need. The caveat here is to avoid situations where on-the-job learning can interfere with the job itself. An incident bridge, for example, is not the place to bring junior technologists or business users up to speed on basic concepts while you’re busy trying to solve a critical service outage.
Attrition and Decommissioning – All good things come to an end, including your most successful contracts. As people leave a program, or the program itself starts to wind down, it’s important to anticipate and mitigate the security and performance impacts from any attrition or decommissioning activities. Also, conduct interviews with staff and gather documentation around their participation on the program. This is where the trust you’ve built so far with your workforce across the whole staffing lifecycle especially pays off. People are more likely to collaborate in these situations if they’ve felt valued and connected to the effort and see their work as part of a larger civic mission and a career steppingstone to greater things. They’ll also want to work with you again on that next big win!
Conclusion Customers will thank you to dig into each stage of your own staffing lifecycle – so you can keep the talent and solutions coming for continuous ROI. Running throughout is knowledge transfer. At every stage, find ways to capture lessons learned – positive or negative – and turn the KBA into an art form; packed with guidance but rendered accessible to those who need to use them. You’ll be able to capitalize on success and ultimately inform that next RFP response with effective, credible solutions.