Each week, TTA receives dozens of inquiries from clients with problems to solve. We’ve changed the names and a few of the details, but these situations are very real.
I’m looking for a vendor partner that can be ready to support various training needs for our facilities across North America. The problem is that we don’t have specific needs right now, but I expect that we will have them. And, when we do, I want to be ready. We have a small team that usually handles these needs, but they are stretched to capacity. It’s hard to predict the type of need, delivery modality, or other details. It might be classroom training, e-learning, or program management. And the work of finding and vetting specific vendors for each type of need slows things down to the point where we can’t be responsive to the business. Basically, we’re looking for an open relationship where we can use a vendor on an ad hoc basis. We might even want that partner to manage other vendors for specialized needs or to handle logistics.
What I’m finding is that many vendors specialize on a modality or technology application. They also want to spell out the terms in advance so that we’re committed to a long-term relationship. I understand that they want a commitment in order to have a bench ready to go. But that’s too expensive for us. It really is hard to predict what we will need.
Dear Can’t Commit,
So, you want a relationship that’s not really a relationship, for services that you can’t define, on a schedule that is unpredictable. That’s PERFECT! But, before we explain why, let’s breakdown why you’re likely struggling to find the right partner. First, most organizations can’t give you a bench of available resources without knowing how they will cover the costs of that bench. Secondly, the more skills that you need on that bench, the more expensive and difficult it can become to maintain it. One of the reasons for the recent proliferation of niche players in the learning and development space is because it’s more efficient and scalable for them to focus on doing one thing well.
What’s efficient for the learning vendors, however, isn’t necessarily what’s most efficient for you. To provide our clients with the bench strength and the specialized expertise, TTA has built the first, the largest, and the most respected network of contract talent in the market. Within our network of more than 23,000 learning and development professionals, we’re going to have many (likely hundreds) of associates with precisely the profiles for which you’re looking. This is what we’d recommend:
We can also be on call to respond very quickly (within 24 hours) to many types of needs. We take pride in our agility and it doesn’t come at a premium. Our network model helps to ensure that we can get the best rates available. And, in terms of vendor management, you’ll find that we already have agnostic relationships with many of the vendors in our industry. We have a rich bench of boutique firms, off-the-shelf content companies, and tech vendors available to support our just-in-time approach.
And what of the vendor logic of doing one thing really well? We agree! It’s just that our one thing happens to be the scalability of L&D talent. Based on your message, you’re not looking for training, e-learning, or an LMS. What you really need is just-in-case and just-in-time scalability. We’ve got a talent for that!
Yours (As Needed),