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Brian Prentice, senior partner at Ingenuity Associates, a management consulting firm that provides strategic planning in areas like technology integration, risk and compliance, and enterprise application, says staffing firms sometimes add to the frustration. Far too often, he's seen staffing firms that don't understand the technology itself.
One of his clients seeking an information technology infrastructure library, or ITIL, process engineer turned to a staffing firm that struggled to understand what ITIL was. When they presented the "right person" for the job, it was a technician who had ITIL on his resume, not a process engineer. "It's pretty hard to fill a position when the staffing firm doesn't comprehend the client's need," Prentice says. Usually the manager ends up pushing his own people to work harder and longer hours to cover the void, with no extra pay.
Ingenuity Associates' Prentice believes mentoring programs and open lines of communication are critical to keeping quality workers connected to the organization. All employees must understand the overall business strategy and how their individual position fits into the picture. Tight, communicative relationships with management, meanwhile, allow management to act proactively when an employee is unhappy.
And Prentice practices what he preaches. One of his consultants--someone to whom he had served as a mentor--recently expressed frustration at being underutilized by his assigned client. Rather than pull him from the assignment, Prentice offered him the chance to develop an organization-assessment tool for the firm's information-security practice and technical-architecture practice as a side project. "These are things he is passionate about," Prentice says. "Now, he is excited that we've asked him to do something that gives him a leadership role in the organization."