Finding and retaining talented developers is difficult. Companies are finding a solution in elastic teams.

With the US Labour Department estimating that the global shortage of software engineers could top 85 million by the end of the decade, it’s little wonder that companies are turning to alternative approaches to get their projects completed. After all, businesses in every sector now find themselves needing to build software applications and they can’t compete with the big technology companies to land the most talented developers.

An emerging solution is what we call the Elastic Team. For large companies especially, they represent an ideal solution for bringing in the most talented developers to help them hit their targets. Not only that, but Elastic Teams give enterprises more flexibility in how they handle IT tasks.

Top talents want top projects

At its most basic, an Elastic Team is a pool of freelance developers. However, working with an Elastic Team is better than employing freelancers because you don’t need to manage the employment; the service provider does that for you. And because an Elastic Team is a private talent pool and not a public one, you can be sure that each member has been fully vetted and their skills tested to ensure they are qualified for the tasks for which they are put forward.

In fact, Distributed’s Elastic Team covers 85% of coding languages and is made up of experienced developers who test in the top 10% of candidates. These are some of the most talented people in the business, and an elastic team makes them available, on-demand, to the enterprises that need them most.

Of course, these developers are good enough to be working pretty much anywhere, so there are good reasons why they have joined an Elastic Team. The main one is the quality of the work available. Top talents want to work on challenging projects, for the best clients, so they can develop and test their skills. That’s part of why retaining them on staff is so difficult: it’s hard for one company to provide the constant challenges these people need. We’ll discuss that situation further in a forthcoming piece on Finding the Best Global Talent.

For now, let’s just emphasise that we are talking about truly global talent. There is a growing trend for workers to go freelance, which allows them to work from anywhere. They might be in the countryside somewhere, outside commuting distance from the big cities, or they might be on a sunny island somewhere. All they need is a laptop and an internet connection.

Building the future of work

That’s a major benefit of freelance life, along with the ability to take on the most interesting projects. But freelance life comes with hassles of its own. Instead of devoting their time to the work they do best, freelance work means spending time chasing new jobs, handling accounts and billing, and then chasing payment. Over half of freelancers say they have done work they haven’t been paid for, and two-fifths say they are rarely paid on time.

Being a member of an Elastic Team removes those burdens entirely. The company managing the team handles all the admin, and members of Distributed’s Elastic Team get regular payment schedules, health coverage, a pension and more. For developers, an Elastic Team combines the best of freelance life with the benefits of being on staff. Plus, they become a member of a supportive community that can help with career development.

The opportunity to access this kind of talent is part of what makes Elastic Teams attractive to businesses but that isn’t the only reason they want to work with them. In an age when companies are moving to the cloud to create a flexible IT estate that can scale-up and scale-down quickly in response to demand, an Elastic Team brings the same benefits to staffing.

Businesses can opt for a monitored outcome, where the Elastic Team supplements an existing team and the whole effort is managed by the business. Or they might prefer a managed outcome, which means Distributed assembles a team to deliver an agreed project, manages the entire process and delivers the target outcome before the deadline. Finally, the business might want a standing team from which they draw the required staff based on planned projects.

An Elastic Team helps to future-proof the workforce, which is a topic we will look at in more detail in our next article. The developers in the team are working in their preferred way – and in a way that fits the way the world of work is changing. And businesses are able to get the talent they need without fixed overheads and without the concerns that go with hiring and retaining staff. It’s the future of work, available now.

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