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Iryna Viter

What We Like About The Ready's Staffing Model

Discover the staffing model that sets The Ready apart, a unique experimental approach you'll hardly find in other consultancies.

In our ongoing efforts to explore different resourcing strategies, we had the privilege of collaborating with The Ready on a recent LEAP webinar

This partnership, featuring insights from Sarah Koegler and Tabea Soriano, offered us a front-row seat to The Ready's approach to staffing. 

Through a series of thoughtfully designed experiments, we were introduced to a staffing model unlike any we’ve seen in the consultancy space. This model, with its unique practices, agreements, and procedures, has sparked a lot of interest (60% open rate on the email with the webinar recording!), so I've decided to write an article about it. 

First things first, what is The Ready? 

The Ready is a small but growing future of work consultancy. It's recognized for its commitment to changing how the world works - from business as usual to brave new work.

You might have heard about The Ready through their Founder Aaron Dignan who plays a pivotal role in the company's influence and direction. He is well-known for his book "Brave New Work," in which he challenges the conventional norms of organizational management and work culture.

📖 You can read our summary of Brave New Work here. 

The book critiques traditional management and advocates for flexible, transparent, and inclusive approaches. These concepts are central to The Ready's consultancy work and have spurred broader discussions on the future of work, including a podcast.

The Ready's Method

The Ready's method involves identifying and eliminating bureaucratic barriers to enhance efficiency and innovation. 

They promote autonomy, agility, and a purpose-driven culture, aiming to optimize team and individual performance. This includes rethinking organizational structures and processes to better respond to changes.

They strive to transform organizations into not only more efficient and competitive entities but also places where people can thrive and find meaningful work.

What sets The Ready apart from other consultancies is that it's big on cutting through red tape that slows everything down and stops new ideas.

The principles for staffing projects at The Ready 

What is so special about The Ready's method? It's not that The Ready only advises on the future of work. They've integrated what they preach into their staffing principles.  

At the heart of everything that The Ready does, there are two core transformation staffing principles - being people positive and complexity conscious. Sarah and Tabea shared what this means with us: 


What it means for staffing: The Ready enables autonomy, mastery, and purpose for their members in the way that they staff. Individual Transformers and Project Stewards can navigate the marketplace such that they find opportunities to build new skills, work in areas where they can thrive, and build effective teams.

Principles that bring this to life:

  • Quality Information (quality = clear, accurate, generally understandable, relevant to what people need to know to be successful) — transparent, system-wide access
  • Quality information about member skills, as a whole system
  • Quality information about project requirements, decision criteria, and timing
  • Equitable Consideration — members have an equitable shot at finding work, based on their skills and availability
  • Ownership & Entrepreneurship: Enabling (as a system) transformers to own their role, responsibilities, and decision rights and make the effort they need to participate in staffing conversations (i.e.pulling for further info on project requirements, understanding their own skills in our system, etc.)

Complexity conscious

What it means for staffing: Enabling individuals and The Ready's system to sense and respond to the environment as it changes and make small moves to thrive.

Principles that bring this to life:

  • Optimizing for the whole, even over optimizing locally: Prioritizing broader organizational goals and system health by ensuring staffing decisions contribute to the overall effectiveness and adaptability of the organization.
  • Continuous learning: Harnessing regular feedback from both project stewards and peers, to facilitate continuous learning and improvement of the talent marketplace.
  • Landscape visibility: Making project team staffing, member availability, and specific scenarios explicit within the right containers so transformers can energize their roles and decision rights.
  • Built in resilience: Acknowledging that staffing is not a plan and predicting endeavor and making a point to build systems that can sustain staffing change and adapt to project or growth landscapes.

The staffing model in practice

In essence, The Ready is revolutionizing staffing through a series of experiments aimed at transitioning from traditional manual resource allocation to a dynamic, skills-focused approach. 

Their innovative strategy involves a shift towards a more nuanced understanding of individual skills and project needs, facilitated by a marketplace model that promotes autonomy and agency among consultants. 

This model allows for more strategic project staffing, leveraging a skills matrix and forward-looking resource management tools to better match consultants' skills with project requirements.

Their model stands out for several reasons, which collectively contribute to its effectiveness and appeal. Let's take a proper look at it. 

Emphasis on skills and development

Through the creation of a skills matrix, The Ready ensures that staffing decisions are made based on precise skill matches rather than hierarchical or tenure-based allocations. 

This focus on skills not only optimizes project outcomes but also encourages continuous professional development among staff.

Previously, there was a lack of a systematic approach in announcing roles and matching skills with project requirements. It was a simple dichotomy between project leads and consultants. To address this issue, we introduced a skills leveling initiative using a maturity matrix, enabling a more nuanced skills profile beyond the basic roles. Additionally, we refined our workflow by posting roles and job requirements in our internal Slack channel, as determined by project leads or the sales team. This approach preserved the autonomy and agency that are core to our values. - Tabea Soriano, Head of Transformation

Why we like it: A good skills management process is great news for project outcomes because someone with the right skills for a task will do the work well. And they’ll do it in a timely manner because there’s no learning curve to account for. It keeps projects on track and at a high standard.

But it’s also good news for staff satisfaction. By giving people work that uses their skills, you show that you recognize their strengths and value their expertise. And you give that person the chance to shine, making a meaningful contribution with their unique knowledge.

Marketplace model for staffing

The adoption of a marketplace model introduces flexibility and choice into the staffing process. Consultants have the autonomy to apply for projects that align with their skills and interests, fostering a more engaged and motivated workforce.

To provide a bit more context, our workforce primarily consists of generalist consultants. Instead of assigning projects in a sequential, first-come-first-serve basis, we employ a marketplace model. This model empowers individuals to select projects they prefer, effectively decentralizing the staffing process. - Tabea Soriano, Head of Transformation

Why we like it: The marketplace model facilitates a better match between project requirements and consultant capabilities. This can lead to more successful project outcomes and a more efficient use of the workforce's collective skills.

It also transforms the traditional, top-down approach to resource allocation into a more democratic, flexible, and engaging process. It aligns with modern work values that prioritize individual choice, skill development, and job satisfaction. 

When consultants have the opportunity to select projects they are genuinely interested in, their engagement levels are likely to increase. Engaged consultants are more motivated, which can lead to higher productivity and better-quality work. 

On top of that, consultants are motivated to develop their skills in areas they are passionate about, knowing that it will increase their chances of working on preferred projects. This leads to a culture of continuous learning and self-improvement.

Predictive tools for matching people with projects

The utilization of predictive tools to forecast project needs and consultant availability is a game-changer. It allows for proactive staffing decisions, reducing the time spent on matching while increasing the accuracy of placements.

What we like: To allocate people to projects and plan scenarios, The Ready is using Runn, and we couldn't be happier! Everyone at The Ready can log in to the platform so they can see the data. 

We've shifted to a more proactive and holistic approach to project planning, looking at the future requirements and the strategic alignment of our resources. Rather than responding reactively to sales, we now evaluate potential projects and the necessary skills for their successful execution. This change has prompted a variety of experiments aimed at refining resource allocation. By adopting a nuanced understanding of skill sets and anticipating future needs, we've improved our client service delivery. This method not only enhances client engagement and outcomes but also offers our team clear insights into staffing decisions and participation opportunities. - Tabea Soriano, Head of Transformation

Commitment to experimentation and continuous improvement 

Establishing feedback loops is crucial for any adaptive model. The Ready's commitment to collecting and acting on feedback ensures that the staffing model remains effective and responsive to the needs of both clients and consultants.

So what we mean there is that we want all individuals in our system to be able to sense and respond to the environment as it changes and make some small moves to thrive. So in the theme of experimentation, nothing we do around staffing is forever. How do we ensure that? Anything that we're doing, has the flexibility and agility built in to respond to what's happening in the system? And our individual members also have what they need to be able to flex it and change based on what's going on for them. - Sarah Koegler, Transformer

What we like: The Ready is quite open to change by embracing flexibility. It means that they choose to be dynamic. They demonstrate a willingness to test, learn, and iterate. This openness to experimentation signifies a dynamic organization that is constantly seeking to improve its practices and outcomes.

In essence, The Ready's staffing model is a reflection of a modern, agile, and human-centered approach to resource management. It acknowledges the complexities of modern projects and the diverse capabilities of today's workforce, offering a sophisticated framework that benefits both the organization and its employees. 

Through its innovative practices, The Ready not only enhances project outcomes but also contributes to a more fulfilling and productive work environment.

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