–What was your main inspiration for forming the Edge+ network? e.g. are there similar networks in other countries such as the US/UK?
After a few months of trying to do this in a traditional model there was a ton of frustration not only with us but primarily with the people we were dealing with. This holds true for both the people looking for skilled delivery resources and professional looking to find there next assignment. It was kind of a group shout-out that pushed us down this path. Consequently I went out and interviewed a body of people face to face to understand their frustrations and what it would take to make this whole process of resourcing and contracting a more positive experience. It’s the first time I have conducted a research campaign like this that had overwhelmingly unanimous results. Fundamentally something had to change which is what we have set out to do. As far as we know we are the first although I have read some articles about a company in the US experimenting with a similar model. They have a very similar contract work force in the same areas as we have primarily in the project management and project management support like business analyst, PMO, change managers, project coordinator etc.
-What is the primary focus or emphasis for the Edge+ business model?
To develop a highly professional network of likeminded people with complementary skills and attitudes and to try and match those people up in the best environments we can through the referral process with positive outcomes for both.
– What would you say is the single most important benefit of joining Edge+?
Assurance that you are working with people known in the industry and a level of trust that makes the resourcing or moving within the industry a more productive and satisfying event and hopefully removing much of the stress that in involved in that process.
– What is the main point of differentiation between Edge+ and traditional recruitment agencies?
We do not recruit or sell but perform this through referrals only. Our focus is clearly on the members of the network. This does not mean that we are not concerned with the client but in the vast majority of the time the same people looking to move become the same people needing to put a team together. That’s why we think it’s so important to find people that are somehow previously known to each other or of someone that they have worked with to create a positive team environment. Ultimately this is better for all of the parties involved.
– Were there any obstacles when you were forming the Edge+ network? If so, how did you overcome these?
Sure finding the right people to join was the biggest challenge. However using some of the social networking tools, a large circle of personnel contacts and the word of mouth referral process helped us get through that pretty quickly. We are able to add 20 to 50 new members per month. If you are familiar with the theory of six degrees of separation this is proof that the theory is alive and well and working.
I would not say it has gone viral because we have a process in place to make sure the right people are joining but let’s just say it is organically growing very nicely.
– Why is it so important for Edge+ to offer its members the rewards/benefits you provide?
These kinds of roles and the people in them are extremely high pressure and time consuming. Typical contract project managers put in long hours and are under tremendous stress to deliver to fixed time lines and on budget. Usually very large multimillion dollar budgets. So we feel that anything and everything we can do to relieve some of the stress both emotional, financially or time saving can be invaluable. We have just started this program and are in the process of adding and growing the benefits on and ongoing basis and l listening to our members to add more things, and services that are meaningful to them. This program is part of the ongoing commitment we have to our membership.
-How does it work to get the parties together?
If you are a Project manager or related professional, when it is time for you to find or join a new team we take a brief of you background or more importantly what you are personally looking to do and circulate it amongst our members. On the other side if you are in need of a new project contributor we send out a requirements brief with the kind of person you are looking for and likewise circulate it amongst our members.
In both case it is arrived at by and through a referral from the network. It has worked very well so far and it is very effective, in most case 24 to 48 hours to turn something around.
-What is the primary criterion to become a member of the Edge+ network
First you need to be an experienced professional with 8 years plus experience in your respective field of expertise, second you need to know or be referred from someone in the network. In some case such as being a project coordinator we can look at some one less experienced and looking to advance which we also share with the network.
This is a self-perpetuating collective process that grows organically, by the members, for the members.
-How is it going?
Pretty good given that we are going into the Christmas season. There is quite a bit of interest and lots of people joining the network. I am not sure what the driver is but there seems to be a lot of activity in our space and at the same time a lot of interest in this new and fresh approach. I also think that people want to get on board in time for next calendar year in the January time frame which based on what we have seen is going to explode. There is no shortage of projects and large projects in the works based on the feedback we are getting from the members.
We have been developing quite a bit of content talking about this new approach along with news and comments on what going on in our space. We hope to get as much of that posted as we can and try to get more of it out into the public domain to share with our members and those people wanting to join. Of course we are always looking for rich content and interesting stories about what is happening and openly extend an open invitation to any one that wants to contribute.