Nextgen Group has further diversified its business through adding the SkillSwap initiative after inking a partnership with talent platform start-up BenchOn.
SkillSwap will act as an exclusive talent community for Nextgen’s partners and vendors, enabling them to share skilled employees across other companies, or seek other skilled resources for certain projects.
The platform can match companies and allows users to select a shortlist of who they would like to work with, but no information passes until both companies agree to work together.
There’s also an non-disclosure agreement and a six month non-solicitation clause from the end of each contract to avoid employee poaching.
“Companies that have underutilised talent where they might be in-between projects, or not working on something productive at that point in time, rather than sitting on a company’s books and chewing up cash flow, they can instead loan them out for a fee to another company that needs specialist support in that area,” BenchOn CEO and founder Tim Walmsley said.
“It creates a win/win situation in the market where talent can be moved with agility across different companies, but it also creates stability for those businesses because they can invest in staff, long term.”
The business talent sharing platform was founded three years ago with headquarters in Queensland, and now spans more than 600 corporate clients across various industries such as defence, mining, IT, utilities, construction and telecommunications.
“A key part of this mission is to help solve the skills shortage crisis,” Walmsley said. “A number of our clients use the platform in different ways, to help grow their business, keep their employees fully utilised, or use it as a professional development tool for their staff.”
Nextgen CTO James Cunial said it was regularly approached by partners asking if they knew people with certain skills and certifications.
“We had an informal process previously, and up until a year ago, we came across BenchOn, which were doing something innovative in this skills space,” he said. “It solved a big challenge that we knew our partner and vendor network experience. There’s definitely a demand in the market for people to transfer skills and tap into a talent pool.
Cunial said it has conducted a soft launch of the skills platform with a number of partners already expressing interest.
“We want a happy ecosystem for our partners and don’t want them to knock back projects. We also want to help partners predict and access the skills they’ll potentially need as they start to win deals,” he said. “This is all part of strengthening the ability and profitability of the businesses we work with.”
The types of skills sought can vary, spanning technical, product managers, business developers, analysts, or marketers.
“There’s a number of key areas where there are skills shortages such as cyber security,” Cunial said. “We also see this as an opportunity to up-skill employees and get them exposure into different companies and customers.”