Being on the bench, unbillable these are some of the scariest terms to consulting houses in Southampton Africa today.

The term “on the bench” is widely used by consulting houses in South Africa meaning a full-time consultant who is not working on a project, usually sitting at a client or not working on any project.

Being on the bench is an uncomfortable space for business and the consultants to be in since they are usually just being paid to sit around and use the companies resources on time that the company plans to bill a client with them. You see “Contusing houses” are usually in the business of selling people, talent, capacity, resources whatever they choose for to title you as, and if they cannot bill for the hours you are playing in the field then you are “sitting on the bench”

This is the typical business model that most consulting firms are running on and will work great in the age of the gig economy. But full time hired talent doesn’t need to be wasted and just sit on a bench and wait for the next client. This not only makes people less useful and appreciated but not invested or alienated from the company. That is why you find consultants want to work for good clients that treat their people well since they will be spending most of their time sitting on client-side with just digital communication coming in one way from the consulting firm they work in.

But this doesn’t have to be the case, in my eyes, this is a great opportunity for career development and playing around with ideas and all the talent that you have on hand, after all, you hire the best people to solve real problems I. The real world. The consultants you hire are also real people with real ambitions and ideas that may change the world. Fostering on these opportunities as a consulting firm is something that is starting to happen but the communication and recognition of great ideas within the talent consultants have is not being tapped into enough and most companies do not leverage on the talent that’s in the bench.

The traditional consulting business model of selling talent does not focus on using this talent elsewhere but selling it. We tend to forget that there are a lot of internal problems we have in our own processes that can be accelerated and solved better but tapping into on the bench talent.

The business is going to invest the money paid to the consultants as salary anyway so what do consulting firms tap into that investment, I think it will be worth more and may benefit the company in the long run even after that human being has left.

Traditional methods and company structures like how consulting houses make their money has not changed over the past 20years in the South African market and not sure elsewhere in the world. It’s 2020 and things are changing, big organizations that move slower are being taken over by startups that can move fast enough because they care, the reason what they care is they have limited resources and are working on a runway, they have a real deadline to reach or get out of business.

Whole industries have been disrupted by the internet and the growing connectivity and accessibility to mobile devices and mainly smartphones in the context of South Africa and Africa. There are big educational ideas, financial inclusion, Cashless society problems that can be solved by people who care enough and are close to these situations.

There is so much more that can be done with the talent that is underutilized and not recognized. I think it’s crazy how companies invest all this money in getting the best people to solve problems clients have yet they have the same problems. Businesses need to start looking at in-house consulting as a way of investing in the business rather than a waste of resources while they let talent sit on the bench.

The concept is simple, you can create a company culture that encourages idea sharing, low investment prototypes, and testing to validate ideas before they can get further investment. Employees that come up with ideas get the recognition and the right compensation on those ideas they trying to the table. Another option is to tap into this talent by using their expertise to accelerate solving internal problems on processes, system integrations and improving the employee experience for people that take care of everyone else and keeps things going.

Now, I am not an expert on this topic in any way but I speak from experiences I have seen and what I think could be a solution to change the way consulting houses look at talent working in the bench and changing the perspective of these human beings and what they are capable of bringing to the table and get recognized. Like I said these are real people with real-life opportunities that they are willing to invest in and make it work there are a lot of ideas consulting houses can benefit from internally or commercially from talent sitting on the bench.