Survey Results: Are professionals taking more of a Do it Yourself (D.I.Y.) approach at work? How are Providers Responding?
With the shaky economy, one growing segment has been stores such as Home Depot that service the “Do It Yourself” crowd (DIY-ers). Instead of hiring a plumber or painter, more people are buying the pipes and paint, and dusting off their goggles.
Is this paradigm shift holding true when people don their business suit versus overalls? Are professionals at work doing it more themselves for things which they used to hire an outside company? According to a survey recently conducted by Novita – an employee onboarding and training provider (www.novitaunique.com) – the answer is a resounding yes!
When asked the question – “In your job, are you doing things now more or less for yourself versus working with external vendors? – over 73% responded ‘yes’.
What prompted this change? 81% said they were working with less budget, while 31% were worried about dwindling future budgets. A quarter said they had more time than they used to, and 32% wanted more control over the process. Downsizing is also an issue, as one responder wrote: “We lost half the people in our department. I didn’t want to, but was forced to become a DIY-er.” Another added, “D.I.Y. is fast becoming a money-saver for many businesses. In this economy, it’s a must.”
On the flip side, of the 17% who responded that they were, in fact, doing things less for themselves (said another way, they were using outside companies more), 56% said one of the reasons was the skills needed did not exist within their organization, while 33% answered that they got better results using an outside expert.
So what does this mean for providers who make their living helping others? According to Robert Bilotti, Managing Director at Novita, it means finding more collaborative and creative ways to help their clients. “If you want to stay in the picture amid shrinking budgets, your paradigm also needs to change. The days of bloated budget with little oversight are gone – if they ever existed.”
As an example, Bilotti cites how his company has changed the way they offer their onboarding services. “We still offer our full-service package to those who want us to do everything soup-to-nuts, but we’ve also rolled out what we call Springboard, which is a D.I.Y. Onboarding Bootcamp (www.novitaunique.com/files/onboarding.pdf). In it, we teach Human Resources and Training professionals how to build their own new employee program.” Bilotti explains that though some may want to do it themselves, they might not know how to go about it. So Novita starts them off and running. Bilotti says, “This is a low-cost alternative so that any size organization can have world-class onboarding – regardless of budget.”
Other providers are working with companies to build solutions that meet their needs, including if those needs change. Robert Watson, Marketing & Account Manager for Sencia Canada Ltd, says, “We’ve developed our Learning Content Management System (www.informetica.com) with a very ‘open’ architecture. In this way, the system truly becomes their own, without having to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars and employ additional IT personnel.” D.I.Y. LMS management.
Eric Bergquist, President of The Employment Vault, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company (www.theemploymentvault.com) that allows organizations to automate incoming employment verifications, hasn’t so much changed his company’s offering, but the way clients use the service has. “We’re seeing more employment verifications for temporary employees and contractors. So while using non-permanent employees is one way organizations are doing things more for themselves, there are still services necessary to do so, such as ours.”
In a more drastic response, some providers are shifting their efforts entirely to other industries; ones they feel offer more of an opportunity under the current economy and political environment – such as governments and their suppliers.
Such a move may not seem so radical when you consider that, when asked when the economy rebounds if they will go back to the way things used to be, 30% of respondents said ‘no’ they will continue using the D.I.Y. approach. And while 39% weren’t sure of the approach they will take, they revealed they will not be going back to business as usual. One respondent added, “Before using an outside vendor or contract supplier, we ask, ‘can we do it ourselves?’ The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. But we never used to ask.”
This may be a wake-up call to providers that the landscape has changed; in some ways permanently, but according to Bilotti, there is a silver lining. He says, “I think this has forced people to get back to basics, maybe shed some of the excess – which can be good. Companies may have narrowed their focus, but there will always be a call for providers who supply a needed service or expertise, and who provide good value while delivering results. The bottom line is, companies can’t do everything themselves, nor would they want to.”