Recruiting, Talent

What Is the Hollywood Model of Work?

Even if you’ve never been anywhere near a Hollywood studio, you can imagine that it takes hundreds of people to put together a movie—all with differing talents, each with expertise in their respective field. Different actors and directors (and all of the hundreds of other roles that come together to make a movie happen) come together for a set period and then may or may not end up working together on a project again.

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This idea—the idea of utilizing experts in their respective fields for each role of a project—can be utilized outside of Hollywood. More and more businesses are employing this type of model for project work, utilizing independent contractors with the expertise to get each piece of the job done. Then, at the end of the project, everyone goes their separate ways and may or may not end up working together in the future.

This Hollywood model can also be applied within an organization—pulling teams together to focus on a single project and ensuring individuals working on the project have (or get) the required expertise to ramp up quickly. When the project ends, the employees go back to their everyday roles.

Benefits of the Hollywood Model

  • The employer can utilize the right talent quickly, spending less time training and getting up to speed.
  • There’s an ever-growing percentage of the available workforce doing freelance or contract work, which means more and more people are available in this capacity. It’s likely faster to get started with contractors than it is to try to hire new talent for a short-term role.
  • Because you’re pulling people from either different areas or as contractors, you can quickly scale up and change as needed as the project evolves. This is more flexible than the typical workplace.
  • This type of project can be quite motivating for those working on it—whether they’re contractors or regular employees—because everyone is united toward a common goal. Further motivation comes from the fact that contract work is typically deadline-driven.
  • Hiring experts for their roles may mean you get people who are more passionate about what they’re doing.
  • When utilizing internal employees, this method can help with retention because employees get exposure to new projects and new teams—thus, increasing satisfaction.
  • The employer does not have to keep contractors on beyond their contracted time period once the project ends.

Potential Downsides

  • When teams haven’t worked together before, it may take them time to form a cohesive unit. They don’t know one another well and, therefore, are less aware of how to interact well. (This is true even for individuals who are already in the same organization if they have not worked together before.)
  • When using independent contractors, you may or may not be able to get the same contractor again for future projects, depending on availability.
  • Contractors may need time to familiarize themselves with your business.
  • Employers may be wary that their proprietary information is known by individuals who are not employed by the organization. While nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements address this, there may still be fear.
  • Not having these employees on staff may mean you come up short when work is needed urgently; while contractors often can be hired more quickly, the market may change in the future.
  • This type of work also requires excellent project management—in other words, you’ll still typically need someone to be in charge of all of the different people and ensure everything flows smoothly.

What has been your experience? Have you been utilizing the “Hollywood Model” of work?