Many sectors in the economy are experiencing skill shortages, and turning to more variable workforce solutions while pulling out the stops to hold on to talent they already have. At the same time, we are growing accustomed to companies like Airbnb where people can rent out their living spaces to travelers on a short-term basis. Put these two ideas together and you have SkillsCloud.

This U.S.-based company got started in the Russian Federation as a unique IT staffing company. It has developed a platform staffing model that enables organizations with surplus staff/underutilized talent to “rent out” the labor services of those workers to other companies or “outstaff ” them to temporary staffing firms that can do the same.

While many may consider this concept a “nonstarter,” one should not underestimate the truth in the old adage that “desperate times require desperate measures.” Many businesses are coming up short in the talent wars, while others are trying to engage and retain key parts of their workforces that are not always fully utilized or fulfilled.

The founders of SkillsCloud have demonstrated that this model can work, engaging more than 80 organizations (some very large global companies) and 3,000 workers with a variety of skills over the past three years. Workers sharing projects were launched both independently and in partnership with RUSSOFT (Russian Software Developers Association).

It all began with SkillsCloud co-founder Ruslan Gaynanov, who left Deloitte to start his own firm.

“It became clear over the course of my career in delivering large scale professional services to many different businesses that there was an imbalance across these organizations,” Gaynanov says. “Some had talent that was not always fully utilized, while others needed that talent for limited applications and assignments. We decided to build out this model, with a two-sided talent exchange platform integrated with other necessary administrative and support processes. It worked.”

Late last year, SkillsCloud Inc. was founded in the U.S. with a start-up office in Palo Alto, Calif., and the team has largely been ramping up business development efforts. So far, various IT companies have shown interest in the concept. The interest is also arising in other sectors — even in manufacturing, where the motivation is not only filling skill gaps and getting productive contingent workers engaged quickly, but also as a way of promoting better safety by utilizing fully trained industrial workers versus temporaries who may not be familiar with the real dangers in the workplace.

The Buzz

The “share economy” has already become more than a buzzword in a number of sectors of the economy (taxis, hotels, etc.). Now there is some evidence that it could be coming to another industry near you.