Understanding bench time, benched, on bench, bench strength

What is Bench Time?

Bench time” refers to the time period when employees in a service or consulting business are not engaged on billable projects. The terminology is normally used in reference to the employees at outsourcing, consulting and IT services companies. During their bench time, the concerned employees – freshly trained talent, IT staff, services staff, consultants and project managers are not working on any revenue generating activity and are not deployed on any client specific projects.

What is Bench Strength?

Bench strength is the talent pool, who are available to be deployed on any new assignment or projects or when a key job goes vacant. Normally, companies build a bench strength in anticipation of business growth or to provide for contingent manpower for its ongoing projects, to provide for loss of talent due to attrition. To ensure continuity of business and readily available talent pool to take on new projects, available vacant jobs, businesses maintain a bench strength of talented employees, trainees, consultants, project managers and professionals who can be deployed at a short notice.

What is being “on bench” means?

The term “bench” takes up a negative meaning when experienced staff are placed on hold, in absence of any live projects related to their skill sets or domain. They are referred to as being “on bench”.

What is being “benched”?

When employees are limited by their skills, capability, or domain expertise and don’t have a match with the opportunities available, and are not ready to be deployed in new domains, new skill areas they are “benched”.

The longer you are on bench – the more closer you may be for exit.

Different businesses may have a different parameter for bench strength, their staff “on bench”, and “benched”, and “bench time”.

At times the staff on bench are placed on internal projects or process improvement assignments, while at other times they are allowed opportunities for upskilling for cross functional movements, domain changes, etc.

Considering that the staff on bench is the talent pool that is non revenue generating, any fall in fortunes of the concerned business sees the exit of those who have been on bench for more than the stipulated bench time. Every business looks for financial viability, and keeping excess employees on payroll for a longer period does not come easy.

Image Credit: Margan Zajdowicz

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