Written By: Tom Dushaj
Times are hard for many companies. Everywhere you look, there are postings for talent wanted in all types of technology positions ranging from Web Developers, Project Managers, Business Analysts, as well as Engineers.
As you know, your company relies on having the right resources in place to perform the tasks needed to operate efficiently. But without employees there to provide goods or services for your customers, production grinds to a halt, and with it, so does company income and any hope of profitability.
Unfortunately, you have no real control over the job market and candidates looking for work, and when they may or may not come knocking on your door for a job opportunity.
However, you can be prepared for it.
A flexible staffing strategy enables you to overcome these types of obstacles, which are becoming all too commonplace in the current competitive business climate.
With a well-implemented flexible staffing strategy, you will be able to set your company up for success in multiple ways, making it a critical strategy for any organization that needs to have temporary workers.
What Is a Flexible Staffing Strategy?
Before we can discuss the numerous advantages that a flexible staffing strategy may offer you, we need to get on the same page about what flexible staffing is.
Flexible staffing entails many different approaches to hiring non-permanent employees to fill specific roles that your company needs.
For example, employees that you hire from a temporary agency would qualify as flexible or contingent staffing. You needn’t keep them as permanent team members and they’re not on your company’s payroll as employees.
Staff that are hired as 1099 contractors, freelancers hired for individual jobs, and anyone else that isn’t on your company’s official payroll all fit under the flexible staffing umbrella.
Why Use a Flexible Staffing Strategy?
Many businesses have done just fine hiring employees the old-fashioned way, and there is nothing wrong with this approach, so long as it’s working. But today, finding employees is proving to be more difficult than ever, and finding the right people with the right skill set is even harder.
A flexible staffing strategy allows you to circumvent these problems by hiring people on an as-needed basis, or with a contingency that allows you to dismiss them much faster, much more conveniently, and much less disruptively than you would be able to fire a poorly performing full-time employee.
There are many times that flexible staffing can be a lifesaver.
A great example is when you just need a temporary fill-in. Maybe one of your key employees is out on maternity leave and another employee is recovering from a major surgery. You don’t want to replace them, but your business can’t go without that position being filled.
So, you hire a temporary replacement for the duration of the project that is needed to complete the work. Your business won’t suffer from the absence of your employee, and your employee will rest easy knowing their job is waiting for them when they return.
What about all of these recent surges and recessions in business? Many companies are feeling it. Should you just keep hiring and firing teams of employees to meet the demand as it rises and falls?
A much better option would be to hire temporary staff (Consultants) as 1099 contractors that you can easily let go when the demand dies down. Best of all, they may still be around for you to hire on another occasion in the future if/when the demand rises again. Many of the temporary workers such as semi-retired people actually prefer not to work for very long stretches of time and prefer short assignments.
Benefits of a Flexible Staffing Strategy
We’ve discussed a few of the times that a flexible staffing strategy can have some major advantages over simply hiring full-time direct employees, but the benefits of flexible staffing go beyond just saving your company’s backside in a pinch.
Have you ever thought you found the perfect employee with all the right credentials and a killer attitude, just to see them fail miserably and turn out to be the exact opposite of what you hoped?
This is one of the major problems with hiring employees. You’re essentially going on first impressions and the word of other people. With a flexible staffing strategy, however, you can instead hire that potential employee on a trial basis. After a short period of time (usually 6 to 12 months), you can convert them to a full-time permanent employment once they’ve proven to be the exemplary employee you had hoped for, or terminate the contract when the project work has ended or the temporary employee is no longer needed.
Another consideration is the major savings that a company stands to see from hiring flexible help as temporary employees instead of direct employees. Regulations have made it very costly to keep employees on payrolls under reduced workloads, but you can get around a lot of that wasted money by hiring flexible staffing that can work when you need them.
You might also find that some of the best and brightest potential assets for your company might not be available or willing to work as full-time employees. Some of the best workers you could hire might only be available if you’re willing to have them work as a consultant who wants the flexibility to work on specific types of project engagements that fall within their skill set. A big reason for this is the flexibility to pick and choose projects that are meaningful to them that fit their lifestyle needs.
A flexible staffing plan can be thought of as akin to insurance. It makes it much easier for you to fill the gaps in your staffing schedule without going through the costs and hassles of hiring new employees. If you have a good flexible staffing plan in place, then you’ve got at least some level of protection if you’re experiencing staff shortages, as is becoming more common every day.
As technology and culture continue to evolve, companies must also learn to change with the times. Just as the Sears Roebuck catalog went out of the fashion and the giant brick-and-mortar retailers behind them, companies that don’t change with the times will get left behind.
Flexible staffing is the answer for modern employers. The benefits your company could see from implementing a flexible staffing plan are many, including better workers, faster assignment of appropriate workers to tasks, monetary savings, and fewer problems with absentee workers or talent shortages in general. You can even use flexible staffing to help hire the best workers who might not fit into a standard work schedule or hire workers on a trial basis to make sure they’re a great fit for your company.
Times are changing, and flexible staffing ensures that your business has the ability to change with them.