The Growing Demand for a Contingent Workforce Requires Staffing and Recruiting Adaption

Shake the sand from our shoes, the forecast is looking good.  Let’s even celebrate  successfully dragging ourselves out of the quicksand surrounding the worst recession in 75 years. After quite a few years of pawing and scratching ourselves back to the surface of staffing and recruiting stability we have cause to breath. No, even chuckle. Alright, let’s do it. Let’s just go ahead and crack a smile.

Why? Well among many growth indicators in our sector, Staffing Industry Analysts say it best: “The U.S. temporary employment penetration rate matched its all-time high of 2.03 percent in November… The rate of 2.03 matches the all-time high set in April 2000, at the height of the dot-com economic boom.”

hand in sandTemporary jobs are on the rise! Yet if there is a single lesson we’ve learned from recent post boom collapses it is to be implicitly aware of our surroundings. Knowing the market drivers of the contingent workforce boom can help us to see the world in a single grain of sand. Ultimately our awareness can help us make sound operations decisions.

I talk with savvy staffing and recruiting clients and Bond colleagues every day. And we usually agree that there are many drivers of the growing need for a contingent workforce. These are 3 of my personal favorite drivers because they truly speak to where we’ve come from, where we are and where we are destined to be. 


3 Contingent Staffing Growth Drivers

hourglassWe’ve been conditioned

The recession forced many companies into hiring contingent labor. It had to be done so that employers could flexibly increase and decrease staff in response to an economy in flux. Now the market is not only conditioned, but indeed it is transitioning to seeing the benefits of a flexible work force. And it doesn’t want to go back.

Fear & Doubt and More Fear and Doubt

While employers certainly enjoy a dedicated and loyal work force they are also keeping their organizations safe by stepping away from an – all too close – sucking sound in the earth. Many employers are deliberately planning not to make too many permanent hires.

If economic conditions change, no one wants to wave goodbye again to a former full-time workforce sent home with boxes and final checks in hand. A temporary workforce can much more easily be cut back. And the messaging associated with ending a temporary worker’s contract is much easier for remaining staff to understand and deal with. And when moral is high, performance improves!

In fact President of Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), Barry Asin, agrees. Recently he shared with Bond that “Contingent work is an excellent solution to organizations needing to deal with uncertainty in their business.  Our research over the years shows repeatedly that uncertainty and variability in work levels is the number one driver of the use of contingent workers.”

Mobile, Mobile and More Mobile

Not only is the talent we recruit mobile, but more and more are staying mobile after hire. This is because work that can be done online is on the rise. In fact Staffing Industry Analysts projects online staffing growth of 15 to (under the right market conditions) 50 Billion by 2020.

Where a staffing professional should be focusing?

2013-Contract-Placement-IndustriesAccording to Top Echelon Contracting, 2013 showed healthcare,  business professionals and support staff as well as STEM positions as the highest demand contract placement positions.

How can your staffing and recruiting firm not only adapt, but capitalize on this market shift? Ask yourself these questions:

Do I have a streamlined onboarding process?

A broader contingent workforce means more hires coming on board. Establish a workflow that conveys to new team members:

  1. clear goals
  2. clear measurement
  3. clear time to achieve goals and measure

Without a clear understanding of goals, measurement and time to achieve, staffers can be setup to fail. When they fail, you fail. Too many failures like this and your brand gets damaged. And in a word of mouth industry you can’t afford anything less than stellar brand reputation. 

Do I plan to, or currently offer, healthcare coverage?

That’s right; we’re back to the ongoing ACA conversation. When, where how and how much is this going to cost me is on all of our minds.  30 hours a week is all it takes to designate a temporary or permanent employee as full-time.  If you offer health care coverage you may want to consider structuring your operations so that you can manage temp staffers to stay below the 30 hour full-time threshold.

There are other ways to manage your costs of course. Really, the point is to be deliberate and walk through the sands of temporary health care with protective eye gear in tow!

Does my recruiting software system effectively manage a contingent workforce?

Tools at your fingertips, like templates for job orders you fill regularly, can help you be more efficient in an environment poised to continue demand for contingent workers.

You should have a system in place which helps you monitor and evaluate your temporary workforce any time during their assignments. You should be able to track temp worker:

–          Dependability
–          Attendance
–          Work quality

And ultimately you want a system that stores this information for future hiring decisions. The sooner you have recruiting software that gets you efficient, the sooner you can go play with your kids (or grandkids) in the back yard sandbox!

Do I have a clear provisioning process?

clock in sandContingent workers mean more employees exiting placements. Period. You and your client may be exposed when short term and project-based employees walk away with all kinds of intellectual capital.  Do you have non-disclosures in place? Do you have a provisioning process in place? Do you walk through your employment contracts with staffers at the end of a job to ensure they are reminded of what they can and cannot say and even publish on their social networks?

Remember, your temporary workforce is an extension of you. They walk in and out of your client’s facility with your company’s name stamped on their forehead. They should clearly represent the values you have worked hard to instill in your permanent team. And the only way to do that is to spend the time educating and sharing clearly what your expectations are.

The contingent workforce has been with us for a while out of economic necessity. Now, it is here to stay out of practicality, risk management and cost containment.

Be wise as to how you manage this workforce for as the foot prints of the past recession will ultimately blow away, the future dunes of the staffing and recruiting industry will be here for a long, long time.

Here’s to our future with a contingent workforce being a smooth, glorious walk on the beach.

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