While most small businesses accept the wisdom of long-range operational planning, many fail to see the benefits of a big-picture staffing approach. A flexible staffing strategy can serve your organization's needs day in and day out.
The dangers of a rigid staffing strategy
On the surface, it would seem that hiring and laying off employees is a natural reaction for companies trying to continually adjust employee headcount to match business opportunities. But the unfortunate result is a demoralizing, disruptive cycle of hiring, then layoffs, followed by more hiring.
A better approach is the use of a flexible staffing plan that entails creating a dynamic mix of full-time employees and highly skilled temporary professionals. It enables firms of all sizes to nimbly staff up or down based on workload demands.
Instead of a vacancy or sudden new project causing you to automatically re-staff the position or hire additional full-time employees, a flexible staffing strategy allows you time to think more holistically. It gives you a chance to consider how your needs may have changed since a position was last filled or whether a new project is best addressed with 100 percent full-time hires or a mix of permanent and interim talent.
Flexible staffing strategy advantages
Following are six major advantages of a flexible staffing strategy for small businesses:
You save money. Maintaining a mix of full-time and contract employees enables you to turn some of your fixed personnel costs into variable expenses by paying only for the talent you need when it's truly needed. In addition, you'll lower the high costs associated with hiring and training new staff, while reining in overtime expenses.
You improve your competitive position. A flexible staffing strategy gives you more control over personnel. That translates to an advantage over competitors whose rigid labor structure makes them more vulnerable to economic highs and lows.
You improve retention. A temporary/full-time mix provides a buffer for core employees during a layoff. When employees see they are valued through increased job security and satisfaction, and support from temporary colleagues, it can help boost retention.
You free up full-time staff. Tapping the talents of temporary workers to assist with day-to-day team responsibilities allows core staff to pursue more complex challenges and occasionally take time off to recharge as well.
You don’t have a specialist, but you need one. If an initiative requires specialized, technical knowledge that you don’t have in-house, you can find project or consulting professionals with extensive skills in these areas, many of whom have chosen this career option because of the flexibility and variety of assignments it offers.
You can 'try out' potential hires. A flexible staffing strategy allows you to observe and evaluate project professionals you've engaged and determine their potential fit with your core staff. Having the opportunity to assess a potential employee firsthand provides far more insight than reading a resume or conducting an interview.
Consider partnering with a staffing agency
You may be wondering, "I'm sold on creating a flexible staffing mix, but where do I find temporary employees? Ideally, I'd like some help in hiring permanent staff, too, because recruiting is so time-consuming."
Experts at a specialized staffing firm can help you locate top interim professionals as well as full-time workers far more quickly and successfully than you could on your own. The best firms have years of experience placing candidates who are motivated to perform and well-suited to a particular workplace culture.
Top-tier staffing firms typically have access to a large pool of candidates and can swiftly pull together a set of resumes for you to choose from, expediting the hiring process. A staffing agency can help you figure out what mix of workers you need, including full-time, part-time, or temporary staff. Savvy staffing professionals often identify candidates who aren’t actively looking for a new job, but might be interested in working for you.
Call Robert Half for help implementing a flexible staffing strategy. We can bring in professionals with the skills you need, without increasing your fixed costs.