Staffing agencies offer partnership, not just bodies

COVID-related layoffs grabbed the headlines throughout the past year. But not all employers had to make the gut-wrenching decision to furlough or fire employees as business stagnated. Some were scrambling for help.

What many employers learned during the pandemic’s arc was to expect the unexpected. Those who took away a second lesson — prepare for the unexpected — are coming out of the viral mess in better shape than their competitors. These employers are taking a close look at where they can deploy temporary personnel, and at their relationships with the agencies that supply temporary staff.

Studies by various research firms, including the giant McKinsey & Co. (Taking a fresh look at temporary-labor sourcing amid uncertainty), demonstrated that temp demand rose and fell measurably between December 2019 and December 2020. And, as virus protocols are lifted, some industries (hospitality, manufacturing, construction) should be poised for a rapid increase in demand.

Another intriguing point to emerge from the McKinsey study: Temps work quite productively remotely, pretty much just as well as full-time personnel. In fact, many have more experience with remote working and need little to no ramp-up time.

2020 was a year of the scramble, with employers adding and shedding workers quickly as conditions shifted. Now, as the economy rebounds, there will be a new round of staffing up. What did the savvy employers learn from the 2020 scramble? That perhaps it would be best to cement stronger relationships with staffing suppliers now. Then, when the next need arises, there’s no waiting at the end of the queue for quality personnel.

If COVID taught us anything, it was that flexibility can mean survival. The ability to quickly ramp up and slim down without losing the skills required for the job offers an employer an incredible edge these days.

Think of it too as “just-in-time delivery” of the skilled personnel who can keep you going full throttle as demand increases for your product or service. You need to contract with a staffing service so that you can staff up quickly with confidence. Temps may view an assignment as a gig. But you and your staffing service should view your relationship as a partnership.

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