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Relying on Staffing During Uncertain Economic Conditions

I was having lunch with a client recently (socially distanced!), and we began discussing the makeup and tenure of her team and how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted their workload.  For this particular company, business was booming, and the workload was larger than ever.  She was having conversations internally about how much more work she could put on her existing team and where to draw the line on overworking her team vs. hiring an additional resource.  Very thoughtful leadership, really.

Having been in the staffing business for over a decade, I’ve seen good economies turn suddenly bad; and I’ve seen bad economies turn gradually good again.  While it’s not as common that particular industries / sectors actually grow at the expense of an otherwise bleak economy, what this manager is going through is not that dissimilar from what many companies will go through as our economic recovery eventually takes hold: growth that is hard to trust but impossible to ignore.

Recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training – these things all take time.  And what happens if the person you hired isn’t the right fit?  The offboarding process for many companies is a multi-month struggle that has implications on morale and reputation.  The manager mentioned above told me that she made the wrong hire 6 months ago, and the number of performance evaluations, performance improvement plans, and internal hoops she has to jump through in order to undo this hire will take her months!  Most companies can’t afford waste like this during a global pandemic.

And that’s where the right staffing partner really shines.  As the workload increases, rather than committing the time and resources necessary to fill a permanent role, a good staffing partner (who knows your business and culture and knows the markets they serve) will be able to find you someone ready to step in and add value immediately in a fraction of the time it takes to make a permanent hire.  And if the market remains volatile, you can rest easy knowing that scaling up and scaling down your team can be as simple as making one phone call.  No more multi-month offboarding process!  This flexibility can be the difference between surviving or not during economic crisis.

If your company is on the opposite end of the spectrum, grappling with a decision to conduct layoffs that are both necessary and painful, we can help here too.  A great staffing partner can provide outplacement services to any employees affected by layoffs, including resume reviews, mock interviews, job search tips, market intelligence, and networking opportunities.  Doesn’t change the fact that people will lose their jobs, but at least you can be resourceful and provide help during a difficult transition.

As the economy begins to recover, you’ll be faced with yet another difficult strategic question: when is the right time to hire again?  What if there is a double-dip recession?  What if you grow back too fast and misjudge your hiring needs?  Coming out of a recession, every dollar spent will be critical to the success of your company.  Insulate yourself from further risk by bringing in high-quality, vetted contract help to cover the workload.  If things turn South again, you can quickly pivot and reduce headcount.

If we can all agree that people are your most valuable resource, then the makeup of your teams, the allocation and efficiency of your work, and the flexibility of your business are absolutely critical right now.  As staffing professionals, we specialize in people.  Let us help you navigate these difficult times and come out even better on the other side!


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