Does your staffing plan account for surges? Discover how flexible, fractional resources can help.
Every business owner knows the struggle of maintaining a balanced staffing plan. It’s a fulcrum. Having too many people and not enough business will lead to overstaffing, however, having too few people will make it challenging to meet demand when unanticipated growth happens. Keeping balanced staffing levels, especially when working with a full-time staff, can be a challenge.
Businesses in the location-based retail, shipping, and hospitality industries are no strangers to fluctuating staffing levels. They often must bring on temporary additional support during seasonal spikes, but anticipating these spikes enables them to build their needs into their staffing plan. They have the added challenge of hiring workers who will work onsite.
But what about businesses with fluctuating needs that are not location-dependent?
Short answer: every industry can benefit from temporarily adding virtual staff based on their changing staffing needs. Although some surges can happen unexpectedly, throughout the years ResultsResourcing has assisted businesses in finding flexible freelance resources when needed for spikes in service needs. So, how do you know what to plan for and how do you find the resources you need without sacrificing quality?
There are reoccurring seasonal roles that businesses can prepare for ahead of time. So, you should first consider what surge points exist for your business and what skills are needed to fill them.
“For example, in the first quarter many small businesses prepare for the tax season. We tend to see an increase in the need for freelance bookkeepers and tax professionals within the first few months of the new year. Anticipating that you’ll need a tax resource will allow you to get ahead on hiring and build associated costs into your plan.” said Elizabeth Eiss, Founder and CEO of the talent curation and freelance recruiting platform ResultsResourcing.
Other common surge points include customer support representatives, virtual assistants, and other similar roles during Q2 and Q3 due to an increase in traveling and events during the summer months. In Q4, medical benefit open enrollment typically creates a need for additional customer support from November through January.
“Finding the temporary support you need in the form of full-time staff costs more, requires more upfront time to vet, and can be stressful. Many businesses prefer to hire freelance customer service representatives and support contractors because they’re fractional and can jump right in with minimal training or oversight on routine tasks,” said Eiss.
Collaborations with quality contractors can deliver a high level of skill, dedication, and commitment that businesses historically associated only with traditional employees. Since many contract professionals are often owners of their own businesses, the commitment to serve may be even stronger than a staff employment arrangement,” Eiss continued.
Planning your staffing around your busiest seasons (especially when working with full-time resources) can lead to high payroll costs given you’ll need to pay them full-time hours even when business slows down. Augmenting your staff with outsourced, fractional freelance talent can enable your business to add skilled expertise on demand.
“The gig economy is a key agile talent solution to businesses thriving throughout the normal shifts that occur in business, because hiring skilled freelance talent enables businesses to get the surge resources they need in a timely way with optimal capital commitment,” said Eiss. “They can adjust their workforce, operations, or overhead as needed.”
Hiring freelance professionals can be outsourced to a contract recruiting provider, especially if the business has limited HR staff or hiring expertise. It can save time, money and lower the risk of a poor hire.
A staffing partner can be a valuable part of an agile talent strategy to ensure all relevant talent options are explored, evaluated, and accessed. Traditional staffing firms that focus only on traditional recruiting solutions, may not provide the full range of hiring options available in today’s workplace. Expertise in leveraging online platform models is a new area of expertise and access.
“Increasingly the talent market is online where numerous technology platforms match job needs to flexible workers. But all platforms are not the same and each may require significant time and effort to use. Working with a forward-thinking staffing firm, businesses benefit from thought leadership and advancements in hiring options, practices, and technology for fast access to various forms of talent, both full-time and contract.”
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