Contingent Workers are Crucial to Business Continuity | DCR Workforce Blog

Contingent Workers are Crucial to Business Continuity

businessHave you heard the news that Bay Area schools will be missing a key part of the educational process when students start arriving this week: teachers! Imagine a school, classrooms filled with students, unable to find as many as 77 suitable teachers for subjects which it has on offer to its teeming intake of students! Imagination boggles at the operational issues such a shortfall in headcount could cause! Irrespective of industry, businesses and agencies which depend upon human beings to meet their operational needs suffer serious repercussions when they are unable to find the required talent.

Headcount shortages are not only due to an inability to recruit, but also due to turnover and attrition. Although the recession technically ended some time ago, companies have been slow to open new positions. As more companies increase hiring, workers who suffered through wage reductions, forced furlough days, reduced benefits and increased workloads now have the option of finding positions that offer the chance to “restore them to prior levels of seniority and compensation”.

As the economy improves, so does the level of merger or acquisition activity. During an acquisition, companies are at high risk of losing critical employees. They may fear termination if their duties overlap with workers in the other company, or if the company plans to increase productivity by closing facilities. They may be unwilling to relocate, or have concerns about the new organizational structure or leadership team. Despite efforts such as “stay bonuses”, most companies experience a significant degree of unplanned attrition.

Unfilled jobs threaten the very survival of a business. A business needs to ensure that its operations remain uninterrupted and sustainable over the long term. When talent shortages put an unexpected stop to the workflows, it would destabilize operations and affect productivity. Dealing with attrition may involve different talent management strategies and plans.

  • The worker(s) may not be replaced by another worker. A technology solution may be used to replace the worker’s contribution.
  • Encourage workers to postpone retirement, or return to work on a part-time basis.
  • Use the departing workers as a guide/mentor to pass on their expertise and skills to the new comers, training them effectively to ensure high levels of productivity.
  • Operations may be consolidated, re-structured and operated in a more streamlined fashion to achieve success, in spite of the reductions in head count.

While these changes may help a business to manage its need for talent, the business community is slowly coming to recognize \ that contingent workers are the most reliable answer to the talent requirements of businesses unable to fill open positions.

Contingent workers are a great option to ensure business continuity, because of many reasons:

  • American workers are choosing the flexibility offered by contingent work and switching to it as an attractive lifestyle option.
  • Using contingent staffing resources provides a business with resilience and control over talent acquisition and deployment – and by default, improves its productivity and profitability.
  • Uncertain economic conditions are encouraging the trend towards increasing the share of temporary, contingent and independent workers in the overall workforce.
  • In some fields, such as IT, the use of remote contingent workers enables companies to tap into skilled workers in other countries without having to establish a brick and mortar facility in the country or having to rely on the H1-B visa lottery.
  • Contingent workers require minimal training before being productive. While all new workers require orientation (company practices, facilities, etc.), contingent workers are typically expected to possess the skills and experience required for the position.

When building execution strategies for mergers, acquisitions, relocation of operations or other critical enterprise initiatives, every organization should evaluate areas of potential understaffing and determine the feasibility of supplementing the employee base with contingent workers. These plans should include an estimate of needed workers by skill and location, and a list of pre-qualified staffing agencies able to provide the needed resources. Remember that staffing agencies are only paid when a worker is placed, so there is no upfront investment required yet the peace of mind they deliver in protecting the continuity of your business is huge!

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.