Future-proofing your contingent workforce through the COVID-19 pandemic [Part 3]

June 25, 2020

Our intent with this blog series, as the title indicates, is to help you create a future-proof contingent workforce. Well, the future is more uncertain than ever, and it’s not just because of our evolving health concerns. The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we think about work forever.

Rewriting the rules of work in real time

How we work, where we work, and who’s doing the work will all be different moving forward, both collectively and at the individual company level.

Temporary vs. full-time employees

Is the flexibility of contract work still attractive, or do people want the safety net of being a permanent employee during uncertain economic times? For those looking to grow their careers, temporary work will give them the opportunity to gain experience without relying on the operational state of only one company.

But who do businesses need? Are employers lifting their hiring bans to return to normal as soon as possible, or are they remaining cautious throughout the rest of 2020? Using contingent labor allows you to ramp up and down quickly, which will be incredibly important as we experience cycles of normal business activity and shutdowns by geography or industry. But what’s the right workforce mix? It will look a little different for each company based on their unique needs and challenges.

The move to (and perks of) remote work

Are sprawling offices a thing of the past? Once a status symbol of company success, office spaces are less important as more businesses are embracing remote work in far different ways than before. The health crisis backed resistant employers into a corner on these policies by taking away the option to work in the office altogether.

Now that remote work is widespread vs. allowed only for certain departments or individuals, companies have come to realize that relaxing location requirements has its upside. There’s cost savings from having less space and all the expensive perks that go along with it. And, more importantly, it allows companies to access a broader pool of talent in other markets or even overseas in low-cost economies.

An unbalanced business environment

Another way our world of work has changed? Change has been and will continue to be unevenly distributed, by industry, geography, and size, or sometimes even both.

Some industries are growing as a result of the crisis, like transportation and logistics, grocery stores, and healthcare, for obvious reasons. Apart from those, other industries will operate according to the changing waves of the virus. The restaurant industry is bracing for more uncertainty ahead, as are retailers and others who rely on in-person foot traffic. Many smaller companies, no matter the industry, will have difficulty surviving.

Because we are being impacted at different times geographically, one company can be experiencing this health crisis very differently from one location to the next. And more still, some countries will be affected later when supply chains are adjusted as a result of the crisis.

Setting up your company for success

If your plan is to restore your old workforce mix, think again. Regardless of how your company is impacted, the world of work will be forever changed. The best strategy is to focus on how to make your workforce more resilient and more agile.

The strongest companies will be those that are most prepared, and that requires two things.

First, you must design a post-crisis workforce strategy that focuses on these two goals:

  • Increase your workforce agility and resilience, by both geography and labor category.
  • Increase your ability to respond to business threats and opportunities quickly and easily.

While that’s well and good, every strategy needs an action plan. To devise one, you need to understand what adjustments you need to make to turn your hopes into reality.

Do you have the right level of workforce visibility? Can your VMS technology support your needs? What features and functionality do you need to turn on to get there, and how long will it take? How about your ability to handle any new curveballs? Do you have direct access to the talent you need, or are you relying on external providers to find them for you?

Let’s get to work

There will be significant challenges for all companies – but also huge opportunities for those with an agile and resilient workforce. Will you use your VMS for visibility into all non-employee talent and to determine the most cost-effective workforce mix? Will you use private talent pools to reduce cost and time to fill?

If you’re a Beeline customer, we’re here to support you in any way possible. If you’re not, register for our next live demo to see just how we’re helping our customers come out of this health crisis stronger - and more strategic - than ever.