When the recession hit in 2008, companies began to run as lean as possible so they could keep their doors open. The doors did stay open, though, and because work still needed to get done, the demand for contract staffing began to rise starting as early as the beginning of 2010. By 2011 staffing industry sales surpassed pre-recession levels. And in 2013 temporary hiring increased by over 200% nationally, with experts across the board predicting growth to continue through the foreseeable future.
Now that the economy has recovered and is once again on solid footing, the staffing industry continues to grow because companies have embraced the flexibility offered by a contingent workforce. Sure, most organizations will always maintain permanent full-time staff for some key positions. But many companies also recognize the value of bringing on board contingent workers as needed to work alongside those permanent employees.
This combination of permanent and contingent workers—a blended workforce—offers several benefits. Keeping the numbers of permanent employees low means that layoffs (which are disruptive for both companies and workers alike) are less likely during slow times. And although the economy has definitely improved, many companies and industries are still reluctant (or even unable) to commit to increasing their permanent staff and prefer the cost flexibility afforded by hiring contingent workers instead.
The blended workforce model is already in widespread use—and its reach is increasing. In fact, I’m confident that it will become the primary strategy that successful organizations use to manage their staffing.
As the need for temporary workers increases, more and more staffing firms are competing with each other to meet that need. And whenever an industry experiences rapid growth, competition is sure to flood the market.
What does this mean for your organization? If you want to outmaneuver your competitors, you need to establish your firm as both the employer of choice and the vendor of choice in your markets. That way, you’re the first firm top talent call when they’re looking for work—and the first firm companies call when they’re looking for top talent.
How do you stay top of mind with your clients and prospects? Effective brand positioning and targeted outreach are just two components of a winning strategy. Successful firms work hard to outvalue their competition, too, particularly through the development and implementation of a clear unique value proposition.
Whether your organization has been involved with temporary staffing for some time or is just getting started, you need to develop a strategy for handling the blended workforce and promoting your ability to meet your clients’ needs in this area. Blended workforces are a core component of the workplace of the future—and the future is just around the corner.