About a year and a half ago, as the federal government prepared for the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. the ACA or Obamacare), I wrote a post addressing some concerns about how this new law would affect employers, particularly staffing companies:
My recommendation to all consulting and temporary agencies out there is to heed the sage words of Douglas Adams: “Don’t panic.” Yes, there is the potential that you will see a substantial increase in overhead costs. But I am convinced that the long-term gains will outweigh those up-front costs.
Nine months later, right before the ACA website launched and signups began, I held the same position:
Although temp agencies may see some cost increases related to paying those benefits for their full-time employees, I’m confident that those increases will be mitigated by having a higher-caliber candidate pool as highly skilled and sought-after workers who had previously held out only for permanent positions begin considering contingent jobs as viable options.
And here we are, well over half a year into the ACA implementation. Although it had a somewhat troubled rollout at first, the ACA is by most accounts a success. So far, eight million people have used it to obtain health insurance. And so far, the sky hasn’t fallen on the staffing industry (or on the rest of the economy).
In fact, the economy is on an upswing, and it even looks as though the country has finally clawed its way out the recession. Hiring is up—and staffers have a stronger candidate pool to search, thanks in part to the ACA.
Now that they’re no longer bound by the need to find a full-time, permanent job with health-care benefits, highly skilled workers are more open than ever to accepting temporary work assignments. And now that they’re no longer bound by the need to offer health-care benefits, staffing agencies can appeal more strongly to top talent (and can enjoy higher retention rates, too, because those employees won’t necessarily jump ship at the first sign of a permanent job-with-benefits).
In your marketing efforts, your company needs to be playing up the ACA angle. When you recruit top talent, remind them of the great flexibility they have now that health insurance coverage doesn’t have to be dependent on holding particular jobs. Your company and those highly skilled workers have a lot to offer each other now that health insurance isn’t coming between you.
If your company isn’t already pursuing these ACA enrollees, now’s the time to do so! Strike while the iron is hot—and get out ahead of your competitors!