How to create a flexible workforce and boost productivity

By Robert Half on 6th April 2020

The news over the last few weeks is creating at least some sense of uncertainty for many businesses and their employees. Projects are suddenly shifting, and workers are taking on extra responsibilities from sick coworkers, which can quickly overwhelm even the most ardent professionals.

One way to combat burnout and missed deadlines is to consider a flexible approach to staffing. By using a fluid mix of full-time and temporary employees, your company can nimbly adjust to all types of business cycles.

Know your needs

The first step: Make a solid distinction between immediate and longer-term requirements — as well as those you’re unsure about. For some situations, hiring full-time employees is best. For others, there may be alternative approaches.

Determine whether the circumstances will be ongoing, are temporary or if you’re uncertain. Consider upcoming projects and how workload peaks and valleys might look now and in the future. This helps you determine the blend of full-time and temporary staff you need.

Clarify requirements

Next, determine the skills and experience candidates must have and how long you’ll you need their assistance. For example, if you’re looking to hire a temporary professional to cover for an employee on leave, it’s important to have a specific time frame in mind.

You can also engage interim workers as a first step toward making a full-time hire. This approach allows you to evaluate an individual’s job performance firsthand and assess their fit with your workplace culture before extending a longer-term job offer. You can then transition them to full-time status if they show promise and the ongoing workload warrants it.

Related: Understanding IR35

Working with a recruitment agency

A specialised recruitment agency can help you assemble a flexible workforce fast by providing a selection of full-time, temporary and project-based talent to meet your needs. A firm focused on the parts of your business where you need help increases your odds of finding the best people for the job. A flexible recruitment plan can help your company thrive through times of uncertainty and stability alike. In any economic cycle, don’t overlook opportunities to continue strengthening your core staff. Designating a percentage of your workforce as contingent prepares your firm for whatever developments come next.

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