Are Staffing Agencies Underusing Redeployment? (Yes.)

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Apr 8, 2020
This article is part of a series called COVID-19 Coverage.

Remember the days when everyone was talking about talent shortages? Just last year, 54% of companies globally revealed they experienced a talent shortage. And now government-mandated shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 outbreak have forced many companies to lay off and furlough employees, as well as halt their hiring processes for an unpredictable amount of time. 

But the talent shortage persists for some businesses.

Companies that remain open are still suffering from labor shortages in an already-challenged market. There’s little time to shift gears when demands are high, so they need the best-fitting talent for their companies now more than ever. 

During these unpredictable times, competition in the staffing world will remain tight — and even increase. According to the American Staffing Association, there are 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies operating about 39,000 offices. Meanwhile, it’s critical that clients feel reassured that staffing firms can help them remain productive, relevant, and secure coming out of this crisis. 

Redeployment, the process of reassigning contractors to new assignments after current assignments end, gives staffing pros the power to rise above these challenges effectively. Unfortunately, in many staffing agencies, redeployment is underutilized. Here’s how to make it an effective addition to your strategy:

Improve Time to Fill, Today and Tomorrow

Time to fill is a multi-layer indicator of success in the staffing industry. On one hand, your clients’ needs evolve and change (especially in light of a global pandemic), but on the other hand, their internal processes might still be slow and decrease their ability to hire top talent. 

Your ability to fill clients’ immediate openings quickly with skilled contractors helps alleviate tension. At the same time, contractors feel more at ease during these uncertain times as they move from one role to another.  

Unfortunately, this won’t be the case for all of your contractors. Paused hiring processes and eliminated roles mean you will have more people who need to be reassigned than you have open roles. However, these circumstances ensure your talent pipeline is full of highly-qualified, reliable candidates who are immediately available for work when clients pick back up with hiring. 

The market and economy continuously cycle. While the situation may seem dire to many contractors, you can assure them that when an influx of openings occurs, you’ll be ready to place them into new roles. 

You’ll also have the best-fitting contractors prepped and ready to meet your clients’ needs. By maintaining a robust talent pipeline, you can avoid the time-consuming aspect of finding new candidates in the future, and clients will feel a heightened sense of relief returning to normalcy relatively quickly. 

For now, though, sit down to discuss your clients’ staffing outlook and ask them:

  • How is the crisis impacting your staffing needs?
  • How might continued strict mandates impact your busy seasons?
  • What growth opportunities do you predict when the economy takes an upward shift? 

Reduce Internal Costs and Activity

A faster time to fill and overflowing talent pipeline will also naturally decrease internal spending, given that your team will use less time assessing the quality of new candidates, nurturing relationships, and preparing them to impress clients. This would allow you to focus more resources on other critical client needs and decrease costs to accommodate for the changing market. 

Lean on data to assess where internal costs and activity are high. For example, measure cost per placement, which recruiting channels produce the best contractors, and productivity metrics to determine where to best spend time and money right now. 

Use these metrics as a starting point for implementing and adapting your redeployment strategy. If your cost per placement is high, evaluate client accounts that continue to thrive and would benefit from redeployment. Then, after establishing your new strategy, continually reevaluate metrics to improve placements and cut costs consistently.

Build Contractor Relationships

Your staffing team’s success doesn’t rely solely on client satisfaction; it also depends highly on the experiences of contractors. Right now, people are panicking. Contractors rely on a constant flow of work, and for many, there are fewer assignments during a crisis. 

It’s crucial that they know you’re trustworthy and have their best interests in mind. The more frequently you reach out about new opportunities, the more contractors will recognize that you’re on their side. As they feel comforted by your ability to find them new gigs eventually, their trust in you and your processes will increase. 

Keep track of changing contract timelines to improve outreach initiatives strategically. Ask clients to give you a heads-up as their internal processes change. If they’re breaking off a contract early, immediately reach out to contractors regarding their status, concerns, and current goals. 

When possible, encourage clients to renew contracts with the same contractors to prevent gaps in their workforces. In the changing economic climate, however, you may need to assist in renegotiations, depending on the financial status of your clients. 

Additionally, sit down with contractors to discuss how needs and expectations will shift. And be sure to reach out a few weeks to a month before a contract ends to discuss each worker’s status and goals. Important questions to ask include:

  • What type of role do you want to move into next?
  • What type of company/product do you want to work with?
  • Do you have new contract goals regarding pay, time, etc?
  • How long do you want your next contract to last?

Use this information to align their goals with those of your clients and prepare for unexpected changes in the future.  

While underutilized, in this time of crisis, redeployment can (and should) become your competitive edge. It can enhance your ability to provide great service not only to your clients but also to your contractors. Lastly, it can improve your own bottom line — no matter the economic and talent market state.

This article is part of a series called COVID-19 Coverage.
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