Be Prepared, Be Flexible

Judy Collins | July 25, 2022

Natural and man-made disasters can strike any time. Outages common during natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires point out the need for advance planning to ensure continuity of business operations. Similarly, the man-made disaster of forced business closures in response to COVID-19 created severe impacts in the labor market. Regardless of the causes of disruption, we must be prepared to deal with them and be flexible in the face of these challenges. As our British friends might say, we must “keep calm and carry on.”

With challenge comes opportunity. We can make our businesses more robust and better able to operate despite disturbances to infrastructure such as power, water, transport, and communications. Likewise, forced closures of businesses due to the COVID-19 virus presents recruiters with unexpected opportunity to make placements due to turmoil in the work force.

Keep current with the marketplace. There are many winners and losers. If your specialty is not surviving and thriving look to correlating positions. Try to match up worker skill sets with positions in industries that are doing well. The market is moving fast. Let your clients know you are aware of their challenges. Just because you are working remotely you cannot be disconnected from what is happening in the marketplace. Be flexible so you can move with the market. Keep your database aware of new job opportunities in other fields in which they may work.

Early in 2020 we began contending with the impacts of forced business closures. As a result, remote working for employees has become a virtual standard. Some hidden opportunities for recruiters arise from all this. Some former full-time workers who are now encouraged or forced to work at home may well develop a preference for the more flexible lifestyle they can enjoy out of the office. They may find themselves back in the candidate pool and looking for assignments that ensure them the desired flexible work arrangements. Many of these positions may be temp or contract positions: ASA Staffing Index data for the week of August 10-16 shows an increase of 2.4% for temp and contract positions.

For those workers who have been laid off, contract workers likely will be hired back sooner than direct hires. This is due to companies being unsure about the future: concern about another wave of COVID-19 cases may lead to yet another mandated shutdown. Other workers, tired of the burdens and inconveniences of social distancing imposed in high population-density cities may opt to pack up and join the exodus to the suburbs, smaller towns, or even rural locations. These folks present another recruiting opportunity when they rejoin the labor market!

Faced with infrastructure impacts, we must recognize that people depend upon receiving their pay regardless of what may be happening in your physical location…payroll must go out. Your temp and contract placements may be remote from the area directly affected by the disaster and will likely continue to work unimpeded while they watch the disaster unfold on the news. You must plan for the day when your business operations are threatened so that you can respond in a manner that ensures continuity of service to your clients.

Be ready to take advantage of these opportunities by partnering with a back-office provider. This will enable you to act quickly to handle your clients’ requests. You can provide these services immediately if you are set up in advance. We can benefit from better preparedness for disasters if we learn from recent events! Follow these guidelines and BE PREPARED, BE FLEXIBLE.

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NAPS Harold B. Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award Winner