Like employers in many industries, staffing agencies have experienced a dramatic shift in business in 2020. In fact, staffing employment across the board fell to Great Recession levels in the second quarter, following a six-year low during Q1. But not all staffing agencies have been suffering.
“We’ve seen a huge uptick in staffing and hiring needs since mid-summer,” says The HT Group Founder and CEO Mark Turpin. “Plus, as a management consulting, staffing, and recruiting agency, we’ve been in a unique position to be able to pivot our services to where employers need it most.”
That’s an important point, because, as Haley Marketing found out this summer, staffing firms that have weathered the storm have this rare trait in common. The agency found that one in five firms chose to “wait it out,” making no meaningful changes to their strategy to weather the downturn. Others were left scrambling: Nearly 8% of staffing firms shifted their focus from contract staffing to direct hire, while almost 6% shifted direct hire to contract. Only 23% launched new service offerings to meet dramatically changing needs.
Among those few businesses was The HT Group, which introduced HT Cares! in the early stages of the pandemic to solve two distinct challenges:
- Top C-suite and director-level executives were losing their jobs or being furloughed. Many of these professionals have rarely been without a job before—they’ve always been in high demand and have a remarkable amount of valuable expertise to share.
- Employers were left with more questions than answers on how to navigate through the pandemic in areas like technology and security, logistics and supply chain management, and staffing issues involving human resource management, safety and compliance, and talent acquisition and retention.
“We knew there was a way to help in both areas: to help business leaders reopen strategically while putting this amazing top-level talent back to work,” says The HT Group Director of Consulting Services Sam Wood. HT Cares! brings together about 30 executive advisors available for free leader-to-leader conversations and thought leadership inspiration.
“The HT Group has always understood that the decision on when, how, and who to hire hinges on dozens of other business factors,” Turpin adds. “Staffing doesn’t exist in a bubble. It needs to be built on a solid business foundation. That fact is increasingly apparent during downturns, and it’s why tools like HT Cares! and The HT Group’s Advisory Services have been so instrumental in helping our clients with other business challenges this year.”
Some of the challenges employers are facing as they ramp up hiring right now include:
- A surprising surge in seasonal staffing. For example, Amazon will hire 100,000 new full- and part-time employees while UPS plans to hire 100,000 and Fed-Ex plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers for the end-of-year holiday season.
- Many of those seasonal employees will be off the job market permanently. UPS, for one, announced that about 35% of those hired for seasonal package-handler jobs over the last three years were later hired in a permanent position. Overall, nearly a third of the company’s US workforce started in seasonal positions.
- Overtime complications. Everyone’s working more hours right now. In manufacturing, the workweek has risen by 0.3 hours to 40.0 hours, and overtime increased by 0.1 hours to 3.0 hours. “Even that slight increase in overtime can cost employers dearly,” says The HT Group Director of Staffing Services Claire Reese. “It might be better to reorganize staffing needs as hours start accumulating.”
- Regulations have gotten tricky. CDC/OSHA and state/local guidelines on COVID safety at work continue to evolve. Families First Coronavirus Sick Leave and paid expanded family and medical leave rules are being updated. Federal joint-employer regulations are being challenged. And don’t forget recent changes in LGBTQ+ rights and employee benefits, too. All these issues may cause a need for human resources consulting services. Look to our management consulting group for help with your HR questions.
- Remote work is complicated with temp workers. As many employers remain on a work-from-home or hybrid model, some question how to effectively hire remote temporary or contract workers for call center, customer support, administrative support, and other jobs.
- Ahead of 2020, CEOs were leaving their companies at record pace. That left many key positions unfilled when the pandemic struck. Hiring interim or fractional executives has become a key tool to overcome this obstacle.
“There are many moving parts, making temp staffing exceptionally difficult this year,” says Reese. “A reputable Austin staffing firm can help in each of these areas with tools like training and other onboarding tasks, guidance on changing regulations, payroll and benefits administration, and more.”
When considering your staffing or business consulting needs heading into the New Year, you may benefit from taking a step back and considering certain business and economic constraints and challenges with an HT Cares! Executive Advisor. The HT Group is available for staffing questions and solutions and can offer ideas on how to overcome payroll, onboarding, compliance, and other challenges, too. You may have mastered your human capital difficulties at regular times. But in 2020? It’s a whole new ballgame.
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The HT Group fills roles in Temporary Staffing, Executive Search, Technical Recruiting, and Retained Search.