Wow, what an unprecedented situation we find ourselves in. In February 2020, I’m sure none of us could have predicted losing a third of our revenue and unemployment reaching 20% by April.
While we all recognize the gravity of this situation as unique, having experienced the massive economic & social disruptions of 2001 and 2008 I’m relying on the tried and true axiom…this too shall pass.
In the meantime, the Staffing Industry has both challenges and opportunities in this crisis.
The challenges are those we’ve been talking a lot about. Maintaining internal operations virtually. Adjusting to clients canceling job orders and releasing temps and contractors and the slow climb back to staffing them up. Understanding how to navigate the legal complexities which has been made easier for us thanks to the American Staffing Association. With COVID-19 Answers and Resource for Employers, we’re all a little smarter now about how to maintain legal compliance and manage risk.
Being a sales effectiveness consultant, I’m wired to look for the growth opportunities, so it’s those I want to address today.
The first area of opportunity for staffing firms is increasing brand awareness and reputation.
Make your firm’s voice heard by launching a feel-good campaign. A series of “we’re here for you” email messages resonates in times like this. Look into radio as another medium for staying top of mind.
There has never been a better time to be of service. To your employees. To your clients. To your community.
Ask yourself, how can our firm ease the burden on clients and employees and increase brand loyalty at the same time?
For example, working from home poses challenges. For example, if school is cancelled it means the kids are home and parents have to find childcare options during business hours. Can you flex traditional schedules for your employees to allow them to get work done on their own time? Can you reduce their required work hours with pay? Provide financial assistance to offset the unexpected cost of childcare?
Clients also need our help.
It’s tough when a client cancels an order but you know the old adage – if we’re not part of the solution we’re part of the problem. Call clients and tell them they can count on us to help with workforce challenges. Send educational material such as blogs from your Work Comp provider on managing risk. Make them aware of ASA and SHRM as resources for employment law guidance.
From a staffing perspective, can you find temporary assignments for their full-time workers now displaced due to a decrease in their business? Consider where you can ease your clients’ financial burden due to business disruption with an invoice rebate (for good clients who want to keep your temps and contractors working…if your margin on the business is healthy…and just temporarily!)? These efforts now will go a long way to building customer loyalty beyond the crisis.
Finally, serve your local community through donations. Where is the need greatest in your right now?
For example, Ronald McDonald House is restricting outside visitors to protect sick children. That means no organizations can come in and cook dinner for the families right now – something they heavily depend on. But your staffing firm can still sponsor a week of meals for delivery. You can post branded messages on social media to encourage others to get involved in a specific cause.
The second area of opportunity is capitalizing on new business development opportunities arising out of the pandemic.
Strategize with your team about where your employees can be redeployed to preserve their income and avoid costly unemployment claims.
The best approach? Get the entire team engaged in a skill-marketing campaign.
Contact industries experiencing unprecedented growth and market released contractors and temps to hiring managers desperate for more help.
Industries experiencing high demand due to the Coronavirus:
- Manufacturers of sanitizing products and equipment
- Manufacturers of office equipment and supplies (driven by the increase in teleworking)
- Both clinical and non-clinical healthcare. Any suppliers to healthcare will also need more workers – think lab techs and insurance call centers.
- Education – especially e-learning companies. Colleges are scrambling to move their entire curriculums online. Do you have candidates with this experience in your database?
- Suppliers of video conferencing and other technologies making the explosion in teleworking efficient.
- Displaced hospitality workers can be marketed to grocery store chains. Fewer people are eating out which means more groceries being purchased and there is a greater need for shelf-stockers and cashiers.
- Temps in manufacturing positions where exports have slowed can be marketed to logistics/fulfillment centers here in the U.S. As people shy away from crowded malls they’ll be ordering more and more online – which means a greater need for pick-and-pack workers and drivers.
While a global threat to our health is scary, unfamiliar territory to manage through, getting your team focused on taking advantage of the upside is better for business than the alternative.
Just as we have other crises in the past, the Staffing Industry will survive this…and ultimately thrive.
Where are the opportunities right now for YOUR staffing firm?