14.05.2020, by Tom Jaisle
Even if I am writing these lines now at the time of Corona, where many employees are on short-time work, companies are trying to catch up on personnel costs and are thinking about terminating temporary jobs:
The HR department in a company always has one challenge - besides all the others: To have the right employee in the right place at the right time. That sounds plausible and everyone will agree with it. But I would like to take a closer look at what it actually means in the following.
Employees yes and no
It is a fact that a company needs employees in order to pursue its corporate purpose and satisfy its customers. This applies in principle to every industry.
It is also a fact that either a company needs employees because business is going well. In that case, the orders need to be processed, so new people have to be sought and hired, and the human resources department is running at full speed.
Or things are not going well at the moment and a company then considers whether it should release the surplus staff.
Once a company has gone the way of hiring and training employees for its own business, it is usually difficult to simply let these skilled workers go again. Because when the business picks up again, the same workers are missing. With their knowledge and skills that have brought the company forward before. And what's more, the tedious process of finding new people starts all over again: the HR department draws up job profiles, places job advertisements or calls on recruiters to fill the vacancies. This is followed by job interviews, the first round, the second round, rejections, promises, the whole programme. But most of all: it is precisely these professionals who feel that they will be almost too late. I know that is not the case. But speaking purely from a company's point of view, having employees available again immediately or at short notice would be a dream. And with the experience of the last few years - all the better then.
Basically speaking, the whole thing is actually a paradox: If a company needs employees, it (often) finds none, at least rarely immediately. If a company has employees and does not need them, it must either deploy them elsewhere in the company and co-finance them or it separates from the employees in order to look for new ones later.
How can this be countered?
Almost every company has been in a position to consider how to break out of this cycle.
In the working world, a number of instruments have developed over the years, for example:
Of course, the labour market has already come up with the idea of seeing the phenomenon of (temporarily) needed labour as an opportunity and this is how the model of temporary work came into being. Temporary employment agencies recruit employees for different occupational groups in which they see a need. And these employees then place them with a company for a certain period of time. Depending on the time and occupational group, this results in very interesting constellations, both for employers and employees. In the meantime, I should say, because for a long time temporary employment agencies had a rather negative reputation.
When it comes to dissolving larger parts or entire departments within a company, rescue companies are often founded. Depending on the structure and mission, these companies either lend the employees to other companies, or possibly back to the original company. Or they help the employees to find accommodation in other companies.
In order not to get into the situation of "too many permanent employees", a temporary position is often created nowadays. Here a project can be worked on for the foreseeable future, the employees are then only on board for exactly this time. And after successful completion, the project result is integrated into the company and the participants go their separate ways.
At first glance, this always sounds quite elegant, but often it only turns out afterwards that when the project is abandoned, the accumulated know-how has suddenly disappeared. Knowledge transfer - which takes place over years and is only rarely handed over selectively - often brings companies something more long-term and sustainable than short-term projects with final documentation. Some companies notice this even at the moment of job termination and then convert the temporary jobs, if this is feasible.
Freelancers are viewed differently from industry to industry. On the one hand, they are often highly motivated, on the other hand, the same applies to them as in project work: if they are gone, the knowledge is lost. This is often even more striking here, because only rarely does a freelancer write down his knowledge so that it can be accessed by others. And: If the next customer comes, the employee may have left immediately and will not return.
Gig-jobs are a new form of work, propagated by companies like Uber or Amazon, which can quickly gain and lose employees. Originally the term comes from the music scene, where artists are always hired per "gig", i.e. per performance. The "gig" is now different from industry to industry, but the basic meaning is: As long as the job lasts. The range of gig-work is wide, is mostly covered by freelancers - and doesn't only find positive feedback. Nevertheless, the argument of freelancers can be applied here, even if it is mainly work from the blue-collar sector, where it is less about knowledge than much more about quick completion of upcoming work.
If all of the above does not work, in other words: nothing more helps in the current situation, but a company wants to try to keep its employees, it can apply for short-time work. However, this depends on the industry, the case and the employment agency. Now, in the days of Corona, there are many exemptions and lowered assessment criteria - but that can and will change again. Apart from that, there is a lot of work involved - plus a lot of regulations and requirements.
So far, so good. Now the above mentioned is not really new. What is also not really new and still not quite present in most people's minds are the
A very exciting concept is the personnel partnership. The concept has just gained new momentum through the partnership between Lidl and McDonalds (McDonalds had to close down because of Corona, Lidl needed support in filling its warehouses, which is why McDonalds promptly loaned its employees to Lidl).
Basically such a partnership works according to the following principle:
Company A has too many employees who are not needed at the moment, company B in turn needs employees and can fall back on the employees of company A. As in the example of McDonalds and Lidl, this can mean moving a large number of employees at once.
Finally, every temporary employment agency also offers its customers a personnel partnership, basically of a commercial nature, but nevertheless it is also a personnel partnership.
Common to all previous examples is that an employee is not lost, but can stay with his company. Even if he or she is temporarily assigned to another company.
In fact, this model has been cultivated for quite some time in the world of recruitment. Here is the language of so-called Onsite Management. If a company needs to fill positions, jobs or shifts at short notice, then a personnel company, for example, is used as the main supplier. The so-called Master Vendor (if the vendor brings his own employees) or Neutral Vendor (if he does not bring his own employees) then fills the open shifts with employees from himself or other connected personnel vendors. In other words, employees from temporary employment agencies are brought in to eliminate bottlenecks.
The common goal
Basically, all these vacancies and shift assignments are based on the fact that an employee with a certain qualification can perform a task at a certain time. Where the skilled worker ultimately comes from is then (almost) irrelevant. The main thing: the qualification is right, the shift/position can be filled for the necessary time and the work behind it is done.
This model often represents a win-win situation. While the employee on the one hand helps out at another company, he also learns something that he can later apply in his own company. Or in the next company. And thus increases his value.
We see great opportunities for companies in the personnel partnership model. The retention of the workforce is a factor not to be underestimated when building and maintaining a company. This does not mean that it is getting easier and easier. Just before the Corona crisis, many companies were looking for suitable employees, but the market seemed to be basically empty. And at the moment we are currently seeing a movement in the opposite direction again: Layoffs and layoffs or short-time work. With a few exceptions, but it seems to be a 180° turnaround.
We think that some pain can be avoided by cooperation between companies - and also with the help of personnel agencies. Of course, this will not always succeed. But we see the current situation as a unique opportunity to reorient ourselves, to look at the topic of human resources from a new perspective and to approach it from a new angle.
We have developed Stafflist with exactly this thought of personnel partnerships in mind. For companies who need qualified personnel, but do not want to hire them in the regular way - through recruiting - because the need is only temporary. For companies who would like to keep their employees and only want to give them up for a certain period of time. For companies such as temporary employment agencies and personnel service providers who, as Master or Neutral Vendor, assist other companies in on-site management to fill vacancies. For companies who see their chance in gig-work management. And also for companies who want to support each other in mutual cooperation or in a joint merger with a common customer effectively in terms of personnel.
There are many approaches.
Maybe Stafflist is suitable for you? If you are interested or have questions, can contact us.