How to Facilitate a Productive Flexible Workforce

09 July 2020

By Orlaith

How to Facilitate a Productive Flexible Workforce

In times of uncertainty, it is integral that company's are able to identify business needs and are able to adapt to change by hiring a productive flexible workforce in a strategic and effective way. By using a fluid mix of full-time and temporary employees, your company can adapt to all types of business cycles.

The benefits of a flexible workforce
Once considered a perk or a bonus, alternative work arrangements like temporary or contract workers is the new normal. While many companies participate in flexible workforce arrangements, many don’t do so in a strategic way.

Many companies are looking to fill positions as needed, rather than looking at a flexible workforce as a viable long-term plan.
This however is not taking advantage of the long-term benefits of such a dynamic workforce: it not only enhances business performance, but employees engaged in such a position tend to be happier, take less sick days, worked longer hours, and are more satisfied overall with their work.

A happier, healthier, more engaged employee is a company’s best asset. These team members are up to 13% more productive than those who are not. More importantly, as business needs change, companies that engage with flexible employees are much more agile, and better able to adapt to change by adding or reducing to their workforce as needed.

How to engage a flexible worker
Identity business needs

The first step: Make a distinction between immediate and longer-term requirements — as well as those you’re unsure about. For some situations, hiring full-time employees is best. For others, there may be alternative approaches. For specific active projects, a temporary contract specialist may be the best option.
Determine whether the circumstances will be ongoing or temporary. Consider upcoming projects and how workload peaks might look now and in the future. This helps you determine the blend of full-time and temporary staff you need.

Clarify requirements

Next, determine the skills and experience candidates must have and how long you’ll need their assistance. For example, if you’re looking to hire a temporary professional to cover for an employee on leave, it’s important to have a specific time frame in mind.
You can also engage interim workers as a first step toward making a full-time hire. This approach allows you to evaluate an individual’s job performance firsthand and assess their fit with your workplace culture before extending a longer-term job offer. You can then transition them to full-time status if they show promise and the ongoing workload warrants it.

Arrange a trial project

It may not make a lot of business sense to conduct lengthy, in-depth interviews with each new flexible worker. A first round interview is usually the best option for a flexible worker and overseeing this trial run basis.
Assigning a small trial run when engaging a new employee is a good way to test the waters. Pay particular attention to deadlines and whether or not they are able to deliver high quality work in time. Take note also of the amount of feedback or corrections their trial requires, and how they respond to such criticism.

Think long-term

It may seem counterintuitive to think long-term when hiring temporary workers, but building relationships with flexible workers that are able to be engaged on an as-needed basis means being able to fulfil business needs quicker and easier.
Showing interest in their growth and training, in settling their invoices on time, involving them with the rest of the team, and exposing them to the company culture are all ways employers can continue the relationship beyond the immediate business need in order to maintain the relationship into the future.

Working with a recruitment company

A specialised recruitment agency, like Phoenix, can help you assemble a flexible workforce fast by providing a selection of full-time, temporary and project-based talent to meet your needs. A recruitment agency focused on the parts of your business where you need help increases your odds of finding the best people for the job.
A flexible staffing plan can help your company thrive through times of uncertainty and stability alike. In any economic cycle, don’t overlook opportunities to continue strengthening your core staff. Designating a percentage of your workforce as contingent prepares your firm for whatever developments come next.

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