Human touch and outsourcing could be two keys to bolstering business in the second half of ’22 — and being better prepared for the unexpected.
What a crazy past two years for business owners/managers! The COVID-19 saga has slowed, for now, but continues. On the world health front, the citizens of planet earth wait to see what might pose the next challenge for companies trying to turn profits across our globe. On top of that uncertainty, there likely is an economic recession looming on the near horizon.
In the first installment of this blog, we examined some other ongoing issues, such as the supply chain disruption, staffing shortages and cultural changes brought on by “hybrid employees” working from home more often. In Part 2, we looked at how to plan for some of these challenges and prepare for the near future.
This third and final article in our business-continuity series focuses on two concrete strategies for success moving forward. Workforce development is one major issue that is top of mind for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), especially in the United States, points out Adriane Harrison, VP of human resources consulting at the PRINTING United Alliance trade association.
“We get asked questions about recruiting and retention all the time now,” says Harrison. She doesn’t believe that relying on employee prospect leads from job-search sites such as Indeed.com is necessarily the answer to the relatively unstable workforce these days. Rather, now that the COVID threat has subsided, building relationships in person and old-school networking tactics (think local chambers of commerce) could be better ways for companies to find good people, she contends.
“Personal contacts are key,” stresses Harrison, who advises the printing industry on employment/labor policies and regulations. “Make appearances and sponsor community events, such as Independence Day festivities. Be visible and ‘press the flesh,’” she urges. “Buy a table and use these events as recruitment opportunities” to tout your wow factor. Emphasize the reasons that employees like working for your company.
Outsourcing Can Alleviate Pressure
Harrison advocates for outsourcing — but “I’m not a fan of the outsourcing of ‘temporary,’ production workers in manufacturing settings,” she explains, citing state tax implications regarding temp worker status. “Employers really need to talk with an employment lawyer if they want to go that route,” she notes.
On the other hand, there can be benefits and advantages to using outside resources for services such as marketing or program management, she adds. “Outsourcing functions like these can eliminate the headache of the perpetual cycle of recruitment” faced by ownership and management. Additionally, hiring managers should face facts and anticipate a continuing decline in the number of available workers out there, she points out.
“There is not a big influx of additional workers,” she states, which makes expansion risky business for employers. “Unless you are located near a highly populated area, like a large city or a major metropolitan area, having access to a source of workers can become problematic,” explains Harrison, who is based in Pittsburgh. “Outsourcing is a good way to diversify the risk of workforce recruitment,” she concludes.
As companies face the short-term and long-term challenges of the day, strategies that accept the monumental changes that have occurred in just the last few years is a critical success factor. Waiting for things to “get back to normal” is not recommended. Look at your company with new eyes and take advantage of all the resources available to you as you pivot to a new way of doing business.