We anticipate that traditional staffing models, focused on growing internal employee headcounts, may need to shift to more flexible strategies!

How ready are you to embrace that change?

Northwest employers have, once again, been forced to downsize their core employee groups,  and are bracing for that volatile period of recovery where staffing needs are as difficult to predict as business performance.

Will the build back be a prolonged U, a V (for Victory) or an elongated hockey stick?  Who knows for sure, setting the stage for employers to rethink their decisions in all areas of their business – staffing included. 

As you know from reading other PACE blogs, our team is predicting if not advocating for a smart return to more flexible staffing models.

For some companies, this will be an uncomfortable shift, in some cases requiring them to make difficult decisions to downsize their employee group to focus only on key revenue producing functions.  Managers will be asked to learn how to manage a growing number of employees with a variety of work agreements.

Make no mistake – for Northwest businesses this period of BUILD BACK will be a time when to survive, employers must find ways to differentiate themselves from others.  How they decide to embrace or not embrace flexible workforce strategies can be one of those ways.   

As the Northwest business community looks forward to their build back, it is important for each company to ask how prepared they are to shift from traditional workforce models that is all about hiring direct, to more non traditional, flexible, and temporary ways of  staffing.    Do we view our use of temporary or contract workers as a necessary (and temporary) annoyance, or have we found a way to  embrace those workers as a key component of how we get work done?

If being honest, each company will answer these questions differently. 

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see how prepared you are to use staffing flexibility as a competitive advantage.

#1. Has your company established a clear set of principles to describe how you intend to staff up your company over the next 6-12 months?

Are you talking about the choices you will have to staff back so that your employees will know under what circumstances you will add to your core workforce and what circumstances will make a “temp” or contract employee the better option?  Do they know why?

Clear statements of strategy can relieve the worries of core employees (are we next?) plus provide guidance to your hiring managers as to how to best staff up or down in response to business needs.

# 2. Is temporary or contract staffing visible in your operating budgets and considered a part of your overall staffing costs?

We encourage our clients not to bury the costs of their temporary and contract workers into administrative overhead but instead make it easy to identify what your company is actually spending on the people it needs to get work done.    What you spend to get work done needs to be become visible which means it can be easily compared to alternative methods.

#3  Have you done the work to integrate how you find, screen, and onboard your core employees with how you find, screen and onboard your flexible workers? 

Do these two components of your staffing operation tend to work together or are they seen as two different staffing processes with little to no overlap?  Does your temporary staffing vendor know your hiring standards – what qualities you look for in the employees you hire so that when they fill a temporary role, they are filling it with a potential future hire?  Have you  created and/or re-structured  a temp-to-hire auditioning process to reduce your costs of hire, and/or minimize turnover?  How carefully have you thought through the auditioning process to make sure the best talent is easily identified during the audition? Have you removed all obstacles to making quick conversions between “temp and perm?”

#4.  Have you partnered up with a temporary staffing provider who has the mindset to help you with your bigger picture staffing or talent development strategies? 

What counsel is your current staffing provider offering to make sure your flexible staffing strategies work in direct alignment with your bigger picture staffing or business needs?  Does your temporary staffing provider also do direct hire recruiting?  The trend is to have one vendor who you invest in to get to your company inside out – is your current staffing vendor ready for that challenge?

Bottom-line is your current staffing vendor acting more like an order taker or a strategic advisor?

#5.   When was the last time you did an analysis of the relative costs of an internal vs. internal employer solution – hiring direct as opposed to “hiring” a temp? 

Do your hiring managers fully understand the costs associated with an employee you hire direct?  Have you updated those costs analysis to include current administration requirements and benefit costs?

To make good staffing decisions, your hiring managers need to understand the real costs of each option.  (Feel free to share our blog on that topic here) 

#6.  When was the last time you reviewed your workforce policies and risk mitigation practices to ensure that your use of contingent employees  doesn’t create additional issues or unforeseen costs down the road? 

How do you address issues in co-employment, the handling of confidential or proprietary information, access to facilities, equipment or other security issues, etc.?  What compliance requirements have you set for any worker to have access to your facilities?  your core employees?  Are your 1099 workers vetted in a way that ensures they can pass IRS “independent” tests or do you need to make sure you are NOT  vulnerable to unanticipated taxes and penalties?

Again, what is your staffing provider doing to help you with “best practices” associated with these issues?


The PACE Staffing Network has been helping clients design and optimize flexible staffing models for over four decades.  As a provider of both temporary and direct hire services we’ve been privileged to help companies integrate their use of non core employees inside their larger talent acquisition strategies.  We’ve seen how the best practices in flexible workforce solutions can create a significant and competitive advantage.

For a complimentary consultation to assess just how ready your company is for the new world of flexible work models,  contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at partnerservices@pacestaffing.com or call us direct at 425-637-3312.



PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years.

A  4 time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, e mail us at partnerservices@pacestaffing.com or visit our website at www. pacestaffing.com/employers.


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