human capital solutions

Is flexi staffing the solution that South African SMEs are searching for?

By Mamiki Matlawa, MD at Qunu Staffing

With more than 3 million jobs lost in South Africa in 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the job market has been severely ravaged by the pandemic. In order to recover, businesses are having to adapt to survive and one of the biggest challenges is finding ways to do more with less. A rising global trend, the adoption of temporary workers through flexi staffing is particularly attractive for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). They generally do not have the capacity to acquire the skills or labour they need to grow on a full-time basis. From a job seeker’s perspective, flexi staffing is a valuable opportunity to re-skill themselves, become multi-skilled, or hone their specialty which contributes to their attractiveness in the job market. Flexible staffing is going to become increasingly important to SMEs and job seekers in the months ahead as an effective means of navigating the uncertainty that continues to lie ahead.

Flexibility is the solution

It is not uncommon for employers to downscale and put a freeze on new hires during tough times. However, such an approach to keeping costs low can put significant strain on existing employees who may end up with unsustainable workloads. Flexible staffing is a means of filling vacancies as an alternative to hiring a new permanent employee, which is particularly useful when a company needs additional hands-on to deal with project-based work. With traditional placement, businesses must advertise an opening and spend time sifting through resumes and interviewing suitable candidates. Filling a vacancy this way comes with an increased risk of hiring a bad fit, which is bad for business as they can negatively impact productivity and waste money on advertising and training to find a replacement.

Post-pandemic, companies are actively seeking out contract workers as a cost-saving and flexible workforce management measure, as Gartner found that 32% of organisations worldwide are replacing full-time employees with temporary ones. When it comes to flexi staffing, companies can use a Temporary Employment Services (TES) provider to effectively fill a vacancy for a specified period, at the click of a button. TES providers have built extensive databases of skilled

individuals that have already been interviewed, screened and their backgrounds checked. All of the time-consuming recruitment, interview and placement processes can be bypassed, and the vacancy can be filled immediately, based on the job specification.

Instrumental in economic recovery

In the wake of mass retrenchments and corporate downsizing in 2020, the job market in 2021 is tough. In the absence of permanent employment, job seekers need to take what they can get. Contingent work is better than no work. Flexi staffing thus has an important role to play, in allowing companies to scale their resources as needed and access skills they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. This also gives individuals an opportunity to earn an income as well as gain competence in a variety of environments, on a multitude of different projects. Flexi staffing, when combined with remote working capabilities, means that a highly skilled individual can apply their expertise without geographical limitation. This allows more companies to benefit from the same set of in-demand skills.

Flexi staffing platform: talent on demand

For entrepreneurs who are still hesitant about flexi staffing, it is important to remember that for a business to stay in business, it must have the best talent, fast. Where an SME is scaling up and requires certain skills or services, utilising a TES provider and flexible placement of contingent workers is an effective way for businesses to get what they need without hiring. Flexi staffing also gives hope to job seekers in a low growth economy, providing a platform that can be used for personal skills development and career advancement. While businesses have been forced to be agile to survive the pandemic, job seekers need to do the same. By utilising TES providers, individuals can brand themselves and expand their horizons. With this dedicated online platform for job seekers, it is easy for companies to find the exact skills that they require and the ability to rate individuals. This aspect acts as motivation for flexi workers to push themselves to new levels.

In short, the era of the fulltime 9 to 5 job is over. Skills and talent are now heavily commoditised and for businesses to ensure that they are getting the best skills at the right price with the least amount of hassle and risk, the right TES provider partner can make all the difference.

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