Rick Sanders has studied the IT staffing and services industry from every angle. As former head of marketing at MATRIX, he understands the (sometimes conflicting) motivations of hiring managers, consultants, and IT job seekers. Along the way, Rick has participated in the evolution of marketing from the print, to digital interactive, social and beyond. Working now as a contractor, Rick offers acute insight into the contracting world based on his own experience.
Flexible Hiring Options Attract the Best Talent
With everyone hiring for technology skills, there’s a much larger demand than supply of top talent. And it’s not just tech companies who are feeling the squeeze --- tech skills are in demand across all industries.
If you’re hiring IT workers, you’re going to be facing stiff competition from those firms for the same candidates. One way to differentiate yourself is through a better understanding of what those candidates are looking for, how their motivations are different, and how these differences can help you prosper.
Nearly half of U.S. businesses now feature a hybrid workforce of permanent and contract workers, according to a recent report on IT workforce trends. These companies are embracing a workforce model that maintains a baseline of full-time headcount roles, but are increasingly adopting a flexible staffing approach that adds contract or contract-to-hire workers based on workload levels and unique skills required. In addition to traditional staffing, there is also recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), or even more niche offerings like MATRIX On-Demand Services where you have a dedicated team assigned to your needs.
“Do whatever it takes to find the right person,” said Justin Thomason, MATRIX Vice President of Recruiting. “Companies that are really thriving in this crazy environment are the ones who are the most flexible when it comes to hiring.”
Here are five reasons why:
You snooze you lose.
Companies who don’t consider contracting for certain jobs will lose out on good candidates who don’t want to wait. The process for direct hire can be a little slower because clients want to take their time when making a long-term decision. “Getting HR involved often adds additional time,” said Thomason. “Companies who limit their jobs to direct hire miss out because great candidates do not stay on the market for that long.”
You pay more, but you save more.
“You can get incredible amounts of intellectual capital from people who really enjoy contracting,” said Thomason. “You get the best ideas and real value while only having to pay them for a period of time.”
Maintaining a mix of full-time employees (FTE) and contractors enables you to turn some of your fixed personnel costs into variable expenses by paying only for the talent you need when it's truly needed. In addition, you'll lower the high costs associated with hiring and training new staff, while reining in overtime expenses you would otherwise have to pay to FTEs.
You free up full-time staff.
“Do you want your best and brightest FTEs coding on maintenance or do you want them coding on projects that will bring in value?” asked Thomason. Tapping the talents of temporary workers to assist with day-to-day team responsibilities allows core staff to pursue more complex challenges and occasionally take time off to recharge.
On the other hand, consultants are often called upon to complete work that is either too complicated or specialized for companies to complete themselves, or that is critical and needs to be finished quickly.
In this case, needlessly holding out for the perfect FTE can compromise the delivery schedule.
You improve retention.
A temporary/full-time mix provides a buffer for core employees during a layoff. When employees see they are valued through increased job security and satisfaction, and support from temporary colleagues, it can help boost retention and how they feel about work-life balance.
You can try before you buy.
Contract-to-hire is a win-win for everyone. A flexible staffing strategy allows you to observe and evaluate project professionals you've engaged and determine their potential fit with your core staff. Having the opportunity to assess a potential employee firsthand provides far more insight than anything you could do during the interview. The same goes for contractors, who can use firsthand experience to decide whether to make the temporary assignment permanent, or make a graceful exit without burning any bridges.
Flexible staffing is here to stay. Your talent wants to work that way, and so should you.