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What Is a Contingent Staffing Workforce?

Contingent staffing solutions are used by many industries that experience periods of high and low demand. With the country’s shortage of skilled craftworkers reaching critical levels—nearly 78 percent of construction firms say they are having a hard time filling both salaried and craft positions*—contractors are feeling the pressure as they struggle to find a reliable workforce to keep up with their workload. The most successful contractors are adopting a strategic contingent staffing model to shift some labor costs from fixed to variable, allowing them to quickly adjust staff levels as needed (see figures 1 and 2).

Traditional Workforce Strategy

figure 1: Traditional Workforce Strategy

Contingent Workforce Strategy

figure 2: Contingent Workforce Strategy

An Agile Staffing Model

Utilizing contingent workers allows businesses to be agile in responding to the ebb and flow of their variable staffing needs without the burden of adding to their permanent payroll. As the volume of work decreases, these businesses simply reduce their contingent staffing workforce rather than watching their bottom line get eaten away by profit-draining holdover or overstaffing costs associated with full-time payroll.


What to Consider When Selecting a Contingent Staffing Partner

While contingent staffing is an ideal solution for the construction industry, not all staffing agencies are a good fit for contractors. The key is to find a contingent staffing partner that takes the time to understand your specific needs and has experience providing reliable, skilled workers who can not only get the job done, but are also a good fit for your business. Here are four things to keep in mind when choosing a contingent staffing partner:

1: Do they understand your business?

More than just understanding the local labor market and having the recruiting power to quickly fill orders for qualified workers, your contingent staffing partner needs to understand the economics, operational pressures, and day-to-day mechanics of your business. Many staffing agencies can supply general labor, but few invest in dedicated teams that specialize in specific trades and industries. A staffing partner that truly understands your business can help you strategically manage your workforce, maximize productivity, and reduce labor costs.

What to ask:

  • How many years has the agency serviced your industry?
  • Who are their top clients in the industry?
  • Is the agency big enough and does it have the recruiting power to fill your needs?

2: Can they find the right craftworkers?

Relying on another company to help make important contingent staffing decisions isn’t always easy. You need reliable craftworkers, and you need them now. Can the staffing partner find the workers you need, when you need them? And, more than that, can the staffing partner find craftworkers who are a good match for your business?

What to ask:

  • How does the staffing agency find, evaluate and recruit craftworkers?
  • How do they ensure you receive reliable, proven craftworkers who meet your exact requirements?

3: Is safety their #1 core value?

The safety of your field employees must be a top priority for your staffing partner. You need to know that any craftworkers they send to your jobsite are prepared with their general personal protective equipment and armed with a solid understanding of general safety practices and a commitment to safety.

What to ask:

  • What is the agency’s specific safety program for craftworkers?
  • Do they have a verifiable history of complying with federal, state and local regulations?
  • What kind of safety training do they offer to their employees?

4: Will they be there when you need them?

A reliable staffing partner should know federal, state and local employment regulations, conduct thorough background checks, confirm eligibility to work in the country, execute W2s, pay workers’ compensation, unemployment taxes, benefits—all the steps you would follow when hiring a new employee. Additionally, the staffing partner needs to know how all this applies to your unique business.

What to ask:

  • Are they part of the community? Do they have local offices near your jobsite?
  • Do they interview and vet workers thoroughly?
  • Is there a local person who will work to ensure everything goes smoothly?

Find Your Staffing Partner

In the end, successful contingent staffing solutions allow you to maintain an optimized work-to-worker ratio throughout the natural workload ups and downs in your project lifecycle. Doing so maximizes your overall workforce productivity and profit margins—provided you find the right staffing partner. The right staffing partner will deliver the craftworkers you need precisely when and where you need them. Request a free labor consultation from Tradesmen International today.

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With a CORE + Flex skilled labor strategy, Tradesmen provides a no-cost labor productivity consultation.

We help contractors plan to run a lean staffing solution comprised of their core full-time workforce. 

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