Contractors Embrace “Recession-Proven” Labor Strategy as Construction Crews Return to Work
“When it comes to staffing in times of uncertainty, it is safer and more prudent to run a leaner full-time workforce, comprised only of top craft professionals, and supplement that core craft workforce with contract skilled craftsmen on an as-needed basis,” explained Mike Christiansen, chief operations officer at Tradesmen International, a national construction staffing firm. ”This ‘Smart Staffing’ tactic creates a core staff level, avoids costly spikes and dips, and actually saves thousands of dollars over the long term.”
The timeframe is a motivator for embracing this flexible staffing strategy. Unlike the previous recession, construction projects during this current COVID-19-impacted economy will likely rebound within months, not over multiple years.
To prepare for this rebound, construction contractors are adopting what Tradesmen International has coined a “CORE + Flex” staffing strategy. Contractors of all sizes can work with Tradesmen’s construction labor management-trained consultants to ascertain the right volume of full-time craft employees for their business. Tradesmen’s consultants also provide guidance on how to identify which specific craft employees should be brought back on after being laid off, and when.
“The CORE + Flex labor staffing strategy is exactly right for today,” said Christiansen. “With governmental and healthcare expert opinions varying day by day on which state, or which businesses, should open and when, our clients are doing the smart thing — playing it safe with Smart Staffing.”
Christiansen explained that in many cases, project workloads are hard to predict week-to-week, forcing contractors to scramble to find job-ready electricians or carpenters at the last minute to send to a work site. That scramble leads to sacrifices in safety, worker skill, deadlines or budget overruns. By adopting a stable, core staffing level supplemented by on-demand flexible staffing, contractors actually find they can afford higher quality professionals with no sacrifice to job profitability.
“They can run their businesses with only their most productive, safest and best-skilled craft professionals,” continued Christiansen. “When workload begins to ramp up beyond what this leaner core workforce can handle, they don’t add permanent payroll. Instead, like after the 2009 recession, they supplement core workers with contract skilled craftsmen. By staying in close contact with our 180 offices, they’re able to give our local recruiters an ample four-to-six-day lead time on the trades they need. The result is that Tradesmen confidently—and with an approximate 90 percent or better fill-rate—provides the number of contract workers requested, at the right skill level, precisely as needed. By sending Tradesmen employees back when workload slows, our clients sustain a profitable, productive workforce.”
Contract skilled labor has additional advantages that positively impact contractors’ bottom lines. Tradesmen covers all payroll, unemployment, benefits and workers’ compensation-related costs and risks on their employees. This shelters contractors from expenditures they’d normally have to pay on short-term, full-time workers.
Tradesmen International is offering contractors across America a free consultation, including a custom Labor Productivity Analysis that, using client data, enables contractors to implement a logical Core + Flex labor staffing strategy.