Perhaps the most pressing challenge for manufacturing companies remains finding the qualified workers they need — in fact, that’s the reason nearly nine out of 10 are hiring today. And as the sector continues to grapple with severe talent shortages and skills gaps, having the right recruiting and hiring strategy in place, particularly when it comes to contingent workers, is going to be a key differentiator among companies that get ahead.
If that sounds familiar, you’ve probably considered, or are currently considering, working with a strategic partner to help you overcome recruiting and hiring challenges. But what are the biggest benefits of doing so? And where might you have concerns — or worry about accumulating risk?
Before increasing your use of flexible talent, take a moment to review the pros and cons of working with a strategic partner, then decide whether you want to manage this complex, end-to-end process on your own.
rapid response to trends, fluctuations and new opportunities
The manufacturing industry is heavily impacted by seasonal trends — “peak production season,” for example, will be a familiar theme for many. What’s more, these companies are also increasingly being asked to respond to any number of unforeseen circumstances and external factors, ranging from disruptions in the competitive landscape to sudden shifts in demand. And yet not having the right workforce capacity at the right time can quickly lead to squandered revenue opportunities.
That’s one of the major benefits of working with a strategic partner for manufacturing employers today. Partners that specialize in sourcing flexible talent can step in to source, hire and onboard the right contingent workers faster, and with far greater reliability, than most organizations are capable of internally. In fact, research shows that the two most common goals for companies hiring contingent workers are:
- operating with greater agility
- meeting project-specific needs
So if speed, agility, responsiveness and similar aren’t just talking points but top priorities at your organization, bear in mind that these are among the chief benefits of working with a strategic partner.
avoiding compliance risks
From the standpoint of legal compliance, there are significant differences between the risks that are created when you hire contingent staff versus taking on permanent, full-time employees — and if you plan to manage the process 100 percent internally, you'll need to be aware of all of them before moving forward.
Especially for organizations accustomed to more traditional hires, that can be a difficult tightrope to walk. It’s also a fairly heavy lift — just check out the latest updates to how independent contractors are classified by the U.S. Department of Labor if you’re looking for proof.
On top of that, there are also state-by-state variations in laws governing contingent workforces to take into account. And, once more, you’ll need to be intimately familiar with them all.
Sound like a lot to handle? It is. Want to avoid it? Outsource responsibility for recruiting and hiring your contingent workers to an experienced strategic partner. These partners bring to the table proven processes and frameworks to ensure you're always operating legally and in compliance with the latest regulations. In addition to freeing up bandwidth internally, that should give you peace of mind.
reduced administrative burden
Making a new hire inevitably brings with it a lot of paperwork. That’s true regardless of whether you’re recruiting and hiring on a permanent basis or building a contingent workforce. And given the scale of the contingent workforces that many manufacturing employers will require, the added administrative burden could easily strain their existing teams to the breaking point.
Why not keep everyone focused on key business outcomes, instead? Outsourcing your recruitment and hiring efforts to a strategic partner is a smart way to free up bandwidth and ensure everyone on your team dedicates more time to value-adding activities.
Think about it: These partners can effectively take all of the administrative tasks associated with recruiting and hiring off of your hands — and to do it without any drop-off in quality standards. That’s part of the reason why offloading these tasks so often proves to be a bottom-line win for manufacturing employers.
Cost is a primary concern for efficiency-driven manufacturing organizations, and understandably so, particularly in the context of lingering fallout from pandemic-era disruption. Manufacturers across the board are looking to tighten their budgets.
To be sure, working with a strategic partner does require some level of initial financial investment. However, while outsourcing responsibility for recruiting and hiring your contingent workforce comes with upfront costs, most manufacturing employers actually wind up saving money in the long run. Why? Because when you’re able to reduce turnover, recruit and hire the right people, have them available when you need them and optimize their compensation, too, it nets out to a financial windfall.
These partners can also help you predict and plan your workforce capacity needs far more accurately in advance, translating to fewer overtime payments, for example — plus a host of other positive outcomes to help keep you in the black.
concerns around loyalty and engagement
Building a contingent workforce offers clear advantages for manufacturing firms: greater flexibility, lower costs and none of the risks that come with hiring permanent staff, to name a few. By the same token, however, doing so raises critical questions about employee loyalty and engagement in the minds of some employers.
Especially for manufacturing employers that don’t have extensive experience hiring contingent workers, these questions might include: Will my contingent workers feel committed to the success of my business if they know they’ll only be with me for a limited time? Will they be engaged? Are they even going to stick around for the full duration of the engagement?
These and similar concerns can be magnified when you choose to outsource responsibility for recruiting and hiring to a strategic partner, since you won’t be as directly involved in the selection or vetting process.
But the good news is that it shouldn’t be this way when you work with an experienced strategic partner. In fact, by working collaboratively, leveraging proven approaches and prioritizing transparency, employee loyalty and engagement shouldn’t be concerns at all. For example, your strategic partner can help you develop processes specifically designed to engage your contingent workforce. They can also work with you to implement onboarding best practices, while showing you key onboarding mistakes to avoid. And that’s just for starters.
The point is, the right strategic partner can help mitigate any concerns you may have about employee loyalty and engagement — or, for that matter, about productivity, morale, culture, you name it. But building a contingent workforce won’t force you to make uncomfortable compromises around employee loyalty or engagement, provided you select the right partner.
There are clear pros and cons to working with a strategic partner, as we’ve touched on above — but on balance, the former tend to outweigh the latter for most manufacturing employers. Just make sure to select a best-in-class partner to power your success. To see what that feels like firsthand, and the value it can contribute to your company, get in touch with Randstad today.
If you're still on the fence, however, it may be worthwhile to ask yourself these six questions, which should help clarify whether working with a strategic partner is the right choice for your business.