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Contingent Labor in the Age of Coronavirus

Due to the unknown and often hailed ‘unprecedented’ COVID-19 outbreak, organizations across the world are learning how to adjust and adapt to its many implications. The many effects of Coronavirus can create the perfect opportunity for increased use of contingent labor as a more flexible staffing solution to adjust and adapt to new working conditions.


Shifted Priorities 

Coronavirus has caused a shift in priorities for numerous companies who have had to make pivots in focus during this time to either COVID-specific product areas or dialing further into business lines that are most profitable in this new environment. This refocus could require a realignment of your team’s time and priorities – leaving gaps in other work areas. A flexible staffing solution would help bridge those gaps during these times of realignment while keeping the door open for future team additions in case your new resource plan becomes a long-term solution. New contingent resources can help relieve your core team as they adjust to new focus areas, adapt to a leaner workforce, or alter their schedules due to different personal and family demands during the pandemic.

It’s also possible that these shifted priorities have created a new requirement for specific skills or expertise that your current team does not possess. In these cases, it may be better to rely on interim consultant resources who can quickly apply their background knowledge and expertise in these areas. Hiring contingent resources is a quicker process than traditional hiring practices, offering you faster relief and productivity to any new initiatives.


Team Reductions

Throughout the pandemic, many organizations have enacted hiring freezes and are unable to support their teams with new resources. Unfortunately, it has also been a common occurrence for companies to conduct furloughs and layoffs during this time of economic uncertainty. This can lead to demoralizing and fearful morale in your teams, causing dips in productivity. Building a more flexible workforce consisting of full-time and contingent resources can help these ebbs and flows by providing interim support that can be relied upon for certain periods and disengaged easier than permanent employees if ever necessary.

Employing a mixture of permanent employees and project professionals can provide a more holistic approach to building your teams – especially when you consider the outside expertise, experience, and skills that contingent resources bring to the table. In addition to added experience, these resources can also help serve your bottom line financially by transitioning fixed personnel costs into variable expenses, only paying for specific talents when you need them for shorter periods of time. A flexible staffing solution will allow you to cost-effectively staff up or down — or back up or down — to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing business landscape. As a bonus, your full-time employees will be grateful for the extra support and relief, helping to aid in overall retention and productivity.


Tighter Budgets

In recessions, it’s common sense that companies pay closer attention to the bottom line and are overly cautious about any excess spending. For a business to stay in business though, it has to have the best talent. Employing a more flexible workforce can help reduce costs by ensuring you have the best possible team members in the right positions, and not expending time and resources into candidates who may not necessarily be the best fit for the role or have the right expertise to be as productive as possible.

Due to their contingent status, it will be easier, faster, and more cost-effective to release a resource if they are not the best fit and to bring on someone who can be an instant contributor. When teams and budgets are lean, it is even more critical to ensure that each team member is in the right position to be as efficient as possible. A flexible staffing strategy can give you more control over personnel which can create an advantage over competitors with a more rigid labor structure, which makes them more vulnerable to economic highs and lows.


Engaging the Right Partner

I know this all sounds great in theory, but it can seem a bit daunting in actual practice. It’s imperative that you engage with the right vendor for your contingent resource needs. Staffing services are a saturated industry in many markets and it’s important to have a real partnership with your selected firm, who can help you design and execute a successful resource strategy. Utilizing specialty-focused vendors like Mindset, who is strictly concentrated on SAP and its related needs, can help streamline this process even further by pairing unique areas of expertise directly with your current team’s gaps. This is more often more effective than firms with a more blanket-like approach.

After working with you to assess your team’s needs holistically, we can help identify crucial talent areas. We can help connect you with the best possible resources, cutting your hiring time from weeks or months to merely days. The extra time saved from traditional hiring processes cannot be understated as organizations navigate this uniquely challenging business environment. If you would like to know more about our contingent staffing services, please feel free to reach out to me at We’d love to work with you!


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Sarah Lewis is a Senior Account Executive at Mindset with more than 8 years of experience working with clients on technical staffing needs and optimization projects. She loves helping clients solve problems, meeting new people, and collaborating with her talented team. Outside of work, Sarah is an avid runner, bookworm, and dog mom to two wonderful pups, Huckleberry & Jack. She enjoys hiking with her husband and competing in her recreational flag-football and kickball leagues.

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