Staffing, Hiring, and Workforce Considerations Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Nathaniel G. Sizemore, Esq., PRG Division President
The purpose of this article is to help your organization navigate the staffing, hiring, and workforce challenges your company may be facing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As staffing experts, the Premier Resources Group (PRG) has a unique perspective on talent management and staffing industry best practices. As such, we wanted to share our initial thoughts and insights as your company evaluates, develops, and executes staffing and workforce action plans in the coming weeks.
Immediately Reducing Headcount Could Have Unintended Negative Consequences
First, please fight the urge to begin cost-cutting by immediately reducing headcount. Whether your workforce is primarily direct-hire employees, contract resources, or a combination of both, the primary risks in immediately cutting headcount are two-fold: (1) you lose high-value, well-trained resources; and (2) you risk inadequate scope coverage as the economy, and your company rebounds.
As you know, it takes time to find, interview, hire, and train good talent. Consequently, it will take time, energy, effort, and money to recoup talent with the same knowledge and experience as your current staff/workforce. It is also unsafe to assume that terminated talent will be available for re-hire in the coming months. Many folks will take other jobs or otherwise be unavailable for the same role when the economy begins to recover. In short, when it comes to a possible reduction in the workforce, do not use a sickle when scissors will suffice.
Cost Reductions Can Be Achieved Without Lay-Offs
Second, when it comes to cost-cutting by reducing the workforce, there are viable alternatives to immediate lay-offs. And, while there are many variations of possible alternative models, I encourage you to discuss the general concepts with your company’s leadership team and evaluate which one(s) may work for your organization.
For example, leadership expert, Simon Sinek, recently suggested that organizations consider a company-wide mandatory unpaid furlough system, where all (or many) employees are required to take a week or two weeks of unpaid leave, on staggered schedules, to reduce overall salary overhead in 2Q2020. Additionally, for companies with contract resources, a temporary reduction in the contract resources’ work hours and/or job scope is a simple alternative to sending them home entirely.
The key to all of the above is good communication and transparency regarding the process – everyone understands this pandemic is unprecedented. Still, most folks would welcome reduced pay or mandatory furlough as opposed to receiving a pink slip.
Consider PRG as a Resource for Your Leadership Team
Third, please feel free to use PRG as a resource as you develop your COVID-19 workforce/talent strategy plans. Simply stated, we are talent experts and advisors who are happy to help your organization work through the talent side of this global pandemic.
Moreover, we suggest that companies keep posting, and interviewing for, key open positions. One of my staffing team members said that last week's applications for many client jobs were “eerily” low – that dearth in applicant activity is, no doubt, a consequence of industry uncertainty and market volatility. However, we suggest that companies continue to interview (and advertise they are doing so) for key positions to ensure that the talent pipeline remains strong. PRG has the capability to host virtual/video interviews, and to honor the concept of “social distancing,” PRG would be happy to help companies conduct video interviews in the coming weeks to ensure your hiring process remains robust.
To candidates looking for a job, I urge you to visit the PRG Careers Page (https://www.theprgteam.com/careers) to view our available open positions and/or submit your resume to our candidate database for general consideration for future opportunities. We have multiple clients who are still actively hiring.
The American Economy Will Bounce Back
Finally, I want to offer a few words of encouragement. In short, Americans are smart, innovative, strong, and resilient – as such, COVID-19 is no match for the American spirit and the resiliency of the construction industry in our great country. While we may experience some choppy seas in the next few months, I am confident that we will come through this storm stronger than ever. Let us know how we can help during this challenging time!