Flexible Work Schedules and the Staffing Industry

Flexible Working Policy Concept. Text On Notebook On Office Desk

If you do a Google Search for “flexible work schedules” you will literally get millions of results. This should surprise nobody. In survey after survey (Forbes and Harvard Business Review for examples) of what workers most desire, “flexible work schedules” is always at the top of the list.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has written many times about the necessity of flexible work schedules and in February 2023 they published an article on why flexible work schedules were here to stay. This is in spite of recent backtracking on the subject of flexibility by executives like Elon Musk, who last year issued an ultimatum to his Tesla employees to “Spend at least 40 hours per week in the office or quit.”

So even though there has been a bit of a post pandemic power shift recently from employees to employers who are using that opportunity to back-pedal on “flexibility”, I tend to agree with SHRM that the issue of Flexibility in work schedules or work arrangements is here to stay. This includes working from home especially in a hybrid solution.

The reasons are threefold; first workers overwhelmingly want it, second, technology has greatly enabled and facilitated it, and third, it has proven to be successful, i.e., at least equally as productive and significantly contributing to stability of their employment.

The Staffing Industry’s Increasing Role in Flexibility

As an industry, staffing has a history of delivering flexibility and is uniquely able to continue providing and enhance flexibility in the workplace. New app driven staffing software enables online applications, onboarding, benefits management job and client rating, and even instant self-scheduling for available shift work for any and all pre-approved workers.

They can just pull out their App and select any open shift for one company or several. They can then get paid automatically from a single source via direct deposit to bank accounts with pre-issued debit cards and checks provided, and other App driven banking and saving services.

Even the recruitment process is now equally integrated with the hiring, onboarding, placement, self-scheduling, supervision, communication, payroll delivery, banking, healthcare, and overall general management.

Most staffing companies are familiar with the job posting service, “Indeed”, because many of them post their own job openings with them.

It may not be as well known that “Indeed” recently purchased (quietly) a very dynamic and successful staffing platform in England called “Syft” about 3 years ago. It thenre-branded it as “Indeed Flex US” and quietly (again) brought it over to the US.

It is quite significant that when “Indeed” purchased Syft, they rebranded it with, not only the well-established “Indeed” name but added the word “Flex”.

This word was obviously chosen to both capitalize on the very popular issue of flexibility in work scheduling but also to advertise their own flexibility in how their staffing services would be delivered.

The synergy created by a top job posting platform like “Indeed”and a state-of- the- art, App driven, and cloud-based staffing company like “Indeed Flex US”has to be a formula for success. There are not many like it.

Although every successful staffing company has to be skilled in both recruitment and placement, not many staffing companies have the ability to create a recruiting site of the size, complexity, and experience level of a company like “Indeed”, especially right out of the gate! But that is what “Indeed” was when it launched its own staffing company.

Nor does the average staffing company have the ability to acquire by purchaseor development an international staffing company like “Indeed Flex US”. They may be just recently launched (2020) but it was a fully functioning staffing company it was purchased from the British company, Syft.

The point here is not the competitive advantage that this new company may have over its competitors (more on that below) but simply to point out that this top international job posting company, when it purchased a staffing company, rebranded it by adding only one word to its own well-known name and that word was “Flex” as in Flexible and Flexibility.

Temporary staffing companies have always emphasized flexibility with their clients (“flex staff”, etc.) and with its contract workers (part-time or full time, short term or permanent). Today, flexible work schedules are not only desired by millions of workers, but they are also a necessity in our very busy and often complex personal lives.

In the US businesses today we have problems with burnout, quiet quitting, outright quitting, early retirements, productivity, toxic work environments, unhappy employees, and more. Flexibility in work scheduling will not solve all these problems but if the data is correct on the great desire and need for greater flexibility is scheduling work, then it will solve some and, at least, mitigate many others.

Most staffing companies have made great progress in recent years to add more flexible services to their contract workers through advances in their staffing software. These online applications, employee web portals, debit card instant payment and other free banking services, health insurance options and no cost preventive health care, App based onboarding, communication services, and instant shift self-selections, instant income, and employment verifications for any purpose, and more coming.

Most staffing companies also routinely advocate with their clients for almost any reasonable work schedule that is needed or desired. They have been doing that forever.

Where the smaller staffing companies need help is in competing with companies like “Indeed Flex US”. One possible solution may arise from the sheer number of staffing companies in the US market. I get figures ranging from 12,000 to 22,000. ASA and SIA searches are silent so I must depend on a Google search alone.

So here is a possible very raw idea that needs a whole lot of review and rewrite.

Just using the lowest figure of 12,000 staffing companies and making allowance for many companies having several branch offices, the number of physical (not virtual) locations would be somewhere close to 20,000.

Each of these locations knows their particular market quite well. They each have core staff who know where their jobs seekers and clients come from. And, because each office may well have an average of three, the combined staff would be above 60,000. Together these companies cover every corner of the entire country. If you put all their available job offerings together, on a common job board there would be a minimum of 200,000 jobs listed and quite probably many more.

Finally, if just 5% of the existing companies (not including branches) or 600 companies and each of these 600 contributed just $25,000, you would have $15 million to build a state-of-the-art, cloud-based platform that would feature a beautiful job board with a minimum of 200,000 jobs and 1,000,000 resumes; just for starters!

Other independent staffing companies, who met certain criteria, could buy in at a price to be determined.

I do not have a name for this new company, but the tag line might be something like “Serving the Flexibility Needs of Our Clients and Contract Employees.”

As Always, Stay Safe, and continue to pray for Ukraine.