The Outsourcing Answer

Oliver Harris, Global MD, Page Outsourcing on why outsourcing could be the answer to pandemic challenges

Since the pandemic began, companies have been faced with multiple challenges as a result of a succession of lengthy lockdowns. Business continuity plans have been pushed to the forefront, and the ability to adapt has never been more crucial when it comes to bouncing back and thriving again.

At a time where budgets are squeezed, cost-effectiveness has been a key focus for all organisations. Looking at business areas that have been most impacted by cuts, it’s clear that talent acquisition has suffered hugely from the rollercoaster of the pandemic. From slowing down in March 2020 (with many companies hitting pause completely) to then suddenly picking back up in 2021, the need for agility in recruitment is simple. Fixed and static talent acquisition teams find it harder to pivot and adapt in line with major global events and crises, which has meant that many have had to downsize throughout the pandemic to reflect the dip in hiring. But how will that affect businesses as hiring picks back up?

We’re seeing a huge increase in businesses wanting to bolster their recruitment, but they want to be sure they are taking learnings from the pandemic onboard. They may need to hire hundreds of new staff to account for pent up demand, but they now lack the capacity to facilitate the internal recruitment. Do they hire back into their internal talent acquisition teams? What if another crisis affects their ability to recruit and they find themselves in the same position as before with more resource than needed? Plus, how long will it take to hire and train a new recruitment team to fill this urgent current demand?

It’s a confusing time, and many will be asking themselves what the best way forward is when it comes to hiring in the future. These are the two main things business leaders and employers must remember:

• Agility is key
The ability to draw down on extra services, support, expertise and hiring models and flex your requirements to reflect the current landscape is crucial to business efficiency and profitability. The ability to be all systems go one month and on hold the next really aligns your recruitment strategy with the associated business activity.
• Flexibility is freedom
Having a flexible recruitment plan that’s able to scale up or down as required will alleviate short term stress, leaving leaders free to focus on the bigger picture as opposed to operational challenges.

Many businesses are now looking at how they can use insight gleaned from the pandemic to make them more agile. Lots are turning to outsourcing as an option, where both agility and flexibility are at the centre of its purpose. Not only do the pricing models now reflect the cyclical nature of recruitment, but clients can also tap into the expertise they need to make their recruitment process best-in-class. This will enable them to thrive when faced with the need to bring in high volumes of top talent at speed.
Not only that, but outsourcing providers can play an invaluable role in helping organisations better understand their existing permanent, contingent and consultant workforce populations. This can be achieved through providing technology and insights to capture a clearer picture of effectiveness, productivity and worker satisfaction, enabling employers to make more informed decisions. Insights provided by outsourcing partners have been known to help drive forward things such as internal mobility, reskilling/repurposing, removing inefficiencies, improving worker satisfaction, output and more.

The pandemic has caused many businesses to have a lack of long-term visibility, which can be incredibly stressful when it comes to making future plans for both employees and customers. That’s why partnering with an experienced third party, which is able to scale up and scale down its services at short notice, can provide organisations with peace of mind in knowing that hiring activities and expectations will be met regardless of volume, budget and time.

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