We’re in the home stretch now, pushing to deliver on our holiday and year-end objectives. And get off the ground running for 2024.
But we’re running lean. Very lean.
And crossing the finish line is getting harder and harder. With inflation pressures and high interest rates, cost-cutting is the direction in every company.
Remember the Great Resignation? A distant memory at this point. We’ve now gone full circle to the era of mass layoffs and hiring freezes. Hitting some of the largest companies in the business and areas ranging from technology and retail, to manufacturing and marketing, to finance and other business services – this year’s job cuts have already surpassed all those announced in 2022. In fact, one report says the pool of laid-off talent is now at least five million deep and counting.
The silver lining?
Highly experienced professionals, often mid-to-senior level, are opting for the flexibility of on-demand and fractional employment – good news for those of us trying to meet mission-critical business needs without the right resources. Consider bridging with on-demand plug-and-play and fractional talent.
Specialized and offering operational experience, these project-based professionals are able to ramp up quickly and can be critical in keeping business moving forward after layoffs or during hiring freezes.
I can tell you, in the 20+ years we’ve been supporting clients through our FleXforce® group, we’ve never seen a higher level of plug-and-play talent. And it’s been shown time and time again that this can be a highly effective strategy for fast-growing businesses.
A few tips to consider:
Start by reviewing current workloads. Identify: Which specialized skillsets – like, digital, financial, marketing - are missing and essential for success? Which pivotal management or leadership roles are currently unfilled – whether due to hiring constraints, maternity or paternity leaves, or other unforeseen situations – and are leaving the team struggling to deliver? Which strategic project needs can’t be handled without burning out your retained staff?
Make sure your on-demand candidate has the exact experience you need. With at least 15 years of operational experience. You want them to jump in and get the job done – quickly and effectively. While there are lots of people on the street anxious to find work, there can often be a mismatch of needs and expertise.
Remember, the labor cycle is likely to continue to evolve. Plug-and-play contracting will allow you to test talent before committing to a more permanent position when hiring freezes are lifted.
Longer term, think about how plug-and-play and fractional hiring strategies can be incorporated into your overall employee mix. Where does it make sense to supplement your current team on a project basis? How can this approach be best used to help reduce the need for future layoffs?
Finally, don’t fall into the trap of cutting L&D during this time, as it can impact your customer satisfaction, innovation initiatives, and, ultimately, profitable growth. Nearly a quarter of US employers face major skills gaps, according to a recent Salary.com report. Not surprising, really, with continuing changes in digital, media, and marketing technology making skillsets go stale in less than two years. Upskilling is the way to ensure your team’s expertise doesn’t become obsolete and the business can still thrive despite hiring challenges. We’re currently helping several CPG companies facing hiring freezes to reposition to stay on top, through enterprise-wide L&D initiatives in omnicommerce and retail media that are already accelerating market performance.
In the end, whether you’re building a brand, generating an innovation pipeline, or creating a go-to-market strategy, it all comes down to having strong, qualified, and flexible talent to succeed in today’s dynamic marketplace. It doesn’t matter if you’re a major company trying to keep the business on track, or a start-up looking to punch above your weight.
So I ask:
Are you satisfied to fall behind given the obstacles, or are you ready to adjust your talent strategies to cross that finish line?