Don’t Rule Out Staff Augmentation or Contract Staff to Meet Your Program Needs
The labor market is tight, and it is getting tighter, especially in the Business Continuity profession! It’s really an unbelievable collision of a few factors. First off, the unemployment rate is at a historic low of 3.5% and it’s measuring at about 1-2% for the Business Continuity profession. Secondly, there have been an unprecedented number of new jobs posted per week. Between 2014 – 2018 the number of new job postings in the Business Continuity profession would average between 5 – 10. In 2019 there was an average of 34 a week! Last week alone (the week of January 13th) we tracked 64 new BCM related job postings. There have been 147 new jobs posted so far in 2020! Hiring across all sectors has increased, but the surge in business continuity is unmatched to anything I’ve witnessed in my 20+ years of recruiting in this profession. True, it was harder to find job postings prior to LinkedIn and so many job boards, but I do truly believe that increased executive awareness, budgets, regulatory requirements and natural, technical and human/ business disasters is prompting a lot of the hiring activity in our niche. And lastly, the true and tried method of posting your position on social media no longer works. Waiting for candidates to apply would suffice prior to 2019. Now my business associates are ignoring dozens of LinkedIn InMail’s from recruiters – and some of these professionals are unhappy in their current job.
There are always creative options to consider when looking to add to staff! Last August Brian Zawada (of Avalution) and I posted an article “Five Staffing Options to Drive Business Continuity”. One of the options highlighted in this article is staff augmentation (AKA contract/ temporary staff), which is often over-looked within organizations. Staff augmentation solutions; however, is one of the quickest ways to accomplish your program goals. And, even better yet, we’ve been assisting clients with contract personnel since 2001. Let’s walk through some of the benefits that a staff augmentation/ contract staffing model provides.
First, it’s best suited for project related tasks for a finite period of time and there is someone within the organization who can directly manage the professional(s). We’ve previously assisted organizations in placing contract staff to assist with conducting a BIA/ gap analysis, documentation/ implementation of a program, exercise and after-action plans, program assessments in alignment with standards, migrating to a cloud environment as well as data center consolidation/ moves. Contract staff can assist with any short-term related project that you can manage, while still keeping you free to be strategic. Essentially, look at solving a short-term business problem tied to a specific program deliverable. With some of my clients they were able to make a business case on how critical their program needs were that they were able to supplement their budget from other business functions.
Secondly, this creative staffing option is very common in other disciplines from IT, accounting to program management. Many organizations will utilize this concept to even cover the shortfall in personnel during a maternity leave or a short-term disability. If your addition to headcount was denied, your awaiting approval for headcount or (even worse yet) your company has implemented a hiring freeze, will this shortfall in staff impact your ability to protect your organization’s employees, assets, meet your customer needs or jeopardize your ability to respond to a disaster or audit? The first step is understanding the time it will take to accomplish your program goals and then how much you can realistically accomplish with the number of current personnel. If you’re falling short on hours and your addition to staff is stalled, then propose an alternative – contract staff.
Lastly (in many cases), engaging contract staff can be easier and quicker than hiring an FTE. With an FTE, you need to make the business case that a new hire is needed for an indefinite amount of time in addition to going through the budget approval process. Also, once you receive the approval to add to staff the job is then posted with your internal Human Resources/ Recruitment team. And our data is now showing that 21% of jobs are open longer than 2 months, 8% are open longer then 4 months and 4% are open longer than 6 months. (These data points are specific to BC/DR related job postings in 2019.) You could easily go 6-9 months from posting your opening to having your new hire working and somewhat trained on your program’s methodology. Are you willing to wait that long? In the last year we’ve received more client inquiries than ever before on contract staff. Companies are seeking contract staff to assist while they hire full-time, permanent staff and others bring on contract staff with the intent to convert them to permanent once the budget is approved. It makes sense due to the quick turn-a-round, industry expertise and you control the budget.
One of the hidden secrets that I haven’t disclosed yet is that onboarding contract staff significantly increases your opportunity, as a hiring manager, to engage a third-party recruitment agency, such as BC Management. I know it’s shocking. I was even surprised myself! With the majority of our clients it’s easier and quicker to sign a Master Service Agreement, work with procurement on the PO and start interviewing candidates when it’s a contract role versus a permanent hire. In the case of a permanent hire, you have more red tape to cross – onboarding with your internal Human Resources team. Your Human Resource team is likely required to follow protocol of first posting the job internally, then posting the job through company channels and working through the process and then finally working with their list of approved recruitment vendors. It can sometimes take a month to approve a new recruiting vendor of your choice. With all this delay, the executive management team may start to wonder if your “new hire” is really necessary. Worse yet, if a hiring freeze is implemented across the company, you can forget your addition to staff being approved or onboarded.
Don’t let your job go open too long or settle for a candidate that doesn’t meet your requirements. Please know that we’re here to help if you’re challenged with your staffing model or making a business case for alternate staffing solutions. With decades of recruitment expertise in business continuity, resiliency, risk management, crisis management and security, we have so many secrets to share to help you from writing a job description, targeting a compensation range, developing a recruitment strategy and even how to onboard a specialized BCM recruitment team. Arrange a complimentary discussion today at firstname.lastname@example.org.