Are You Ready to Respond to the End of Employees?

By Veronica Blatt

A West headshotToday’s guest blogger is Amy West, senior business development consultant with TFI Resources, a Division of People 2.O, a North American Alliance Partner of NPAworldwide. TFI Resources provides employer of record services for contract placements.

If projections from The Wall Street Journal ring true, recruiters will continue to face an increased demand for contract placements. The WSJ article published February 2, 2017 explains: “Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people. The outsourcing wave that moved apparel-making jobs to China and call-center operations to India is now just as likely to happen inside companies across the U.S. and in almost every industry.”

Are you poised and prepared to take advantage of this growth and opportunity? Don’t cut yourself short! Get your piece of the pie!

Assess Readiness, Communicate Value

“Few companies, workplace consultants, or economists expect the outsourcing trend to reverse,” continues WSJ. “Moving noncore jobs out of a company allows it to devote more time and energy to the things it does best. When an outside firm is in charge of labor, it assumes the day-to-day grind […] and the company worries only about the final product.”

For most companies in the recruiting industry, assuming the “day-to-day grind” is a given, right? Of course you’re expected to take that on, but can you do more? Your prospects and clients are facing a variety of complex challenges every day. How can you help them in new and unexpected ways? Can you offer a solution or present a suggestion? By understanding their challenges and distinguishing yourself and your business as a partner to overcome those obstacles, you’ll be setting yourself up for increased revenue-per-customer, as well as much “stickier” relationships with added value that is a long-term competitive advantage – and a win-win! Tune in. Listen. Uncover the second and third level challenges your prospects and clients are facing, and then consider how you can help meet those needs.

As you stop cutting yourself and your company short, you’ll begin to shift your perspective beyond vendor-mentality and move towards higher value-add relationships. A key thought on this point: don’t take your value for granted! Most importantly, always, always know the “why” behind your client’s use of your services.

For example, in the case of Southwest Airlines, use of contingent workers is not just about meeting the present demand, but a long-term strategic consideration. Greg Muccio, the company’s head of recruiting, relies on a contingent workforce to stay flexible and scalable, saying, “we don’t want to balloon up and then be in a situation where we need to lay people off.” Southwest’s wide use of a contingent workforce also translates to powerful byproduct benefits – it plays an important role in maintaining their brand and core employee morale. This is an important distinction, and belies a vastly greater perception on the part of the client – of the true value added by staffing service providers. How do your clients perceive your firm?

So, know the ‘why’ and probe deep to uncover client challenges, and so reveal opportunities to grow sticky, value-driven relationships. Identify residual benefits of what you do, offer guidance and advice to inform strategy, and clearly communicate your offerings and achievements for client companies into tangible, quantifiable, and specific results.

Eliminate Fear, Dismiss the Myths

You can’t be ready with fear and doubt mixing in your thoughts. As Louis Pasteur said, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” So being ready for success requires you to have a clear picture of the opportunities ahead and how misconceptions you may have could be an obstacle to your business growth.

The numbers themselves are very clear and compelling. The demand for contingent workers continues to increase. In fact, according to research published by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), the percent of U.S. workforce that is contingent was 12% in 2009, 16% in 2012, and 22% in 2016. It’s not slowing down either, as SIA projects that by 2026, 29% of the entire American workforce will consist of contingent workers.

That certainly makes a compelling case for you to blast any myths that could have you missing out on this revenue stream! The truth is that the savviest recruiting firms have already moved beyond only traditional direct-hire recruiting to benefit from the lucrative opportunities found in contract recruiting. If you’re not among them, time for a gut-check. Are you still subscribing to fear and uncertainty that stems from persistent myths about contract recruiting? If you find yourself nodding to any of the following statements, then brace yourself for some myth-busting:

  • Contract recruiting isn’t my business model.
  • I specialize in “niche” recruitment.
  • Contract staffing is an administrative nightmare.
  • My candidates wouldn’t want a contract job.
  • I can earn more money in Direct Hire fees than contract placements.
  • Contract recruiting is hard!

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but continuing to accept these myths as truth is doing nothing but taking money out of your bank account – less income today and significantly lower business valuations down the road. To counter this, look for ways to learn how you can accommodate contract needs from clients and how you can effectively offer contract services. It’s probably easier than you imagine. You should also determine what kind of profit you can expect by offering contract placements – a strategic industry partner can help you with this (you are welcome to contact me and I’ll be happy to advise if I can).

Think about it … The end of employees could be just the beginning for new revenue for you.

If you want to learn more about contract placements and will be attending the NPAworldwide Global Conference later this month, be sure to participate in the round table discussion I’m leading on Saturday, March 25 at 11:40 AM. I’d also love to hear your feedback on the topic – reach me at or call 713-600-5202.

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