Small businesses looking for temporary staffing? Here’s what you must ensure to meet short-term demands

Published: November 19, 2019 12:17 PM

Skilling, Labour, Talent for MSMEs: According to data supplied by staffing firms, temporary hiring registers a 10 per cent - 15 per cent during the festive season, with e-commerce platforms leading the fray.

Temporary staffing has emerged as the preferred arrangement for companies to meet the seasonal demand for blue-collar workers.
  • By Siddhartha Gupta

Skilling, Labour, Talent for MSMEs: In India, the festive season – which extends roughly between Onam and the New Year – comprises the period of high economic activity. It appears only natural that companies across sectors would need to hire more workers to ease the amplified workload due to increased buying activity during the festive season. This time, however, the factors in this equation have switched places. In the wake of the current slowdown, companies are looking to stimulate consumer demand on the back of aggressive sales campaigning- raising the need for additional staffing.

Customer service, sales, and logistics are some of the business departments where the need for manpower is fulfilled by flexi-hiring. In light of the provisional nature of this exigency, temporary staffing has emerged as the preferred arrangement for companies to meet the seasonal demand for blue-collar workers. According to data supplied by staffing firms, temporary hiring registers a 10 per cent – 15 per cent during the festive season, with e-commerce platforms leading the fray.

Furthermore, millennial consumers prefer to engage in mass purchasing throughout the festive sale period via EMI options, discount offers, package schemes, and so on. This, in turn, results in a spike in the business activities for financial companies. No wonder then that the BFSI and retail follow hot on the heels of e-commerce in terms of temporary hiring during this season. This scenario presents good avenues for those looking for short-term employment opportunities, including fresh graduates and young individuals. 

What SMEs should look for while flexi-hiring

The provisional nature of this seasonal exigency demands companies to hire a large number of workers in a relatively short span. Since the goal of conducting temporary hiring is to meet immediate, short-term demand, enterprises may not drive the recruitment process with the same level of rigour as invested during the recruiting of permanent employees. This leaves enterprises, especially small- and medium-sized businesses, prone to give a pass to candidates who, for various reasons, may not be altogether fit for the job role on offer. 

Also read: MSME credit woes no more? Outstanding bank loans jump; small businesses borrowed this much last year

One of them is the lack of relevant skills, such as a delivery personnel’s familiarity with smartphones or mobile applications. While this challenge is typically resolved when the temporary staff is trained in the nitty-gritty of their jobs, there is another aspect that largely goes overlooked but, nonetheless, exerts significant influence upon the performance of businesses. 

Workers who exhibit traits deemed undesirable, such as insensitivity, self-obsession, impulsiveness, etc., are more likely to jeopardize the safety of their colleagues as well as customers. Any discrepancy in the customer-facing operations caused by irresponsible behaviour displayed by defaulting employees can deal a damaging blow to a brand’s reputation. 

When it comes to SMEs and emerging ventures, such a situation can result in repelling potential customers which, in turn, translates into them incurring irreparable financial losses. Apart from taking the appropriate measures while hiring temporary staff, businesses also need to identify troublemakers from the existing employee base. This will enable them to keep defaulters under check and facilitate a smooth work culture conducive to organizational growth. 

Also, it can help organizations save on avoidable expenditure of driving hiring from scratch – which then can be leveraged to bolster other aspects of business operations. Up-and-coming companies can thus leverage the combination of cutting-edge technologies and smart decision-making to orient festive season’s frenzied economic energy towards achieving growth and scale. 

By leveraging relevant technologies to hire the best candidates, SMEs can deliver superior customer experience even, and especially, during the festive sale period. Furthermore, enterprises can keep a list of best-performing candidates to recall them for subsequent iterations. Rather than considering this particular strategy as an option, budding enterprises should treat this as a business imperative.

(Siddhartha Gupta is the CEO at Mercer|Mettl. Views expressed are the author’s own.)

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