Posted by Robert Half on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 06:00 | Follow me
Entrepreneurs cherish the myth of the small company taking its market by storm, overcoming long odds and catching its much larger competitors napping. Behind this heroic storyline, however, is a harsh reality. Many small businesses face challenges their larger rivals don’t: meager startup budgets and haphazard recruiting in an intensely competitive market for specialized talent.
Big companies have established reputations, large budgets for recruitment, and enough human resources personnel to vet candidates, manage the hiring process, administer training and apply sophisticated payroll, tax and benefit programs. A small company’s HR department, by contrast, may be a handful of individuals coping with rapidly growing staff and complex regulations, with only basic systems and limited budgets — or worse, one administrative assistant who handles HR as one of myriad other pressing duties.
Fortunately, a variety of workforce solutions are available to make small companies more competitive, even when they can’t afford to maintain large, full-time HR teams. The term “solution,” in today’s technology-saturated culture, often is assumed to mean a tool — and indeed, many companies have adopted online job boards and social media as recruiting resources. But some of the most critical “solutions” include services. For small business, the HR function includes an array of skills for which a dynamic market for outsourcing opportunities, both traditional and highly innovative, has evolved in recent years.
Part of what differentiates larger companies from their upstart competitors is not budget-driven. Often, big companies are simply more sophisticated in their approach to staffing, in ways that small businesses can emulate.
Many companies have moved from traditional hiring models toward what HR professionals call “strategic staffing.” Rather than viewing their operations solely in terms of conventional jobs, they take a big-picture look at the needs, tasks and responsibilities that must be met and address them by hiring a mix of full-time, part-time and contingent workers. In some cases, full-time staff may be relatively few, with employees adept at closely collaborating with well-trained outside contractors.
How temporary work has changed
Workforce solutions include the use of independent contractors and staffing firms that find and place candidates for a variety of roles at client companies. While it’s still valuable to be able to hand off smaller tasks to interim employees, many temporary professionals have highly specialized skills in critical niche areas. As such, companies now turn to staffing firms for project professionals at all levels.
The most potent workforce solutions, with the most to offer small companies, include working with staffing agencies that have access to higher-level professionals and the strategic vision to advise on the most cost-effective ways to balance internal and contingent resources. This approach allows businesses to find people with the specialized talent essential for success today, but whom small companies often have the hardest time locating.