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In order to maximize your productivity and keep your pipeline as full as possible throughout all of 2010, it’s critical that you accurately assess your clients’ needs. The easiest way in which to accomplish that, of course, would be to ask them. However, depending upon the type of relationship you have with each one (including the length of time they’ve been a client), that might not be a feasible option.

However, the best way to ensure that you can meet your clients’ needs is to be flexible enough in your service offerings and versatile enough to provide whatever it is they’re seeking. While direct hire will still play a role in companies’ workforce planning for 2010, there’s an excellent chance that contract staffing will also be an increasingly important factor.

In fact, between 70% and 80% of all companies in the U.S. utilize contract workers in one capacity or another. That percentage could gravitate more toward 80% in the months ahead, and of those 80%, more companies could utilize contract workers to a greater extent. The primary reason is that they’ll be in need of flexibility, and contract staffing can provide that flexibility. Below are some scenarios that help to illustrate the point.

1. The company is under a hiring freeze, but still needs workers to complete a project.
2. The company has a direct-hire candidate, but it wants to place them as a contractor before offering direct employment (a “try-before-you-buy” tactic).
3. The company has located a contractor for a project, but does not want to add them to its payroll.
4. The company wants to bring retired workers back on a contract basis to help with a project or deadline.
5. The company needs to convert a 1099 independent contractor to a W-2 employee because of concerns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

(In my next blog entry, I’ll discuss how you can help your clients’ current needs with contracting and how contract staffing is quick, easy, and painless.)

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