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Before discussing the benefits associated with alternative solutions in a more detailed fashion, let’s list them in their entirety. They include the following:

1. Contract staffing
2. Temp-to-direct conversions
3. Retiree re-staffing
4. Internships/co-ops

Although all of the above are unique and vary depending upon situations and circumstances, all four are similar in the fact that they can provide needed flexibility during seemingly inflexible economic conditions. This is not to suggest that they replace hiring employees on a full-time basis. Instead, these staffing solutions complement a company’s direct-hire efforts in order to produce a diverse, comprehensive, and ultimately, more effective hiring strategy. Below are specific ways in which this strategy can benefit you.

Expand-contract factor—You can easily match your workload to your workforce, thus ensuring that you’re not overstaffed or understaffed and that your costs are more in line with production.

Immediate availability—Unlike direct-hire candidates, contract candidates are typically available on short notice, usually within days.

“Try-before-you-buy”—If you’re leery about hiring a candidate on a full-time basis, you can always start them on contract and eventually transition them over (temp-to-direct).

Budget flexibility—Speaking of costs, contractors are typically paid from the operating budget as opposed to the capital budget. As a result, you might still be able to hire contractors even when you’re experiencing budgetary constraints.

How much flexibility would contracting provide for your clients right now? In terms of investment, cost, and risk, there’s virtually no downside. Once a contractor has completed their project (or if they turn out to be a bad fit) they can be released from their assignment. Consider adding contracting to your business model, now and in 2010… because you—and your clients—can never have too much flexibility.

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