Webinar recap: 3 strategies to bring businesses & communities back stronger

Posted 06/22/20 Team Vaco

Recently, we had the privilege of getting three of our managing partners together — virtually — to discuss how they’re helping businesses and communities come back stronger than ever. 

We hope you’ll check out the full webinar at your convenience, but here’s an overview of what Vaco managing partners Bart Marcum (Birmingham), Wayne Lynch (Dallas), and Denise Bennett-Walls (Orlando) had to say about the state of work today.

But first, let’s start with some good news: the economy is rebounding. With unemployment rates declining in May to 13.3% — and with the unemployment rate among degreed professionals in accounting and finance and technology being much, much lower — states are beginning to step back into an open economy.

Because there are so many different variables to consider, it can be tough for companies to develop a safe and strategic return-to-work plan during this transitional time. With all 50 states in different stages of reopening, 39% of companies are planning a phased reopening strategy (SHRM). To make matters even more challenging, states are taking different approaches to reopening. 

This is where return-to-work solutions and managed services come into the picture. 

Here at Vaco, we’re focusing on ensuring the safety of our employees and our clients’ employees as they come back to work, helping companies mitigate their risk (currently, no laws have been passed to protect companies should an employee contract COVID-19 in the workplace), and developing solid hiring strategies. 

To accomplish this, we’ve developed post-COVID-19 return-to-work solutions that include thermal scanning, contact tracing, and remote interim staffing.

Thermal scanning, a managed services success story

“One of the CDC’s recommendations is that we monitor employee health and symptoms,” said Lynch. “We have a large client in Ft. Worth … who reached out to us, and they, in an effort to really ensure the safety of their employees, wanted to place thermal screeners, in other words, someone to take employees’ temperatures, at each of their entrance points. It was actually a tremendously complex project because they have 5 different plants, 17 different entrance points, and 3 shifts a day.”

“When we were first contacted to define the scope of the project, it was a Tuesday afternoon and they wanted to go live by Thursday morning. It was quite the challenge,” Lynch continued. “We hired 100 people in less than 48 hours, and had them all background checked, interviewed, and screened … it was a huge success. And going forward this may actually be a job.”

Check out the case study or CNBC’s feature on the project to learn more. 

Contact tracing, a new specialty

Contact tracing is a specialty project that requires a lot of people to trace the individuals who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It’s an incredibly important public health initiative, but it’s also a time- and labor-intensive process. Contact tracing involves careful investigative research and legwork. 

Healthcare providers, municipalities, and states are finding contact tracing to be especially challenging to staff because no one knows exactly how many people are needed to do the job well: it varies on a case-by-case basis. 

“This could be going on for six months, 12 months … we’re not really sure where this totally ends,” said Marcum, who has been collaborating with companies in Alabama to come up with contact tracing solutions. “How do you staff that? What do you do? Do they need 25, 50, or 75 folks? The idea with staffing is that it offers flexibility.”

“You have to solve staffing needs based on what is needed right now,” noted Marcum. “Not what was needed last year but what’s needed today.”

Given the need for scalability, contact tracing as a managed service is a great staffing resource to reopen your business or community. 

Remote interim staffing, project-based resources

“Although companies have reduced workforce, there’s still the struggle to stay competitive and to be relevant,” said Lynch. “Where a lot of projects may have been put on temporary hold a month or so ago, now those projects are just as critical as they were before we went into this.”

Companies can be reluctant to hire full-time employees because they still don’t know the depth of the economic impact of this crisis. One of the biggest benefits of remote interim staffing is that it offers the flexibility to figure things out while staying on top of a growing workload.

Remote staffing improves diversity, opens employers up to a global, skills-driven talent pool, expedites hiring, reduces hiring costs, and reduces operational costs. 

“As companies reduce their workforce, sometimes they keep their strongest players and release their weakest players,” Lynch continued. “So this can actually turn into a positive in that companies have the opportunity to improve the quality of their workforce, to bring stronger players in, and in many cases, we’re seeing that companies prefer to bring people in on a contract basis with an option to hire them. And they do that to advance the work. 

“For example, a company may have a customer-facing, revenue-generating portal that’s critical to remain current and up-to-date. The same goes for accounting and finance with quarter-end close and year-end close — that work doesn’t go away, but now you’re looking at it with a reduced workforce. How do you adapt to that? You adapt by bringing in contract employees with an option to hire,” said Lynch. 

“What’s most important is that I hope our clients start building a strategy. I think there’s a misconception that there’s a ton of programmers, a ton of accounting and finance people. And that’s not the case. We’re working just as hard, if not harder, right now to make sure our clients have the best talent. And that’s for markets throughout the country,”  added Bennett-Walls. “You have to develop a new talent strategy on how you’re going to get the work done while staying competitive so you can really come out ahead of this in 2020 and 2021 … I do think that you’ll find companies that are able to be more competitive because they’ve strategized.”

Our goal is to provide companies with the talent they need when they need it. Businesses are facing new challenges every day. We have resources and the freedom to create the solutions you need to help overcome today’s immediate challenges. 

Vaco’s flexible return-to-work solutions provide scalable, turnkey services. We’re ready to help you keep your employees safe, address talent gaps, and find a new norm. Take a look at our return-to-work solutions or contact us to learn more.

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