Our team has spent the last couple weeks connecting with clients to understand how they’re coping through the COVID-19 epidemic and new economy we’re all experiencing. Not surprising, every organization is experiencing different challenges.
There are devastating stories coming from industries like hospitality and oil and gas, where low demand has halted IT projects and layoffs are being announced in unprecedented numbers. Contrarily, in other industries, organizations have seen the development of new, urgent projects and demand for IT help can’t come fast enough. Telecommunications companies, for example, play a crucial role in a time like this as the world depends on their services — internet, telephone and media — to stay connected. Similarly, both retail and manufacturing industries require all the support they can get. Consumers are stocking up on items so much to the point that grocery stores can’t keep up. More importantly, healthcare services are lacking much needed equipment and manufacturing companies are shifting their entire operations to do what they can to help.
The Many Services of the Staffing Industry
These are just a few examples of the range of activities happening at companies across Canada. Regardless of the specific situation, uncertainty and stress levels are through the roof. As we have conversations with clients and learn about what’s driving their stress, we’re proud that our industry is able to provide support in various capacities:
- Finding the needed resources for companies who need to hire urgently;
- Managing those contract resources who are no longer required by unburdening clients and working with contractors to understand how we might help;
- Bringing ideas and stories to clients about what others in their industry are doing;
- Sharing our own experiences with work from home, pandemic planning etc.; and,
- Being another resource to talk with, for both clients and contractors, which is always important in times of stress.
Some Examples of What Eagle is Seeing and How We’re Bringing Value
We’re currently working with companies who are scrambling to hire and build teams that make website updates and build applications literally within hours. Others need extra resources to ensure their workforces of hundreds of people are set-up to work from home securely and efficiently. That requires rolling out new hardware and making configurations on mass scales.
Eagle has been able to bring relief to these organizations in a number of ways:
- We already have networks of readily available IT contractors.
- We find the right person quickly because we track IT contractors across Canada, we know which industries and technologies they specialize in, and we have knowledge about who’s available and when.
- In many cases, our recruiters reach out to contractors with experience and knowledge specific to a hiring organization, meaning they can start working at full capacity on Day 1, with little onboarding.
Overall, we’ve been successful at helping clients ramp up projects immediately so they can get their product and information to customers as quickly as possible.
On the flipside, as noted, we’re also having an unpleasant amount of conversations with clients who are struggling. Organizations where the leadership is working as hard as possible to keep things afloat, but the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible to sustain existing projects. Work is being cancelled, people are out of jobs, and productivity comes to a standstill. Eagle continues to bring value and support to these organizations too:
- We help deliver bad news to contractors who suddenly find themselves out of work.
- We do what we can to find those individuals new gigs with organizations needing skilled IT labour.
- We research and make available information in one place for contractors impacted by layoffs, which has also proven to be useful to clients who can share this information with their own employees.
- We work with managers to plan for the future.
Although slowing down today, we are hearing from these clients that their project plans, while on hold, are still very important. This will result in a pent-up demand once things settle. By better understand these upcoming requirements, even if the time is uncertain, we are able to help with planning for potential hires. Some clients are proactively hiring, with start dates quite far in the future. Some clients are interviewing (remotely) now, such that they can make hiring decisions faster when the time comes. Others are hoping that their staff being laid off will be available in the weeks and months ahead when they are needed again. Staffing companies are able to provide help with understanding rates, projected demand and projected availability to assist in making these kinds of decisions.
This is not an easy time for anyone. Companies and individuals are dealing with stress and anxiety from all angles, whether it be concerns with financial stability or health. The recruitment industry prides itself on building solid teams that keep companies successful and that is what Eagle has vowed to do for the coming months. We encourage all organizations, those who are hiring and those who are hurting, to reach out to their staffing partners today. Learn what we can do for you and take advantage of our expertise wherever possible. We will all come out on the other side stronger when we stick together.
Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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