Although the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns have introduced unprecedented challenges for those companies providing firms with talent, it has also created opportunities for them to help their contingent workforce buyers.  It is not “businesses as usual” for either contingent workforce programs or  temporary workforce suppliers that place workers. All have been thrown for a loop. In this environment, suppliers are rising to the challenge helping clients and the talent an inspiring display of strength. Here’s a look at what staffing companies are doing to elevate the world of work for its clients and talent.

In a special edition of its Pulse Survey Report, SIA asked staffing providers about actions they have taken in response to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Eighty-six firms provided responses to the open-ended question.

Connecting people. The most common themes in the staffing firms’ open-ended responses included transitioning staff to work from home, applying for loans and cost-cutting and cash management actions. But engagement and communication with clients was also a recurring theme.

Sixteen percent of respondents cited increased communication/engagement with clients, while 9% have increased communication with candidates/temporary workers. The survey also found 13% have added new services and/or targeted new client categories, and 6% have diversified/shifted business to meet demand. In addition, 5% have been working on their candidate/client pipeline.

Providers also noted ways they are using the crisis to improve and prepare for the future. One cited pursuing growth in existing essential business or expanding that essential business to new clients, while another is partnering with other staffing firms. And one firm is launching a service to help clients remain engaged with and redeploy talent whose jobs were eliminated as a result of the crisis.

“Our goal is always to help connect people with meaningful work and the current situation demonstrates that need now more than ever,” the response stated.

Staffing landscape. Not surprisingly, temporary staffing revenue decreased in March, falling a median 5% year over year. This is a sharp decrease from the 8% increase reported in February.

As expected, healthcare led staffing segment revenue growth with the life sciences and IT segments also reporting increases. However, four of the 12 staffing segments covered in the Pulse survey reported negative median year-over-year revenue growth, including double-digit decreases in the industrial and engineering/design sectors.

Looking ahead. What steps can buyers managing contingent workforce programs take in this rapidly evolving landscape to further cooperation with their staffing providers? How can they improve communication with their providers ?and build foundations to bolster the entire ecosystem’s ability to return to “business as usual.”

We like to hear from you about your day to day issues. Perhaps you have stories to share about heroes in your team or a provider that is going above and beyond. Send me an email.

The survey is normally conducted bimonthly, and typically focuses on revenue and other financial data. Due to global events, its frequency was increased to monthly. This survey was conducted in April 2020 and is based on data submitted by 139 staffing companies.