There is no denying that the workforce is changing. Service companies are shifting from a primarily full-time dedicated staff to a company with third-party independent contractors. Having this flexible workforce (i.e. contractors) gives companies a better chance of growing and boosting profits larger than previously thought.
However, while this shift in labor continues, a new business structure is also emerging.
Say hello to the hybrid workforce.
The hybrid workforce is a blend of full-time employees and contractors that allow service companies to still use their reliable full-time technicians in addition to leveraging their contractors who are more flexible when the workload exceeds what their full-time staff can handle.
If you’re thinking that the hybrid workforce is for you, then here are a few questions to ask yourself before implementing it.
Question #1: Do you know when the demand for your service fluctuates?
A typical reason for hiring a contractor is to keep up with the demand during peak seasons. Most service companies vary in the demand for their service, and after being in business long enough, they’re able to predict when these fluctuations will happen. Knowing this will allow companies to leverage contractors for a specific time without the need to justify adding a full-time employee to the team.
So, before you say “yes” to the hybrid workforce, get a good sense for when your demand increases throughout the year so that you can plan and prepare.
Question #2: Do you get requests outside of your expertise?
I can only imagine the range of service requests that a technician must see throughout the year.
Look back and count how many of them you had to turn down because the request was out of your field of expertise. If this is a large opportunity for missed revenue, then consider a network of contractors to help turn those requests into new customers that you can serve.
Question #3: Do you get requests outside of your region?
How many times have you received service requests outside of your region? And out of those service requests, how many have you turned down? By having a network of contractors who don’t serve in your region, and/or are willing to travel to these regions may be a smart move for any service company who would like to expand their service reach. Your full-time crew can only go so far, but your contractor network can have an extended reach.
Question #4: Is cost savings the only reason for hiring contractors?
Many people hire contractors strictly for cost-saving reasons. The opportunity to quickly save money is a tempting reason. However, industry experts urge service providers to think twice about hiring contractors if the only reason is to save money. Hiring contractors does come with some business-related downside…
One issue is that working with a third-party contractor means your brand reputation is at stake. Contractors don’t fully know the inside of your business which can make it difficult for you to maintain the high brand standard that you get from your full-time employees.
Service companies have also said that when they hire contractors they generally need to pay more attention to contractors because they’re so removed from the company. This then eats into a manager’s time and prevents them from getting their day-to-day tasks done.
Question #5: Have you considered what your full-time employees will think?
Before any decision is made, consider what your full-time employees will think. They’re the ones who have dedicated their professional life to you. They’re the ones who (hopefully) would walk through fire for you. They’re the ones who truly know what your brand standard is. Thus, consider their thoughts when hiring contractors. By far the most challenging part of shifting your company into a hybrid workforce is managing the blend of full-time employees and contractors. Communicate openly that your full-time employees’ pay, time off, and benefits will not be jeopardized.
To sum this up, the hybrid workforce continues to be a hot topic in the service industry and knowing the pros and cons of how it will be received by your full-time employees and what changes will be made are all important parts of a successful implementation.