A staffing agency, often known as a staffing firm, is a company that specializes in matching employers with skilled job seekers. These organizations serve as mediators, facilitating the recruitment and placement processes of both businesses and job seekers.
A staffing agency’s major role is to identify, screen, and choose candidates who meet the employing companies’ needs and preferences. They keep a pool of possible candidates by employing multiple ways of sourcing such as job advertisements, networking, and referrals.
Working with a staffing agency has several advantages, one of which is its skill in matching job searchers with relevant career prospects. They are well-versed in the job market and industry trends, allowing them to select the best candidates for certain tasks.
It is crucial to understand that staffing agencies exist in various forms and serve to a wide range of demands. Some agencies focus on specific industries or employment roles, whereas others provide a broader range of staffing services. This variability contributes to the wide range of staffing tactics employed by businesses.
Depending on their specific needs and circumstances, organizations can use a variety of staffing methods. Exploring these distinct categories will provide you with useful insights into the various techniques and approaches used by organizations to efficiently manage their personnel.
As the name suggests, permanent staffing involves hiring employees for long-term, ongoing organizational positions. Organizations opt for permanent staffing when they require a consistent workforce to fulfill regular job roles and responsibilities.
Permanent staffing strategies can include full-time and regular part-time employees, direct hires, and internal promotions. This staffing strategy is often accompanied by benefits such as healthcare coverage, retirement plans, and career growth opportunities.
What sets permanent staffing apart is the commitment and investment involved. Employers carefully select candidates with the desired skills, experience, and cultural fit for the organization. Unlike temporary or contract staffing, permanent employees become integral members of the company’s workforce.
Regarding flexibility, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness, temporary staffing takes the spotlight. This type of staffing involves hiring individuals for a specific period or project, giving organizations the agility to respond to fluctuating demands.
Temporary staffing can include seasonal, on-call, or as-needed employees, day laborers, and skilled temporary workers. Temporary staffing helps employers quickly scale their workforce up or down based on business needs, whether it’s seasonal work, short-term projects or filling in for absences.
What defines temporary staffing is its transient nature. Unlike permanent staffing, temporary employees do not have an ongoing employment relationship with the organization. However, they can bring fresh perspectives, specialized skills and contribute to the overall efficiency of the workforce.
Contract staffing provides short-term solutions for organizations needing specialized expertise or temporary support. It involves hiring individuals on a contractual basis, with clear definitions of duration and scope. This allows organizations to access skilled professionals for short assignments or specialized projects without long-term commitments.
Independent contractors, consultants, and temp-to-hire workers are examples of contract staffing. Contractors, often self-employed or hired through agencies, are responsible for their taxes and benefits. The distinguishing factor of contract staffing is the focus on specific skills and deliverables outlined in contracts.
Part-time staffing offers a flexible employment option by hiring individuals for fewer hours than full-time employees. It allows organizations to accommodate varying workloads and schedules while promoting work-life balance. Employers can optimize their workforce by using part-time staff during peak hours or specific shifts, reducing labor costs without compromising productivity.
Read Also: Staffing Agency Pricing Model
Examples include regular part-time employees, weekend or evening staff, and job-sharing. This strategy is common in retail, hospitality, and healthcare industries. Part-time employees may have fixed or as-needed schedules, providing flexibility, shift coverage or cost savings.
Freelance staffing offers flexible work arrangements by hiring independent professionals on a project-by-project basis. It provides organizations access to diverse skills at a lower cost than full-time employees. Freelancers, also known as independent contractors or gig workers, bring specialized expertise.
Organizations can tap into this talent pool for temporary or external expertise in specific tasks or projects. What distinguishes freelance staffing is the independent nature of the working relationship. Freelancers operate as their own business entities, offering services to multiple clients while maintaining flexibility in their work arrangements.
Outsourcing is a staffing strategy that involves contracting third-party companies or service providers to handle specific functions or tasks on behalf of an organization. It allows businesses to delegate non-core activities and focus on their core competencies.
Common areas for outsourcing include IT services, customer support, manufacturing, and payroll administration. Whether a company uses offshore, nearshore or onshore outsourcing, each provides a strategic solution that optimizes organizational operations and efficiency. It offers a way to access external expertise and resources while leveraging the strengths of dedicated service providers.
The transfer of responsibilities to external entities is what defines outsourcing. Organizations leverage outsourcing to access specialized skills, reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Remote staffing has become a vital component of the modern workforce, providing opportunities for organizations to build agile and globally distributed teams. Remote staffing refers to hiring individuals who work outside the traditional office environment, often from their homes or other remote locations.
This type of staffing is beneficial for roles such as software development, content writing, and virtual customer support. Organizations gain access to a broader talent pool and reduced overhead costs while employees enjoy flexibility and autonomy.
Unlike other staffing strategies, remote staffing allows organizations to tap into a global talent pool. Organizations can hire the best candidates regardless of geographical constraints, enabling access to diverse skills and perspectives. Remote employees benefit from the flexibility of working from anywhere, avoiding commuting, and achieving a better work-life balance.
Project-based staffing offers a targeted approach to staffing, focusing on specific organizational projects or initiatives. This type of staffing involves hiring individuals or teams to work temporarily until the project is completed.
Project-based staffing is commonly used in construction, software development, event management, and marketing industries. It allows organizations to bring together a dedicated team with specialized knowledge, collaborate on project objectives and meet project milestones within defined timelines.
What sets project-based staffing apart is its emphasis on short-term, goal-oriented assignments. Organizations can assemble a project team with the necessary skills and expertise required for the specific project, ensuring optimal efficiency and effectiveness. Project-based staffing allows for allocating resources based on project demands, avoiding the need for long-term commitments.
Here’s a quick overview of the different types of staffing agencies, including their specialties/sectors, main services, and associated jobs.
|General staffing agency
|Recruitment, selection, placement
|All positions, from blue-collar to executive
|Specialized staffing agency
|Specialized recruitment, placement, consulting
|Positions specific to the agency’s field of expertise (e.g. IT, healthcare, finance)
|Temporary employment agency
|Recruitment and placement of temporary workers
|Temporary positions in various sectors
|Long-term staffing agency
|Recruitment, long-term placement
|Long-term positions in various sectors
|Executive staffing agency
|Executive search and selection, consulting
|Executive and high-level positions
|Online staffing agency
|Recruitment, selection, placement via digital technologies
|All positions, from blue-collar to executive
|Cross-sector staffing agency
|Recruitment, selection, placement in various fields
|Positions in various sectors
|International staffing agency
|Recruitment, selection, placement and international relocation
|Positions abroad in various sectors
|Student staffing agency
|Student recruitment, selection and placement
|Internships, summer jobs, part-time jobs for students
|Remote staffing agency
|Teleworker recruitment and placement
|Remote or teleworking positions
What are The 5 Staffing Models?
When it comes to getting business continuity related work done and striving to achieve the right level of resilience, an organization typically has five staffing model choices to get it done:
- Full-Time Employees
- Staff Augmentation Resources (temporary staff to supplement full-time internal employees)
- Professional Services (consultants)
- Outsourcing (third-party staff performing the work indefinitely)
- Hybrid Model
This article defines each of the staffing models introduced above, summarizes some of the key considerations when determining the best way to tackle a business continuity assignment in the most efficient manner possible, and offers example tasks that are optimal for each.
Motivated people with the right skills and experience get the right work done and drive innovation. But what’s the right staffing model for your specific business challenge and circumstance? Let’s define the “big four” and introduce a fifth “hybrid” model.
This one’s probably obvious. Full-time employees are exempt or non-exempt permanent staff retained, managed, and compensated directly by an organization. These resources are assigned goals and objectives, under the direction of internal managers who evaluate their performance. An organization chooses to add full-time resources when the need is indefinite and there are suitably experienced professionals available for hire.
Risks to Manage: The availability of full-time BCM professionals is limited – particularly during good economic times. Also, the organization is responsible for training and continuing education of full-time employees, especially for those with professional certifications. Lastly, new employees must fit the culture of your organization and you must address their expectations and motivators, or they won’t stay long.
Staff Augmentation Resources
This one might be a little less obvious based on market feedback. Staff augmentation resources are temporary staff members assigned to an existing function or team for a specific purpose for a finite period of time. In this staffing model, the organization directly manages the temporary staff. Organizations often choose to add temporary staff when their existing internal resources are consumed with other assignments or they lack a specific skill or experience that may only be needed for a specific task.
Risks to Manage: Staff augmentation works best if you have resiliency skills in-house but need to temporarily scale the team to achieve your goals. If you don’t have the skills in-house, it’s hard to evaluate if the staff augmentation resource is effective.
Also known as consulting, organizations choose to engage third-party consultants when they have a specific business challenge and the organization neither has the time nor expertise to solve the problem (or the need is time-sensitive). In this model, a consulting organization – with one or more assigned resources – are given a problem and they offer a solution (which may include designing and/or implementing a solution to solve the problem).
If selected for the project, the consulting organization is accountable for providing the deliverables on time and in a high-quality manner based on an approach and roles/responsibilities agreed to by the parties. In other words, the consulting resources are self-managed and accountable to the organization solely for commitments made in a statement of work.
Risks to Manage: Only pay professional services firms for successfully delivering the project. This is typically known as fixed price. The firm should take responsibility for on-time, quality delivery without detailed management from you.
Outsourcing or Managed Services
Over the past 10-20 years, outsourcing non-core business processes has come into vogue, which frees the organization to perform work that aligns to its core focus. Outsourcing the business continuity program to a third-party frees the organization from worrying about hiring and retaining scarce resources to perform a core risk management function. In an outsourced capacity, the organization (typically an internal program sponsor and/or steering committee) defines the approach with the outsourcer’s advice and then measures the performance as if the outsourcer’s resources are internal staff.
Best yet, the outsourcer continues to deliver while refreshing the work with current best practices honed across its work with other organizations. In addition to operating the planning process, the outsourcer may also participate in the response to a disruptive event
Risks to Manage: For some organizations, outsourcing is used as an opportunity to provide lower quality or lower cost resources. Demand the staff assigned to your account have: the right experience, a long-term commitment, and spend some time onsite.
The Hybrid Model
In some cases, a hybrid model might make the most sense for your organization. Initially the project would kick off being managed and directed by professional services and then, later on, professionals (staff augmentation) would be added to either work in tandem with the consulting services team during the engagement or they would be onboarded towards the conclusion of the consulting engagement as the effort transitions to permanent, internal resources.
Key Considerations When Choosing
Which model is best for your organization? Consult the following table for some guidance regarding the first four staffing models.
When considering an internally staffed program versus an outsourced program, consider the following before making a choice:
- Culturally, has your organization been successful outsourcing before?
- Is your organization still positioned to retain accountability and provide oversight?
- Have you struggled with retaining staff in the past?
If you’ve answered yes to these three questions, outsourcing may be a solid option.
One more consideration when making a staffing choice is cost. In general, full-time resources are less expensive than similar resources available via staff augmentation. Consulting resources are typically more expensive than similar internal or staff augmentation resources (due to project management requirements and the introduction of intellectual property).
And when comparing full-time employees with an outsourcing model, the latter is often less expensive given fewer resources are required, as the outsourcer does not have the internal employment obligations that take away from delivering business continuity services.