Following the disruption and difficulty that defined 2020, many businesses will be looking ahead to 2021 with hope and optimism that it will bring better fortunes and easier market conditions.

While there is reason to think the coming year will be less challenging than the last one, it's also safe to assume that companies in most industries will continue to face various obstacles on their journey to success.

Human talent should be at the centre of your mission to survive and thrive in 2021.

By teaming up with a dedicated, experienced HR partner, you can drive efficiency and get maximum value from your employees through effective workforce planning.


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    next-level workforce planning

    Workforce planning is always essential, regardless of the external conditions or internal priorities dictating how your company functions at any given time. But it becomes particularly crucial during periods of adversity, uncertainty or change, such as the time businesses are currently going through in the wake of COVID-19.

    When facing challenges such as sudden fluctuations in customer demand or enforced changes in how people are expected or allowed to do their jobs, efficient workforce planning becomes imperative.

    It can help you to:

    • Reduce labour costs
    • Ensure available talent is optimally deployed to generate value for the business
    • Make sure people aren't being overworked, which supports staff satisfaction and retention
    • Identify opportunities for upskilling, reskilling and professional development

    the need for flexibility

    Another concept that has taken on more importance in recent years, and is now a crucial consideration for all employers, is flexibility. This has become a key theme in the world of work, as highlighted by growth in contingent working and the 'gig economy.

    According to research by the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by North Highland, more than six in ten companies expect their use of contract labour to grow in the coming years. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said they were undergoing some transformation, underlining the need for flexibility, and two-thirds had to adapt to a more volatile business environment.

    A solid strategy to acquire and deploy flexible workers where they're most needed will lead to positive outcomes such as:

    • Cost savings, since you're only paying for the resource, you need when you need it
    • Acquiring particular skills for specific projects or short-term needs
    • Agility and adaptability

    With an expert HR partner on your side, you can feel confident that you're taking the right approach to workforce planning and fully leveraging the benefits of flexibility.

    saving time and money

    Most businesses - particularly smaller firms - operate on a tight budget and need to think very carefully about their HR spending. This includes the amount of time you dedicate to critical processes like recruitment and financial investment. Suppose you advertise a vacancy and suddenly find yourself inundated with applications, for example. In that case, much of your time will be taken up by sorting through resumes and finding the most appropriate individuals to progress to the next stage. This is before you even get to the interview and assessment phases, which can prove equally time-consuming.

    Working with a specialist recruitment company is one of the most reliable ways to optimise your spending and reduce inefficiencies in your hiring and other essential HR functions. You'll be supported by professionals who have been through these processes many times before and can tell you how to make them more efficient.

    An HR partner can also keep you up to date with cutting-edge trends and technologies that could revolutionise your hiring. Chatbots, for example, have been shown to offer up to a 90% reduction in cost-per-hire compared with traditional outreach methods.

    At Randstad, the first thing we do when we start a relationship with a new client is make sure we have an in-depth understanding of your business and your key goals, priorities and pain points. This helps us identify where you have opportunities to optimise your recruitment practices, thereby saving time and reducing costs.

    experience and expertise

    If you're a small business, the prospect of navigating the labour market, identifying the talent you need, vetting candidates and bringing the right people on board can be daunting. But it's essential to get this right since making a bad hire can have significant consequences for your business.

    Outsourcing your hiring to a recruitment company is wise if you don't feel confident taking on the job yourself. When working with an experienced partner that has taken the time to understand your needs and also delivered results for companies similar to yours in the past, you can feel confident in their ability to find the right people for your organisation.

    Furthermore, you can gain access to innovative assessment methods and technologies - such as the gamified psychometric tools used by Pymetrics - to draw the most informed conclusions about whether the people you're evaluating are precisely the right fit for the role in question and your business.

    It can be reassuring to work with partners with a strong background in your industry and knowledge of the most critical trends in the sector, from the most influential technologies to recent changes in how people want to work. 

    Randstad has 60 years of experience helping employers in various industries fulfil their recruitment and talent needs. 

    sourcing hard-to-find talent

    Plugging skills gaps is a significant challenge for many businesses right now, with some estimates suggesting that talent shortages could lead to 85 million jobs going unfilled and $8.5 trillion in unrealised annual revenues by 2030.

    This can be particularly problematic for smaller businesses that don't have the financial resources to compete with larger organisations. According to LinkedIn research, 84% of firms with fewer than 200 employees cite finding enough quality candidates as their top hiring challenge.

    Teaming up with a well-established recruitment company can give you access to a large and diverse talent network, which will put you in a stronger position to find the people you need at speed.

    This will be crucial for organisations that want to prepare for the future, and all the potential challenges and opportunities it could bring by acquiring niche, in-demand skills that will prove vital to businesses and industries. Specific roles that will grow in importance in the coming years include:

    • Cyber security specialist
    • Cloud solutions engineer
    • UX designer
    • AI/natural language processing engineer
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    about the author
    Alex Carson
    Alex Carson

    alex carson

    randstad general manager professionals victoria

    Alex Carson has been part of the Randstad business for the last 14 years. Having initially joined the Randstad UK business in 2007 after graduating, after 7 successful years he relocated with his wife to Melbourne and joined the Australian business. Over the journey, Alex has recruited and managed teams across a diverse range of sectors and disciplines including both public and private sector clients.

    In his current position of General Manager in Victoria, Alex is responsible for Randstad's Victorian Professional businesses that incorporate our Construction, Property and Engineering, Public Sector that includes both Local, Federal and State Government, Banking and Financial Services, Accounting and Finance as well as our Manufacturing, Operations, Transport and Logistics Business across Victoria.