Operating a successful SME is no simple task. It really doesn’t matter that your business is classified as small or medium-sized; you will still face a number of challenges and pitfalls along the way that you will need to overcome in order to remain successful. In fact, SMEs can often be more difficult to operate and manage as they don’t have that same clout and massive budget as the large corporations do.
As a small business owner, you are probably well aware of what the most valuable resource is – the one that can ensure the company stays profitable, grows at an acceptable rate, and really carves out a spot for itself in the industry – it’s the employees that make this happen. Hiring on people that are qualified, have the right skillset, can follow the company’s vision, and also bring something to the table can really push your SME ahead of the competition is imperative.
This brings us to your staffing solution. Finding a staffing solution that is flexible to the company’s needs not just right now, but as the company hopefully grows and possibly even expands into global, markets is important. So, what are the best flexible staffing solutions for your SME? Here are some that may be exactly what you’re after.
Hire on Freelancers and Contractors
The first option is to look into freelancers and contractors. This is an extremely common approach for SMEs that are looking for qualified staff but either cannot or do not need full-time employees. If you are a seasonal company, or you take on different sized contracts at a time, you at least have the flexibility to add and then take away the amount of resources that the particular project requires.
Another bonus in going this route of freelancers and contractors is that you won’t have to worry about employee benefits. This can really cut into the overall budget, and as a small business owner, you’re well aware that every penny counts.
When hiring a freelancer, there are also steps you can take to ensure you find the right match. First, you’ll need to figure out the exact scope of the work/project so you can communicate it clearly. You will also need to be specific about any skills, training, experience, or designations the freelancer needs. From there, it’s time to advertise the position.
Typically, the sorting of resumes and job interviews is the most time-consuming and often stressful part. Make sure to ask for references or a portfolio of work before hiring a freelancer. This will help you to determine if they are the right employee for the job. You will then want to make it clear that the relationship is on a per-project basis, as this will ensure that the staffing solution stays flexible.
If at any point you find the freelancer isn’t following through on what they promised, isn’t doing the job up to your expectations, or just doesn’t have the skills you need, you can simply move on and find a different one.
Use Seasonal Employees
Seasonal employees are another flexible option. Clearly, this will only apply to those businesses that have slow and busy periods in the year. Even the retail industry uses seasonal employees, hiring on extra staff during the busy holiday season and then letting them go once the holidays are over.
Again, you will need to be clear when hiring on employees that they are seasonal workers, and the job won’t offer long-term opportunities.
On the flip side, there are plenty of seasonal businesses that have managed to grow a very loyal group of seasonal workers who choose to return year after year. This will cut down on a lot of stress and means you probably won’t have to go through the job interview and hiring stage each season. You can always ask employees if they want to return the next season and if you should contact them.
Part-Time Employees Can Help Close the Gap
Operating a business made up of only part-time workers probably isn’t ideal. It can negatively affect the workflow, quality of the work, and even chip away at the team spirit you are trying to create. With that said, part-time employees can certainly play a role in your company operations.
If there are positions that simply don’t require someone there 40 hours a week, then part-time employees can make sense. They can also be a great way to close the gap and offer that extra bit of help and resources during peak periods of operation.
Again, you can look to something like the retail industry that typically have longer hours. Your full-time employees can work day shifts, and then the part-time employees can come in to fill the gap and work those evening and weekend hours. This gives employers the best of both worlds.
What If You’re Expanding Globally?
So, what happens if your business is looking to expand globally into a different market? Maybe you’ve been eyeing the Asian market and are ready to open up a location. Obviously, staff will be required, but how can you be in control and ensure you’ve got the right people from abroad?
An excellent and extremely flexible staffing solution is to opt for a locally based PEO (professional employer organization) provider such as NH Global Partners, nhglobalpartners.com.
These types of companies work with small and medium-sized businesses such as yours to manage the various payroll taxes of that country. They can also look after HR issues, employer administration duties, and the hiring of local staff. This means you have peace of mind that you’ll find the right staff without worrying about any barriers such as language, location, culture, customs, and so forth. As the company states, it provides end-to-end legal, human resources, tax, and even immigration solutions.
This solution hammers home the flexibility by also making it possible for you to add more staff as required. Maybe you plan to start with just one overseas location and build on your progress from there. Or perhaps you plan on using a skeleton staff at first and will hire on more employees as the need arises. Again, it’s all about doing things by the book, following local laws and regulations, and yet giving yourself the flexibility to expand further when the time is right.
Give Employees the Option to Work Remotely
This particular staffing solution obviously won’t work for every business out there. There are plenty of companies and industries where working remotely just isn’t possible. However, if you have the kind of company where employees can work remotely – at least part of the time – it can offer you just enough flexibility.
By allowing employees to work from home you will likely need much less office space, which helps the bottom line. This year’s COVID-19 pandemic has also made it painfully clear just how versatile and flexible employers need to be, as they need to be able to adapt to the situation at hand and ensure business continues to operate smoothly.
Step Outside the Box and Get Creative
At the end of the day, finding flexible staffing solutions usually requires people to step outside the box and get creative with their thinking.