staffing challenges

Staffing Challenges Expected Throughout 2021

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has upended world economies. Millions of people lost their jobs as hundreds of thousands of businesses closed their doors, often for good. As 2021 unfolds, experts are predicting significant staffing challenges in recruiting and hiring practices post-pandemic. While staffing insurance is a valuable part of risk management, staffing managers must be aware of the obstacles they will face throughout 2021, giving them the opportunity to succeed in quality talent acquisition.


A Grim Outlook for the Recruitment Landscape

With millions of people suddenly unemployed in the wake of COVID-19, staffing professionals often believed that the talent pool was ripe for opportunity. The reality is quite different; around the world, recruitment experts predict a significant shortfall of qualified candidates through 2030. An analysis of world markets expect a lack of about 85 million workers, despite the availability of candidates right now.

What is driving the shortfall in workers? There are several factors, including:

  • Hiring freezes
  • Competitiveness in available candidate pools
  • COVID-related slowdowns in hiring approvals
  • Demographic and skills changes in talent pools
  • Shifts to remote work environments
  • Streamlining or reducing workforces

There is one glimmer of hope for recruiters: that of skilled candidates who are now on the job market for the first time in years. Owing to layoffs, furloughs, and shuttering businesses, many professionals are scrambling to find employment. Recruiters, armed with the protection of staffing insurance and with the knowledge that candidates are eager to work, are ready to begin picking through the available talent.

New Challenges in Recruitment and Hiring Practices

The pandemic immediately shifted the way businesses recruit and hire new employees. At least temporarily, many businesses have done away with face-to-face interviews, job fairs, and outreach programs, instead leveraging video conferencing and online communication to locate and meet potential workers. Even new employee onboarding procedures have moved to a digital environment, with new hires receiving orientation and initial training without setting foot in the office.

These digital recruitment/hiring technologies have certain advantages, but they can be unfamiliar to many recruiters who are used to doing things the “traditional” way, leading to challenges. Hiring managers must be ready to adopt virtual recruitment and hiring systems, but must also be ready to receive training on how to best leverage these technologies. For business owners, this can require significant investments of time, money, and infrastructure to equip recruiters with the tools they need to succeed. As a risk management tool that supplements staffing insurance and other protections, technology represents a new way forward for recruiters.

Finding the Right Fit

A hiring trend that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic is the phenomenon of “fit”. Digital recruitment and hiring systems offer faster, more efficient processes, but they do not always identify the ideal candidate for a given role. “Fit” is the principle of finding the right person for the right job at the right time, and it is a critical aspect of the modern business world. In fact, many employers no longer put an emphasis on fit, resulting in declines in overall job satisfaction among hires.

In 2021 and beyond, recruiters must once again focus on identifying the perfect candidate for job openings. Expedience in filling jobs as the pandemic eases its grip on world economies is important, but by locating candidates that fit the given role, improved job retention serves to ease worker shortages. Fit influences many aspects of the work environment, improving efficiency, productivity, and retention. It requires recruiters to look beyond the resumes and online forms and to glean critical details from candidates before the hiring process really begins. Think of this practice as a form of staffing insurance: identifying ideal candidates, then moving through the hiring process, helps to insulate the company from the inefficiencies and lost productivity of employees who are simply a poor fit for the operation. This trend will continue to influence hiring practices throughout 2021. With flexibility, creativity, and due diligence, recruiters will continue to fill job openings with the talent they need to thrive during the post-pandemic economic recovery.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk, LLC. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

staffing trends

Staffing Trends for 2021 & Beyond

Staffing agencies throughout the United States could not have predicted the challenges faced by the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. The pandemic created fundamental shifts, not only in how businesses operated, but how employees were protected from infection. Staffing professionals scrambled to find solutions, allowing them to fulfill their roles while keeping employees safe. Understanding the challenges and recognizing emerging trends in staffing is a powerful risk management tool, supplementing the protections of staffing industry insurance. Here are staffing trends that provide insights into the coming year and that inform decision-making processes for staffing agencies across industries.

COVID Challenges and Remote Staffing

Staffing agencies were forced to downsize operations as the economy faltered in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these economic hardships, staffing analysts in the GRID 2020 COVID-19 Staffing Industry Impact Survey noted that about 30% of survey respondents indicated no real shift in business performance from 2019 to 2020.

Early pandemic lockdowns and stay-at-home orders caused many staffing agencies to transition their placements into remote work, and this served to buoy the industry. In fact, remote work options were highlighted as a priority for agencies going into 2021. Agencies are reporting a greater demand for remote workers, and this trend is expected to continue well into the future as more corporations gain a greater understanding of the efficiencies and cost savings remote employment represents.

Customer-oriented challenges faced by staffing agencies included:

  • Dwindling demand
  • Inability of clients to make payments
  • Slowdowns in new client acquisition
  • Ever-changing job requirements, including a renewed focus on higher-skilled employees

Staffing agencies worked hard to adjust their business models, often attempting to do more with less in terms of resources and personnel. Many agencies also had to bolster their staffing industry insurance policies to reflect emerging risk profiles. As the economy strengthens, these modifications to the business model have proved beneficial, allowing agencies to regain some of the business lost to the pandemic.

Putting Clients First

Perhaps the most important trend in the staffing field is a newfound attention to client needs. As demand, talent pools, and new client acquisition shrank, smart staffing firms took the opportunity to strengthen relationships with existing clients. Relationships were bolstered by improved communications, assessing the needs and concerns of clients, and remaining in contact with clients that had implemented hiring freezes. When the freezes end, staffing operations can continue seamlessly without the need for rebuilding communication channels. Client-oriented services are always a part of a successful business model, and by focusing on this critical aspect, many firms were able to weather the economic downturns.

Candidates: The Lifeblood of Staffing

Mass layoffs and business closures during the early part of the pandemic led to a massive pool of unemployed workers. Despite this surplus, finding top talent proved difficult for many companies, including staffing placement agencies. To counter this challenge, staffing agencies embarked on two initiatives that will trend well into the next year.

First, improving the candidate experience was identified as a goal for agencies. Streamlining the application and hiring processes is central to improving the agency-candidate relationship. Communication improvements were also made, helping candidates remain in contact with agencies throughout the acquisition process. Remote recruiting and onboarding practices were implemented, helping to keep candidates safe from infection exposure. An unexpected benefit of remote hiring and onboarding is that it allowed staffing agencies to reduce overhead costs, including being able to downsize office space as remote operations took the place of in-person interaction. Finally, remote hiring practices reduced the potential liability exposures of agencies, helping them to avoid claims on staffing industry insurance policies.

Second, staffing agencies targeted improvements in hiring diversity and inclusion as important goals for the coming year. While diversity programs have gained traction over the past decade, 2020 saw a widespread public outcry for more inclusive hiring practices and operations, including placing more people of color into leadership roles. The agencies that made improvements in diversity initiatives noted two benefits: an increase in public trust, and a greater market share from companies seeking talented individuals who have been under-represented in the American workforce.

The COVID pandemic certainly created new challenges for the staffing industry. As solutions to overcoming these challenges are trending, the industry is regaining its footing in a turbulent economic landscape. Maintaining client- and candidate-oriented programs is one part of the puzzle, as is ensuring staffing industry insurance is comprehensive enough to withstand emerging risk exposures.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk, LLC. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

Staffing Industry

Top 3 Ways the Pandemic Has Altered the Staffing Industry

This generation had not seen a pandemic before late 2019, but it seems now the effects of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, may be here for some time. The pandemic has changed just about every aspect of public and commercial life. One of the societal processes changing during these unusual times is hiring; the staffing industry is evolving. With new waves of COVID-19 breaking out periodically nationwide, these changes are about more than numbers.

The staffing industry’s entire operational process has been altered and is adapting as new situations unfold. Employment agencies are especially seeking security through staffing industry insurance.

These are the three most notable effects the pandemic has had on the staffing industry.

An Altered Job Market

Staffing firms are facing a fundamental change in the overall job market in the wake of the pandemic. The spread of COVID-19 has dramatically reduced the number of applications in most industries. Furthermore, as businesses have closed, they have released or laid off large numbers of people, substantially raising the unemployment rate.

Another significant change for staffing firms involves remote work and access to global talent. As remote work is now the norm, the talent pool from which employers can choose extends throughout the entire world. With this dynamic change, your staffing clients require employment agency insurance now more than ever.

Different Hiring Needs

The pandemic has changed hiring needs for many companies. While some businesses have had to lay people off, others, such as delivery services, have needed to hire more workers. In the face of uncertainty during these changing times, specialized staffing industry insurance offers peace of mind to companies matching job seekers with employers.

What type of insurance does a staffing agency need? Employment agency insurance needs are complex and unique. Worker’s compensation packages and comprehensive liability coverage are essential. However, your staffing agency clients also need commercial property insurance and errors and omissions coverage, among others. Now is a great time to reach out to your staffing clients to ensure their portfolios are up to date.

New Recruitment Practices

In the wake of the pandemic, recruiters had to change the way they assess new candidates. Virtual recruiting has become standard practice, and comprehensive staffing industry insurance helps protect your clients from mistakes in paperwork and general operations that may occur as companies grow accustomed to this new way of doing business.

Staffing Industry Insurance

Employment agency insurance offers staffing businesses a safety net as the entire hiring industry shifts in response to the pandemic. This sector has specialized needs, and staffing companies need to be prepared for many contingencies by having proper coverage. For example, agencies focusing on medical staffing needs have different concerns than those specializing in landscaping and manufacturing jobs. However, all employment agencies have some requirements in common, and the right insurance package is vital for long-term success.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk, LLC. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at 800-232-5830.


Staffing Firms: Preventing Retaliation Claims

Staffing agencies serve as the conduit between employers and employees. As such, they face a complex landscape of regulatory requirements, including laws that govern employment practices. Employment practices are a hot-button issue, particularly in regard to discrimination in the workplace. Claims of employees being retaliated against by employers are on the rise in the United States, triggering a corresponding increase in claims on staffing firm insurance policies. In this guide, we will explore the role of staffing firm insurance and present ways to mitigate the risks associated with employee retaliation claims.

Employment Retaliation Claims on the Rise

Employees who believe they are being discriminated against in the workplace often complain to their employers or staffing agencies. These complaints often lead to claims of employer retaliation filed with state and federal authorities. These claims are on the rise and have exhibited a sharp increase over the past decade. Of the 72,675 discrimination claims filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2019, just over 39,000 were related to employer discrimination. That figure represents over half of all discrimination claims filed with the agency.

What is Employer Retaliation?

If an employee complains about certain workplace practices, such as unlawful discrimination based on sex, orientation, or race, they are protected by federal and state laws against retaliation. Unfortunately, employers may violate these protective laws either inadvertently or on purpose. In simple terms, employer retaliation is the practice by which employees who complain about workplace discrimination are penalized for filing a complaint or for participating in investigations of discrimination. Retaliation can take several forms, including:

  • Negative performance reviews
  • Undesired transfers to other positions or workplaces
  • Demotions
  • Harassment or mistreatment by supervisors and coworkers
  • Termination of employment

When a worker believes he or she has experienced workplace discrimination and is being retaliated against for filing a complaint, this can create an emotionally-charged situation. Staffing firms are often caught in the middle, potentially opening the door to expensive liability claims.

Preventing Claims of Retaliation

Staffing firm insurance is the foundation of risk management for employment staffing and placement agencies. When it comes to preventing claims of employee retaliation, staffing agencies must adopt rigorous procedures to support the protections of their insurance policies. These procedures must include:

  • Supporting documentation – staffing firms must thoroughly document any incidents that lead to an employee’s demotion or termination. Documentation must include information regarding timing, whether a complaint was filed, and whether the demotion or termination was otherwise justified.
  • Education of employer clients – staffing agencies and their clients must work in close concert with one another, particularly in regards to handling temporary or contracted employees who may not be performing up to standards. Educating clients through the use of feedback is critical; clients must be prepared to share information about expectations and employee performance, and the staffing agency must ask for this feedback as well.
  • Third-party assistance – employment law is a complex and ever-changing aspect of the modern business world. Employers and staffing agencies alike may become overwhelmed with the myriad regulations governing employment practices. It is a good idea to establish a relationship with an employment attorney as well as to alert staffing firm insurance carriers whenever retaliation claims are filed.

Staffing agencies and employers facing claims of workplace discrimination and/or retaliation must also set policies to manage their risk exposures, especially during investigations. Policies can include:

  • Establishment of confidentiality rules – during investigations, all interviews with affected parties must be kept confidential at all times.
  • Setting temporary preventative measures to protect both employer and employee during a discrimination/retaliation investigation. This can include temporary reassignments, paid leaves of absence, or changes in supervisory control of the affected individuals.
  • Ensuring consistency in employee discipline – workplace policies must apply to all employees, and this includes the steps taken to discipline employees. Failure to remain consistent in these policies can aggravate claims of discrimination or retaliation, and may increase the strains on staffing firm insurance and other liability protections.

With these measures and policies in place, employers and employees both enjoy their benefits. Workplace discrimination claims have only increased in recent years. While staffing firm insurance is designed to protect against the financial burdens of defending against such claims, managing risks through stringent practices helps to protect staffing agencies, their clients, and their employees.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk, LLC. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

Remote Hiring

A Guide to Remote Hiring for Staffing Agencies

The COVID-19 pandemic has created powerful and long-lasting effects around the world. In addition to the coronavirus’s health impacts, the economy has suffered, with many people losing their jobs. As the economy begins its recovery, more job seekers are turning to the Web for help. Remote workers are taking the place of many traditional in-person employment roles, and companies are increasingly leveraging remote working and recruitment technologies to restart their operations. Staffing agencies and human resources departments need to understand industry best practices for remote hiring and managing. Here’s how.

The Benefits of Remote Recruitment and Hiring Practices

Recruiting and hiring talented employees has always been a challenge for companies of every size and type. In the wake of COVID-19, this challenge has only increased. Many companies have had to revamp their recruitment and hiring practices to meet emerging risks, and staffing agencies are no exception. There are significant benefits to using remote recruitment and hiring practices, even in more favorable economic conditions. Benefits include:

  • Remote recruitment allows companies to bring in skills that may be hard to find in their current location.
  • These systems cost less than in-person recruiting workshops and in-person interviews, particularly if a candidate does not wish to relocate for work or has difficulties in traveling to visit potential employers.
  • Remote systems tend to be more flexible, allowing greater availability and access for employers and candidates.

Recruiting Remotely: Tips for Staffing Agencies

Now that the pandemic has changed the playing field for recruitment, how can staffing agencies leverage new tools and technologies? The process begins with recruitment, or attracting quality applicants to a given firm.

The key to success is for an employer to have a robust online presence with an excellent reputation and easy-to-find information on available jobs, locations, benefits, and corporate culture. It can also be extremely beneficial for companies and staffing agencies to maintain attractive social media accounts. These attributes help potential candidates visualize themselves as part of the work team and learn more about the company and its industry niche.

Staffing agencies may also use job-search platforms to connect with potential candidates. LinkedIn remains one of the most popular tools for this purpose, allowing a direct connection between employers and qualified candidates. Other remote worker-oriented platforms include Doist, FlexJobs, RemoteOK, and Working Nomads are available. Finally, global job boards such as Monster and Indeed offer employers a chance to connect with candidates and for candidates to search jobs from the comfort of home or office.

Hiring Best Practices

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced significant changes in the way companies and staffing agencies conduct the hiring process. For safety reasons, many employers have eliminated face-to-face interviews with candidates, at least temporarily. Many human resources professionals suggest that this trend may continue long after the pandemic is under control; remote interviews and hiring processes are more efficient and less costly than direct in-person meetings.

Assessing candidates remotely can be a challenge – and this is where technology has stepped forward to streamline the remote process. Video conferencing platforms, including Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet are used increasingly to interview qualified candidates. Alternatively, some staffing agencies use platforms like Jobma and HireVue to allow candidates to answer interview questions on their own time and at their own pace, then submitting recordings to potential employers.

One thing that has not changed in the wake of COVID-19 is the value represented by recommendations. Candidates can be assessed by requesting recommendations from mentors, previous employers, and industry contacts. Recommendations may also be posted on candidates’ LinkedIn or Indeed profile pages and should be considered part of the vetting process.

Remote Working Management for Staffing Agencies

One final tip to share with staffing agencies and companies looking to bolster their remote workforce is how such remote work is managed. The key here is to set expectations early and in a transparent manner. Not everyone is familiar with the demands of remote work environments and maintaining operations while adopting new technologies and practices has been challenging for many firms. With expectations understood by all parties, work can continue to flow efficiently.

Communication must be robust and flexible, allowing employers and their remote working staff to remain connected. Again, video conferencing technologies can be used to keep team efforts on track. Email and telephone calls also continue to be vital components of the remote work environment.

Remote working can create improved work-life balance in employees. Gallup’s poll suggests that over 50% of all employees value a better work-life balance, and remote working may satisfy that need. COVID-19 has forever changed many aspects of the business world. By remaining flexible, adopting new technologies, and embracing new practices, employers and staffing agencies can continue to recruit and hire talented individuals.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk, LLC. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

Labor Challenges

Temporary Labor & Legal Challenges for Staffing Resulting from COVID-19

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to negatively affect businesses across the United States, many companies are facing staffing shortages. In order to fill staffing gaps, an increasing number of companies are utilizing the services of staffing agencies. For temporary laborers and the staffing agencies that place them, there are significant challenges looming on the horizon. For staffing agencies, one of these challenges is centered on general and professional employment liability. Agencies have a basic duty to verify that reasonably safe work accommodations are available for their temporary employees; in the wake of the highly-contagious coronavirus, protecting temporary employees from illness becomes a greater concern.

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