With company owners having to make complex decisions about staffing, temporary contractors could be the answer, says Heidi Bannister
Arthur Edward Recruitment
In an industry driven by innovation, creativity and newness, brands can’t afford to stand still.
A more flexible approach to recruitment will help companies survive and thrive, says Heidi Bannister, founder and MD of Arthur Edward Recruitment, a recruitment and executive search business specialising in the beauty and personal care industry.
The Cosmetics industry has always been driven by innovation, creative ideas, and new products. Newness is the focus of every trade fair and a major part of every brand plan.
So, while a business may need to cut costs, it can't afford to stand still. In this situation, I suggest considering working with contractors, even if you haven’t before.
Every business has been affected by Covid-19 and the current recession, in different ways and to different degrees. Many have been forced to make drastic changes to their plans, their structure, and the way they do business.
As a result, company owners and leaders are making complex decisions about staffing under great time and financial pressure; adapting to new plans and demands.
Companies that are planning for growth or trading in new business areas are likely to need to boost the expertise in their teams. I recommend they take a flexible approach to recruitment and consider temporary contractors alongside permanent recruitment options.
In my experience, some business leaders are reluctant to use contractors, as they feel they will not get their full commitment to the company. But in uncertain times, a contractor can bring far more to your business than you may realise.
A vital aspect of change management is breaking out of the “this is how we’ve always done it” mindset. It’s understandable, as we all feel more secure in our comfort zones, but it will hold you back from making the big, bold changes that may be necessary to sustain and grow your company in this economic climate.
A contractor is a great solution if you need someone to come in and help you to set up strategies, processes, and structures for new aspects of the business. A senior professional with relevant experience and skills will help identify the most productive route forward, and also help you avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes. They will have the confidence to enter the business and focus single-mindedly on their priorities, to provide fast, quality results.
Contractors don’t need the full new employee induction or training program, and they don’t need to know how the whole business works, unless it’s part of their project remit. Their ‘fit’ with the company and the current team is less critical, as they're largely working alone or alongside a clearly defined sub-section of the team.
I’m strongly in favour of retraining or upskilling your current staff to meet new business needs. A contractor can train your permanent staff and run training workshops for groups. Not only does this benefit you by reducing disruption within the team, it also contributes hugely to staff satisfaction, loyalty and retention.
Business leaders and HR people often fear that a contractor will be expensive, and it’s true that they can command relatively high fees, especially if they bring specialist skills or experience.
But on the upside, they also hit the ground running and produce results that benefit the company long after they have gone. Their appointment is low risk; if company circumstances change or the new strategy proves less successful than expected, you have no employment or redundancy commitments.
Their understanding of the skills required by the team can also help if you have to make difficult decisions about structure. Sadly, we’re seeing redundancies across the industry, and Arthur Edward Recruitment is working hard to support both companies and staff through this process.
As they are only with you for a limited time, contractors can offer flexibility in terms of location, availability and project scope. And they can shake up, refresh and invigorate the team, opening their minds to different ways of working.
In my view, at a time of enormous change, bringing an experienced, expert contractor into your business is a sound investment in your company’s future.