While they have lived through the labor shortage
and high turnover era of the late 1990s, many employers are now
faced with another vulnerability. In the US and other countries
engaged in the War on Terrorism, military reservists can be called
into action at any time. Employers dare not be caught short. Without
sufficient personnel, they may not be able to serve their customers
and thereby risk serious competitive disadvantages.
To protect themselves, employers will build reserve
capacity into their staffing. A variety of approaches will be taken,
usually as a quiet strategy, rather than as an overt component of
the company's staffing process.
In rare cases, employers will over-staff, a dangerous
practice in a weak economy. Others will invest in strategic initiatives
with staffing companies, building a cadre of qualified and pre-screened
workers, who can be hired at a moment's notice.
Many companies will develop contingency plans to
delay projects or farm work out to other companies. In their complicated
planning processes, they will emphasize a contingency approach,
so they will be ready for any sort of eventuality. Some employers
will actually reduce their potential for success by spending too
much time and other resources preparing for worst-case scenarios.
This energy that could be much better invested in forward movement.
Most employers concerned about protecting themselves
will recruit potential hires for vulnerable positions, completing
interviewing and pre-employment screening. They will maintain an
on-call list, ready to activate standby personnel, if needed. Companies
supported by close relationships with staffing organizations will
collaborate with those suppliers to develop a register of temporary
workers to fill-in.
These actions will be taken quietly for strategic
reasons. Having stronger human resource capacity may be a decided
tactical advantage in the case of military-induced personnel reductions
and in the case of a rapidly growing economy. Savvy employers will
be ready. Companies that are prepared can assure their sales professionals
that they can promote goods and services with greater confidence
than their competitors. Orders will be filled. Back-up staffing
will become a significant advantage within the next six months.