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Managing human resources through the pandemic

There’s never been a better time to hire temp workers through an agency

by Dariusz Ronka, communication specialist, KS Service
Header header foto dariusz ronka


This has been an extremely difficult year for entrepreneurs, business leaders and entire national economies. Since Covid-19 was recognised as a pandemic by the WHO on 11 March 11, there have been 65 million cases of infection across 190 countries, and over 1.5 million deaths.

The pandemic broke out rapidly in the spring, triggering many measures to counter the spread of the disease. Various countries' actions include travel restrictions, quarantines and bans on certain economic activity bans; sports, cultural and religious events have been canceled. Schools and colleges switched to distance learning, and workers on a mass scale began to work from home.

Currently, the whole world, including Europe and Poland, is struggling with a second, very serious wave of diseases. We have been seeing record numbers of daily new cases of infection as well as alarmingly high death rates. Some sectors of the economy are already closed, such as hotels and restaurants, and many businesses are expecting the introduction of another full lockdown of the economy, as we’d experienced in the spring.

The solution to the pandemic would be an effective vaccine. Although there are several  potentially effective contenders in the race to complete clinical trials, roll-out of mass vaccinations across countries’ populations will only begin at the earliest in the spring of 2021. The required number of doses will be hundreds of millions if not billions of doses, the production of which is not so easy, let alone the logistics of storage and distribution.

This reality should also be influenced by the economic situation of Poland. Our country is not well prepared to finance the second wave of the epidemic and a second lockdown. The scale of state aid that took place during the first spring lockdown is impossible to repeat, and businesses can only count on repayable funds, rather than non-repayable subsidies.

The situation in which businesses now have to function is very difficult. They must take into account additional elements of business risk, such as:

• Temporary suspension of all business activity in a specific industry

• Problems with maintaining the appropriate quality and timeliness of supply chains

• Need to suspend the operation of the enterprise in the event of an epidemic outbreak, related to both diseases and quarantine

• Risk of high rates of sick leave, caused by infection, quarantine, or care for sick family members

• If it is necessary to dismiss a larger group of employees, there’s the risk of many inconveniences and additional costs related to doing it in the form of group layoffs

Many businesses are not in a good shape. They are exposed to many new elements that have never experienced before, at the same time as the national  and global economies are struggling to regain momentum. In such a situation an interesting alternative, which can eliminate many threats to the continuity of the functioning of enterprises, is cooperating with an employment agency.

Use of temporary work services allows for the optimal adjustment of a firm’s employment structure to the changing needs of the market and the client. This form contributes to flexible management of the employment structure in the enterprise, guaranteeing business continuity and optimisation of its costs.

The crisis situation which the country and many businesses are currently in means that by establishing cooperation with an employment agency, you can focus your attention on mitigating the effects of the crisis, having a permanent supply of qualified temporary workers. Such a background allows the employer to decide on an ongoing basis about the number of employees depending on the current epidemic, market situation or seasonality. It avoids many problems related to the traditional employment model, and the lack of flexibility associated with it.

Temporary employment agencies guarantee businesses cooperating with them a permanent and diverse base of qualified employees, and the number of employees can be decided on an ongoing basis, depending on the current situation. Therefore, a business manager can quickly hire additional people, as well as reduce costs, without incurring high costs of severance pay or dismissals.

It is also important that the employment agency takes over the entire area related to the recruitment process, as well as HR and payroll services with all its consequences. Cooperating with an employment agency and the use of temporary workers means:

• No risk of the costs of collective redundancies in the event of a need to carry out a serious reduction in employment

• Short notice periods for temporary employment contracts (up to three days) – important in situations involving a sudden drop in demand or the need to temporarily close a business

• The possibility of concluding an unlimited number of fixed-term contracts for relatively short periods

• Transferring the process of recruiting new employees to the employment agency, saving time and money

Temporary work is becoming an excellent alternative for many businesses due to its flexibility; there’s less paperwork, and many areas of its operation and business processes are directly handled by the employment agency. Thus, business leaders can focus their actions on the current response to the firm’s changing economic and financial situation, as well as the entire economic environment, including restrictions introduced by the government in connection with the prevailing state of the pandemic. In general, we will probably have to deal with such problems at least until an effective vaccine and a drug for Covid-19 are invented and made public. In the meanwhile – there’s at least a solution available for businesses’ HR problems.

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