Academic journal article Human Ecology Forum

Flexible Staffing Grows in Corporate Popularity

Academic journal article Human Ecology Forum

Flexible Staffing Grows in Corporate Popularity

Article excerpt

By the end of the century, businesses may be as likely to lease employees as they do furniture. Downsizing of the workforce saves costs for business by cutting back on the number of employees. And when workloads increase, those employers may hire temporary workers rather than permanent ones.

"Flexible staffing has been driven by a fierce competitive climate that has led organizations to downsize, reorganize, and reduce head count," says Franklin D. Becker, professor of design and environmental analysis.

"Flexible staffing practices are intended to increase the organization's labor flexibility in the face of unpredictable and constantly changing business conditions. The use of contingent workers allows organizations to increase or reduce staff quickly and easily as the needs of the organization change," he says.

These workplace alternatives also allow organizations to reduce labor costs as a result of not having to pay benefits.

Flexible staffing options include temporary agency hires, independent contractors, internal temporary pools, employee leasing, temporary fixed-term contracts, and outsourcing. Temps are hired through a service; contractors and temporary fixed-term workers are self-employed; internal temporary pools are workers "on call" as needed; and outsourcing means contracting out work, ranging from cleaning to accounting, to outside organizations.

The one thing all these arrangements have in common is that the employee is not considered a permanent or full-time member of the organization and does not enjoy the full benefits offered to permanent, full-time employees. Nor is that worker perceived to be as loyal or committed as permanent, full-time employees.

Temporary agency hires are still the most common form of flexible staffing. The number of people employed by temporary agencies in the United States grew from 184,000 to 760,000 between 1970 and 1986. …

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