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If there’s one word to sum up the current outlook, it’s uncertainty. Many leading economic indicators have defied long term trends. Low unemployment and robust consumer spending seem to defy other negative factors in the economy such as inflation and fluctuations in GDP.  For company leaders and hiring managers, this uncertainty can make planning for the future difficult. It may be tempting to remain in a holding pattern.  But, when it comes to workforce strategy, not having a plan could end up being the worst decision to make at this moment.

Why? Because the last couple of years have revealed that the way that companies manage their workforce determines the winners and losers emerging from periods of transformation. In the early days of the pandemic, for example, many companies cut their workforce so drastically that, it could be argued, recovering from those cuts was as much of a challenge as planning during the beginning of the pandemic itself.  The good news is that we can plan for what lies ahead, even if uncertainty is this period’s defining factor

Your workforce strategy should allow you to be nimble and responsive 

First, being nimble is likely to be important.  With such a tight labor market and strong consumer demand, it will be an asset to respond quickly to surges and drops in demand.  Contingent labor can help with this, but requires strong partnerships to truly be a strategy.  Contingent doesn’t mean hiring at the last minute; it means having partnerships in place to react quickly and efficiently to market changes whether those changes are positive or negative.

Too often we see contingent labor implemented only when labor markets tighten. This often happens at the last minute.  But strong contingent labor partnerships should really be formed during times of uncertainty.  

A strong partnership gives an operation the ability to implement strategies for seasonal highs and lows, react to volatility, and respond to economic rebounds which usually are felt before they are forecast and certainly before economic reports are published.  

Streamline workforce management by embracing a VMS solution 

Second, now is the time to build in efficiency.  With tight labor markets everywhere, many operators have turned to multiple staffing vendors in order to fill positions.  Now is the time to determine how those vendors are measured and what can be done to create greater efficiency.  Managing or consolidating vendors can impact spend across multiple locations and departments and offers the information you need in order to measure productivity, spend, and efficiency.  

In the past, many vendor management software solutions were only viable for large, multinational operations.  Today, they have become available to smaller operations as well.  For example, Eastridge works with clients to provide contingent labor across many locations and departments and helps manage those systems with its own VMS solution.  All this can be done on a small to midsize scale to help fill positions, manage productivity, and control cost -- highly important factors during times of uncertainty.

Partner with a workforce vendor who can help you manage safety and compliance 

Another important aspect to consider is safety and compliance.  These components of workforce management have become more stringent in recent years and economic uncertainty will not diminish their importance moving ahead.  Managing safety and compliance will continue to be a need in the future and workforce leaders need to plan for that even during economic highs and lows.  Choosing workforce partners that can meet safety and compliance standards and manage costs at the same time is vital today and looking ahead.

To be clear, there is no crystal ball.  But it’s a safe bet that managing your workforce will be critical in weathering a storm or growing business and winning market share throughout a period of uncertainty.  A continued tight labor market, high wages, and inflation all mean that workforce strategy will continue to be front and center as the outlook for 2023 takes shape.  Finding the right partnerships is an important factor in determining the winners and losers emerging from this period of uncertainty.


Eastridge Workforce Solutions partners with companies to build strong contingent labor strategies, recruit and hire staff and leaders, and manage vendors and workforce strategies.  With its own proprietary software solution Eastridge provides systems that drive efficiency to partners large and small.  We’re already partnering with clients to plan for what’s ahead.  Contact us to plan your workforce strategy.

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