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Anita & Regina, Kelly Services Hong Kong, hr

Contract staffing: From expense to strategic asset

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2015 and 2016 have been challenging years for businesses worldwide. With companies adopting more conservative business plans in view of the global economic uncertainty, the headcount quotas have been tighter than ever.

To propel their business growth, companies are becoming more flexible in adopting alternative talent acquisition means such as part-time, contract or temporary employees. Helping them make this transition is Kelly Services Hong Kong. As a Fortune 500 workforce solution provider, Kelly Services serves 98% of the Fortune 100 companies worldwide.

While many employers adopt contract and temporary staffing as a means to meet business objectives while keeping headcount and related costs under control, Kelly Services knows there’s more to it.

A recent global survey by the company found that nearly one in three workers globally can now be classified as a “free agent” – someone not tied to a full-time employment contract.

“Strategic employers recognise contract staffing as a growing trend among employees, especially Millennials, and as an integral part of their holistic talent supply chain management,” explained Alan Wong, managing director at Kelly Services Hong Kong.

“It’s a strategic way for clients to develop their talent ecosystem to support mid- to long-term business strategies.”

A solid business foundation and a good reputation have put Kelly Services Hong Kong in a great position to cater to the increasing market needs for contracting and temporary recruitment. As a result, the business blossomed in 2015 and 2016 despite the negative market sentiment of downsizing and layoffs.

Wong believes the company’s high service quality is one of the drivers behind its success.

“Through the years, companies’ budgets allocated to contract staffing have remained stringent, and it is not unusual for clients to demand agencies to lower their rates,” he said.

“Yet, while many agency players choose to cut costs to win new business and maximise profit, Kelly Services remains steadfast in upholding its service quality.”

Three key areas in which Kelly Services continues to provide the highest quality are payment processing, valuing contract staff, and training opportunities.

Payment processing
Payment processing can be a challenge when it comes to contract staff. The industry’s widely adopted “bill and pay system”, requiring client-approved time sheets to be collected and invoiced before contractor staff are paid, means many industry players fail to pay their contract staff on time.

No matter the challenges, Kelly Services takes the on-time payment of staff very seriously. The company knows if payment is not handled properly, it will hurt the contractors’ work morale and harm both the clients’ and the company’s reputation.

“That is why we have implemented a streamlined process to ensure payment is made even if our internal standard operating procedure cannot be completed within the planned schedule,” commented Anita Ng, director of commercial staffing for Kelly Services Hong Kong.

Thanks to the process, Kelly consultants are always aware of the exact hours each contractor has put in for a client.

“Regardless of whether a client’s approved time sheets have been collected and the client has been billed, Kelly ensures that our temporary staff are paid on time, and contractors are paid at a fixed date each month,” she added.

Valuing contract staff
Another area of focus for the company is making sure its contractors feel valued. Many clients and industry players still consider contract staffing as no more than a company expense and a tactical solution to meeting business needs.

Believing that contractors will only offer their best when they know they’re valued, Kelly Services relentlessly advocates staff outsourcing as a strategic way for clients to develop their talent ecosystem to support mid to long-term business strategies.

“We ensure our consultants maintain a service standard to candidates as well as clients,” said Regina Lai, director of IT contracting at Kelly Services Hong Kong.

“For example, our consultants at Kelly make quarterly personal calls or visits to individual contractors to make sure they are satisfied with their assignments.”

In addition, a focus on good communication means consultants adhere to a candidate response time of two to four hours, while the company also works to support clients in strengthening their communication with contract staff.

Training opportunities
A final key focus helping Kelly Services maintain its success is training. The latest Kelly Global Workforce Index revealed more than 70% of Hong Kong employees are more concerned about their skills being obsolete or outdated than being laid off. Yet only 35% feel their company is investing in training.

For contract staff, access to company-provided training is even more unlikely.

“Based on feedback from contract staff surveys, Kelly listened to her contract staff and started offering periodic training sessions such as the Kelly presentation skills workshop, and the Kelly PMP certification preparation course,” Lai said.

Kelly Services motivates and cares for all its clients’ staff, whether they’re working on a contract, temporary or permanent basis. This way, they feel valued, respected and ultimately more satisfied with their jobs.

By going the extra mile, Kelly Services has maintained a good reputation and with that a steady stream of referrals from both clients and candidates. As a result, the company took home the gold award for Best Contract Staffing Solution Agency at the Vendors of the Year Awards 2016, Hong Kong.

“We are humbled and grateful to wrap up 2016 feeling very reassured,” Wong said of the recognition.

“The trust our clients have placed in us and the opportunities those relationships have created have helped Kelly rise to its challenges. We are adamant to put forward even greater efforts in the years to come.”

Alan Wong, managing director at Kelly Services Hong Kong
Alan Wong, managing director at Kelly Services Hong Kong

This article is brought to you by Kelly Services Hong Kong.

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