Flexible Workers and Work Arrangements Gaining Momentum … Shannon Chamber Seminar hears

Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber (centre) pictured with Fiona Fennell, director, CREGG Recruitment and Sinéad Mullins, industrial relations and human resources executive, IBEC, at the breakfast seminar in Zimmer Biomet. Photo: Eamon Ward.

An increasing number of companies are looking towards a contingency workforce model as a means of managing their talent flow and their ability to adapt to changing business needs. This was the clear message that emanated from a Shannon Chamber breakfast seminar hosted last week by Zimmer Biomet with guest speakers from CREGG Recruitment and IBEC.


Speaking at the seminar, CREGG Recruitment director Fiona Fennell said: “Companies are looking for new ways to grow their business yet constrict their workforce. That’s why they are moving towards blended workforces, whereby they retain a provisional group of workers on a non-permanent basis to complement their permanent cohort of staff. It gives them greater agility, reduces risk and cost and offers greater efficiency.


“There are so many instances when a contingency workforce solution is beneficial, most particularly where business is cyclical or highly seasonal, when production demands are subject to change or uncertainty, for introducing new product lines or technology or for trialling flexible work arrangements.


“When using contingency workers,  companies must be careful to comply with all relevant employment legislation such as: ‘Contract of’ or ‘Contract for’ Services; the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency and Part-time Work) Act 2001; Protection of Employees (Fixed-term Work) Act 2003; and Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012,” added Ms Fennell.


This fact was also emphasised by IBEC’s industrial relations and human resources executive, Sinéad Mullins, who advised: “Companies should pilot test any changes to flexible human resources practices; reserve the right to withdraw the provision; commit it to writing; have a review period and use it.”


Speaking after the event, Shannon Chamber chief executive Helen Downes said: “In such a fast-changing business environment and with work-life balance a key consideration for employees, flexibility is paramount. Companies need to look at different ways of ‘on’ and ‘off’ boarding staff and contingency workforce management is a great enabler in this regard. It’s a topic which our HR Forum members have shown an interest in and we will be going into its usage benefits in greater detail at our meetings during the year.”