staffing advice from shakespeare
I’m heading to Ashland, OR next week. Home to the annual Shakespeare festival where the universally recognized genius is celebrated. His longevity is indicative of at least one thing – he must have something important and useful to say. So I wondered, what could we learn from Shakespeare about the staffing business? It turns out plenty.

1. “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” from Richard III.

As King Richard fights for his life on the battlefield, he is left without a vital resource, a horse. His eventual demise is a reminder that one must create a plan that incorporates and plans for all necessary resources.

Workforce planning that includes your company’s contingent labor plans is critical to success. Understanding how your needs will change and planning for busier times or special projects will help ensure that you have the resources you need, when you need them. Of course you can’t anticipate everything and there will always be a few surprises, but planning for at least what you can predict will help you weather the surprises better. And don’t keep that information in a drawer or to yourself. Share it with your staffing firms – the more they know, the better they can help you!

2. “To thine own self be true” from Hamlet

In order to find the right candidate, you need to know what you really need. Be sure to consider both hard and soft skills and what qualities are most important for the position and your company overall. A good fit usually involves more than just knowledge of a particular program or experience with a certain application. Cultural fit is often the difference between success and failure. Understanding what matters to you and communicating it to your staffing agency is the key. And don’t accept candidates that don’t meet your needs just because an agency says that’s the best they can do. If you aren’t getting what you ask for, consider expanding your vendor base, especially in niche labor markets like IT staffing.

3. “Our doubts are traitors and makes us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” from Measure for Measure

This one is near and dear to my heart because I think it speaks to the crisis of confidence that we face in our country right now. Too many businesses seem scared to expand, scared to hire, to invest, to take that leap of faith necessary to grow any business. Now I’m not suggesting you make frivolous decisions not based on good business sense. I’m just suggesting that you remember there are no guarantees of success in business or in life; at some point we all have to push aside the doubts and just do it. I also want to remind you that using contingent workers can help reduce some of those worries. A good CW strategy can help your business expand smartly at the right pace, address seasonal spikes in demand without losing customers, and by testing an employee’s suitability in real time, on the job, make the best hiring decisions.

Three quotes, three pieces of advice from the Bard interpreted for the staffing industry. I hope you enjoyed them!

Next time: Shakespeare’s advice for the independent contractor.

Jerry Brenholz
President and CEO



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