Labour Hire vs Professional Service Labour
You want a labour team to help complete a project but you’ve had a few bad experiences or heard a few horror stories about labour hire staff so you’re a bit reluctant. What do you do? Is there an alternative? The answer is yes, yes there is. What you want is professional service labour.
What’s professional service labour? Simply put, it’s a temporary workforce you hire to help complete a project. But wait, isn’t that labour hire? Sort of, but also not really. There are a few critical differences between the two that might make all the difference.
Industry Knowledge and Experience
Recruiting is an expensive and time consuming process, especially when you only require extra labour for a temporary project, which is why a lot of companies turn to labour hire. It’s a great way of filling a temporary need without the hassle or cost of recruiting yourself. You put in your order, sit back, relax, and let someone else do the legwork for you. But…how can you be sure they’re going to find the right people for you?
Let’s say you’re looking for a crew of 9 advanced scaffolders to work with you on a shutdown. You’ve worked hard winning that shutdown contract, you’ve put your reputation on the line, you’re determined to make a good impression, you need your crew to be skilled, experienced, and hard working…
In an ideal world your labour hire company would have knowledge of scaffolding, maybe their recruiters would be former scaffolders or shutdown crew. They’d know the pace and work style needed to do a good job on a shutdown. They’d make sure they built you a tried and tested crew that you could rely on. Unfortunately we don’t always live in an ideal world. Chances are the person you talk to at the labour hire company will be a career recruiter and won’t have hands on experience in the roles you’re looking to fill.
You might want to interview the candidates yourself, you might trust your recruiter’s opinion and put them on. It might work out great. It might not. Labour hire companies have to recruit a varied amount of roles to be profitable, which means you rarely get a recruiter who has specific experience in a trade or profession. Instead you get a recruiter who tries their best to learn the idiosyncrasies of hundreds of professions and thousands of site based variations on those professions to find you what you want. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
Professional service labour works a bit differently. The fundamental idea is the same. You hire a temporary labour force from someone else to complete a job or project. The difference is in the labour! Professional labour services have a much narrower focus and are often run by experienced industry professionals. They recruit what they know. They’ve worked in the roles you’re recruiting for. They’ve done the jobs you want labour to do. They know what sets a good recruit apart from a bad one. They don’t keep tens of thousands of names on a database, they keep small, dedicated crew of tried and tested employees they know you can rely on.
It’s All About The Team
Let’s say you use a labour hire company for a shutdown and they send you 9 great scaffolders. They do an amazing job. They build the prettiest scaffold your client has ever seen. The client wants you back in 2 weeks. Great! You contact the labour hire company and ask for the same 9 scaffolders for your new project. They send you 4 of the same and 5 new recruits because they’ve already sent 5 of the people you want to other jobs. Now you have to go back and explain to your client why they’re getting more new faces, why they’ll have to do more new inductions, you might even have to explain afterwards why the quality of work declined. Not a great position to be in.
With professional service labour you’ll get the same team again and again, and should a face or two change, you’ll know they’re there because they deserve to be, not because they’re needed to make up the numbers. Professional service labour employees rarely work for other companies. They’re usually full time members of the team who work in small teams on different jobs, but always in the same trade. They won’t be sent out on non-scaffolding assignments, they’re professional scaffolders and work in their trade. They’re career employees, not odd job workers.
So Labour Hire or Professional Service Labour?
Both options have their positives and drawbacks and both can be used to help get your project off the ground. If you’re looking for a variety of roles and you’re happy to at least be partially involved in the recruitment process then labour can work pretty well. If you want a team of tradespeople you can rely on to perform while you focus on other things, then professional service labour is the way to go.
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