When Traditional Staffing Agencies Fail


Unless you know what’s going on, it may be what you thought.

Stuck in traffic, you notice a crowd of workers gathered around a utility worksite. Half a dozen people are just standing around. One carries a clipboard. A couple of laborers rest their arms on shovels. Others stare into a hole. A hardhat peaks out of the hole. Somebody’s down there. Most are just waiting. For something.

Like a paycheck.

C’mon. You’ve thought it. Or heard it from somebody else.

If you don’t know what’s going on, you think about your tax dollars at work. About union laborers maybe. You certainly don’t think happy thoughts.

It sure looks as if someone is paying folks to stand around. So, what is going on?

It’s simple, really.

Each of those workers is a specialist. Hard-working laborers, some dig holes. Then, they cover them up when the work is complete. They have to know where it’s safe to dig, and where it isn’t.

If the site requires major earth moving, then the crew might include heavy equipment operators too.

When the work requires mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades, each of those skilled workers is represented. Trained and licensed electricians. Plumbers. Mechanical contractors.

And a supervisor who helps to coordinate the work.

You wouldn’t call a plumber to repair electrical damage in your home. Utility companies don’t want one trade addressing the needs of another either.

Standing around?

They’re likely just waiting to handle their aspect of the job.

And, if multiple trades are needed—and they aren’t present and ready to go—then the work will only be more costly, not less.

If you’ve ever waited for a cable company repairman, you know time has a way of getting away from you. (And, sure, they’re busy people too.)

When all trades are present, the work gets done. More quickly.

No matter how it may look, it’s smart. It’s best. And it works.

That’s what you get with specialists. Quality work from trained people who accomplish specific tasks. Well. With skill.

And if you’re an industrial employer, it’s why you’d be wise to take great care with each call to a contingency staffing agency. Choose wisely.

Generalist Staffing Agencies Aren’t Industrial Specialists 

Yours is an industrial work environment. A manufacturing plant. A construction site. A refinery. A petrochemical terminal.

If you need clerical help, you ask for it.

But you don’t.

You need a contingency workforce that understands industrial safety. Workers who are comfortable in a hard hat. Who’ve worn ear protection. A face mask.

Hey, you appreciate the skills required to fix a broken computer. (Maybe you even wish you could do that.) But, that’s not what you need.

So, just how selective are staffing agencies that pride themselves on the size of their workforce? They’ve got typists, clerical workers, file clerks, warehouse workers, dock hands, phone order takers and more. When you need generalists, you call them. And, that is their specialty. Offering variety is what they do well.

Generalists handle many needs.

Just not yours.

It is one way they fail you.

You need safety specialists. Workers most comfortable in an industrial environment. Because that’s your work, they’re the very workers you need.

You don’t want generalists. You want a team of specialists.

So, you don’t want a generalist staffing service. You want a specialist.

Generalists Are Unkind to Your Bottom Line

Think again about that utility work site.

You know . . . that hole in the ground that used to bother you.

How much do you think it costs to keep all those specialty trades people on the payroll. Right. It’s costly. Lots of training. Healthy wages. Benefits. Payroll. Continuing ed. Tools. Supplies. Equipment. Management costs.

It’s necessary, but it can be expensive to maintain a diverse staff.

You get it. It’s true for you too.

So, how do generalist staffing agencies do it? Right . . .

Just like the construction firm that must keep a variety of trades on staff or on call, a generalist staffing agency has to do the same thing.

That costs money.

And you pay for it.

If you choose a generalist, you are paying for those who work for you. By default, you’re also paying for those who aren’t.

Such an agency has to keep a great variety of people on the payroll. Maintain all their benefits. Market each of the services they offer. And manage it all.

You’re going to be paying for it. And that’s one more way a generalist fails you.

Save costs. Use a specialist staffing agency.

Generalists Don’t Understand Your Regulated Environment


You know it well. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is now more than thirty years old. As you’re aware, additions to the Federal Register continue. But, just as the statutes require, you also want a “safe and healthful workplace.” You work hard to maintain it. And OSHA helps ensure it.

A violation—however unintended—costs you thousands. But more.

Violations can threaten the safety of your workers.

Reams of regulations apply to you and your workforce. You read. You offer training. You review the law. You prepare for inspections. You stay on top of it.

You want to.

You have to.

Choose a generalist to supply your industrial workers. Then ask how much OSHA training they receive.

Sure. You don’t expect them to know what you know. But, it’s not unfair to expect their industrial workers to have some training. Maybe more than a little.

It’s simple common sense. An industrial safety staffing specialist will know more. Will receive more training. Will have more experience.

An industrial contingency workforce, trained to work in your environment, is just better prepared to serve you and your needs. Simple. Sensible. True.

Your contingency specialists work alongside your staff. And your permanent team wants temporaries who also work safe.

If they’re properly trained, they can.

But, if they’re recommended by a generalist, how much can they know? You can’t really ask of people what they simply do not have to offer.

And yet, it doesn’t have to define your concerns. Choose an industrial staffing agency to provide you with trained specialists.

Do One Thing Very Well

“Focus. Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.”

Steve Jobs is celebrated for his many contributions to the lifestyles we enjoy. Personal computers. iPhones. iPads. Pixar. Disney.

He knew his share of failure. And he enjoyed wondrous success.

Above all, he was a gifted, creative entrepreneur. “Do one thing well.” There is no doubt. That one thing Steve Jobs did extremely well.

A specialist of any kind embraces that notion.

One thing.

Done well.

Please don’t expect even the best generalist staffing agency to provide the best industrial staffing workforce. Please don’t.

In fairness, it isn’t what they do.

Their ‘one thing’ is to provide a workforce that meets almost every need.


In your search for industrial specialists, look to a specialist staffing agency.

It’s all they do. They focus.

And when people focus on one thing, they tend to do it very well.

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