Surge Staffing

When Marketplace Demand Doesn’t Match Your In-House Talent


It’s no secret that 2020 was one for the books. While our day-to-day lives changed in ways we never imagined, the workforce we lean on so heavily was particularly hard hit. Take the food and beverage market, for example, where skilled trade roles and front-line contributors saw their hours double as demand for their products grew. But national pandemic aside, there are multiple factors that may contribute to needing an alternative plan to meet changing labor needs. Surge staffing may just be the ticket…

The Surge Staffing Solution

Let’s start with the basics. What is surge staffing? In short, it refers to “demand-driven” hiring of new employees/contractors or allocation of existing workers to fill a growing need—targeting a particular area or across the board. Another term for this is staff augmentation. These practices help prevent burning out your most valuable resource: people.

Increasingly, companies have come to rely on a temporary workforce to quickly and easily scale up or down depending on current market demand. We recommend maintaining a list of such persons (or tapping into a service provider or recruiter with a list), who are qualified and up to speed with your type of processes and procedures so that they can step right in with minimal training. In other words, hit the ground running!

This blog presents common scenarios that may call for surge staffing.

Increased Demand

This one hits home for many plant leaders. Demand is at an all-time high, but there are not enough bodies to ensure production goals are met. Machines are being used rigorously, so predictive and routine maintenance plans tend to go on the back burner. Here’s are some things you can do:

  1. Look at your numbers. Downtime = loss in revenue. Labor shortages = loss in production. All things point to bringing in a Maintenance Planner for the increased demand. It might also be worth hiring a hands-on resource to train and guide the talent you have, while leveraging a pipeline of contractors. The numbers will always dictate your next move. It boils down to one simple question: Can you afford to not meet production goals another day? And we know the answer is “No,” every time.
  2. Look at your resources. Where is your pain point? Sometimes, overtime and internal incentives work. But the reality is, people are human, and not only do they tire out, but they deserve a healthy work-life balance, even as business needs may shift. This is where surge staffing can be a pre-emptive measure to ensure employee wellbeing and retention. It may only mean that for a contracted period, you lean on a pool of outside talent to provide relief.
  3. Develop a plan. Production goals should be clearly defined, as that’s what matters most to the company’s bottom line. Then, factor in the resources needed to meet those goals. As soon as demand reaches a certain level, be prepared to act swiftly, by consulting your own list or turning to a surge staffing expert, to find the right professionals to step in. When dealing with an external agency, share candidly what you need and what you have budgeted for, so the ramp up goes smoothly.

Facility Expansion

Congratulations! Not only is your company thriving, but there’s an expansion plan in the works. Whether it’s a new product offering, new equipment installation, or adding more physical space to meet demand, bringing in high-skilled contractors is often the answer as you adjust to a “new normal.” It takes time to onboard full-time talent, so the interim solution of surge staffing may buy you that much-needed time.

Talent Gaps

You’ve heard this time and time again, “It’s an employee market.” Depending on the position, the candidate pool can be very challenging in terms of availability. On top of that, benefit packages are changing, and candidates are taking their time in selecting their next opportunity. Likewise, it’s important for companies to carefully screen job applicants, investing your time and resources into “hiring right, the first time.” And because one opening can lead to several more, this can turn into a very time-consuming process. Again, it’s the ideal opportunity to enlist a surge staffing expert to help browse the market for top talent.

Facility Closing

On the flip side, business demand can shift downward and facilities must prepare to close the doors. Breaking the news to your staff can be devastating, and instinctively, people begin to wonder whether there’s a severance package, a transfer option, or a new opportunity knocking. However, most plants still have production goals to maintain as they bring things to a close. In such cases, it may be necessary to hire temporary maintenance or operator talent during the transition period. This allows the facility to be closed properly while ensuring internal requirements and demands are handled.

Next Steps…

As you begin to work through some of your pressing labor concerns post-COVID, keep in mind that Allied Reliability can assist with surge staffing efforts. We apply a tried-and-true model that delivers immediate value and keeps you up and running at full throttle. Never let another position go unfilled when you can put a solution in place that will drive results in the direction you want to go.


Allied Reliability provides asset management consulting and predictive maintenance solutions across the lifecycle of your production assets to deliver required throughput at lowest operating cost while managing asset risk and achieving environment, social, and governance objectives. We do this by partnering with our clients and applying our proven asset management methodology and leveraging decades of practitioner experience across more verticals than any other provider. Our asset performance management solutions include Consulting & Training, Condition-based Maintenance, Industrial Staffing, Electrical Services, and Machine Reliability.

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