What is Surge Staffing, and When Do You Need it?

Let’s start with the basics. 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 people (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!

In this blog, we'll delve into the world of surge staffing, exploring its myriad benefits and unveiling the key scenarios where it can make all the difference. From navigating talent shortages in rural areas to seamlessly scaling up for facility expansions, surge staffing offers a lifeline for businesses facing uncertainty.

Let’s go over how surge staffing can transform your approach to workforce management by covering a few of the most common issues that create staffing issues, ensuring you're always equipped to meet challenges head-on.

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 are some things you can do:

  • Look at your numbers. Downtime = loss of revenue. Labor shortages = loss in production. All these 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 not to meet production goals another day? And we know the answer is “No,” every time.
  • 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.
  • 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 being more selective of their next opportunity with the potential for multiple options on the table. Likewise, companies need to screen job applicants carefully, investing your time and resources into “hiring right, the first time.” And because one opening can lead to several more, this can become very time-consuming.

Rural Location

In rural areas, the challenge intensifies. Limited candidate pools make filling full-time positions even more daunting. Everyone seems to be fighting over the same candidates, constantly encountering familiar faces with each job opening. This scarcity of talent can significantly hinder operational continuity and growth prospects. Fortunately, a surge staffing specialist will have the expertise to seamlessly navigate such hurdles—like tapping into a broader talent network that is ready and willing to travel for such opportunities.

Facility Closing

On the flip side, business demand can shift downward, and facilities must prepare to close their 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. All that considered, most plants still have production goals to maintain as they bring operations to a close. In such cases, hiring temporary maintenance or operator talent may be necessary during the transition period. This allows the facility to be appropriately closed while ensuring internal requirements are handled and demands are still being met.

You’ve Identified a Need for Help, What Are Your Next Steps?

Allied Reliability is ready to assist with your surge staffing needs. We apply a tried-and-true model that delivers immediate value and keeps you up and running at full throttle. By tapping into a nationwide network of candidates, including those willing to travel, Allied provides a solution for any staffing dilemma. Our candidates are ready to hit the ground running to fill crucial roles for as long as necessary. This approach bridges immediate staffing gaps and affords organizations the time needed to identify suitable long-term solutions. 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. We do this by partnering with our clients, applying our proven asset management methodology, and leveraging decades of practitioner experience across more verticals than any other provider. Our asset management solutions include Consulting & Training, Condition-based Maintenance, Industrial Staffing, Electrical Services, and Machine Reliability.

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