A tech hiring freeze doesn’t always have to mean losing resources; sometimes it just means getting creative. Here is a list of creative ways to help replace headcount during a hiring freeze.
Tech companies often encounter hiring freezes, where they are unable to bring on new employees due to budget constraints or other reasons. While a tech hiring freeze can be necessary, especially to avoid additional mass layoffs down the line, in certain situations, they can also make it difficult for companies to keep up with the demands of their business.
In such cases, it is important for companies to find ways to replace headcount to ensure that they can meet their goals and continue to grow. Here are some tips for replacing headcount amid a tech hiring freeze.
When You’re Freezing Hiring Due to Tech Layoffs
Over the last year, up to last week, corporate hiring has seen a halt due to tech layoffs. The widespread downsizing has been driven by a hiring spree during the pandemic and the current and future economic downturn, especially when economists are predicting major market changes and things like interest rates start to skyrocket.
Many people don’t realize that when we slow hiring in the tech sector, it has a wider impact on other businesses because of the tech industry’s involvement in everything we do. So whether you’re making plans for social media like Mark Zuckerberg, figuring out your newest design at Tesla like Elon Musk, or working to keep up with patient charts in healthcare, the impacts of tech layoffs can be wide-reaching.
When people start to hear about major job cuts, especially at big tech companies like Bloomberg and Stripe in San Francisco, or market giants like Amazon, Lyft, or Uber, everyone from the vice president to the newly hired tech workers can be affected. For example, just last month Meta let go of 11,000 workers alone.
However, this doesn’t mean that your employees should start updating their Linkedin. There are plenty of things you can do, especially proactively, to keep your business running strong.
Utilize temporary or contract workers
Bringing in temporary or contract workers can be a useful strategy for replacing headcount amid a hiring freeze. These workers can be hired on a short-term or project-by-project basis, making them a good solution for filling gaps in headcount for a specific period of time.
For example, if an employee is going on leave, a company could bring in a temporary worker to cover for the absent employee. This can ensure the company has the necessary staffing levels to meet its business needs without committing to a long-term employment relationship. Another example could be a company that needs to ramp up staffing levels for a short-term project. In this case, the company could bring in contract job seekers to handle the project and let them go.
Contracted workers can be a cost-effective way to access the necessary resources and expertise without bringing on additional full-time staff.
Automate tasks and processes
Another way to replace headcount is to invest in automation and technology that can take on certain tasks and processes companywide. By implementing tools and systems that can take on certain tasks and processes, companies can free up time for existing employees and allow them to focus on more high-value work.
For example, if a company has a manual process for tracking and approving employee expenses, it could consider implementing an automated expense management system. This could save time and reduce the workload for employees, allowing them to focus on more important tasks.
Another example is a company that relies on paper-based systems to manage customer orders and invoices. By switching to an electronic system, the company saves time and reduces the risk of errors, making it easier for existing staff to handle the workload.
Investing in automation and technology can be an effective way to replace headcount amid a hiring freeze. It can help streamline processes and make it easier for employees to take on additional responsibilities.
Another option is to cross-train employees so they are able to take on additional responsibilities. By providing training and development opportunities that allow employees to learn new skills and take on other responsibilities, companies can fill the gap left by absent employees and make it easier for existing staff to handle the workload.
For example, if an employee is going on leave, coworkers could train to take over some of their tasks. This helps ensure that the company has the necessary staffing levels to meet its business needs, without bringing on additional staff. In addition to filling gaps in headcount, cross-training can also provide employees with the opportunity to learn new skills and advance their careers.
By taking on new responsibilities and challenges, employees can gain new knowledge and experience, making them more valuable to the organization and help them to grow professionally.
Reassign Current Staff
Reassigning staff to different tasks or departments can be another way for companies to replace headcount amid a hiring freeze. By shuffling around the responsibilities of existing employees, companies can fill gaps in headcount and ensure that they have the necessary staffing levels to meet the demands of their business.
For example, if an employee is going on leave, other employees could be reassigned to cover for the absent employee’s tasks. This helps to ensure that the company has the necessary staffing levels to meet its business needs without bringing on additional staff.
Reassigning staff can also allow employees to learn new skills and take on new challenges. By taking on different tasks and responsibilities, employees can gain new knowledge and experience, making them more valuable to the organization and help them to grow professionally.
Utilizing interns can be a useful way for companies to replace headcount amid a hiring freeze. Interns can be a good source of additional labor, particularly for tasks that do not require a high level of expertise. For example, if a company needs additional support with administrative tasks, it could bring on an intern to handle things like data entry, filing, and scheduling.
This can help to free up time for other employees and allow them to focus on more high-value work. In addition to providing additional labor, utilizing interns can also be a good way for companies to attract and retain top talent. Many interns are college students or recent graduates looking to gain real-world experience and build their professional network.
By offering internships, companies can give these individuals a chance to learn and grow, which can help to build a pipeline of talent for the future.
Unlike tech giants like Microsoft or Apple, startup companies can be impacted even more, as they typically have a smaller workforce to begin with.
If certain tasks or projects are outside the scope of your company’s expertise, consider outsourcing them to a third party. By partnering with an external organization or contractor, you can access specialized expertise that may not be available in-house.
For example, suppose a company needs to develop a new software application, but doesn’t have the necessary technical expertise in-house. In that case, it could outsource the project to a software development firm. This saves the company time and money, as it does not have to go through hiring and training new staff.
Another example could be a company that needs to conduct market research in a foreign country, but needs more resources or knowledge to do so. In this case, the company could outsource the research to a local market research firm with the necessary language skills and cultural knowledge.
Outsourcing can be a cost-effective way to get the work done without bringing on additional staff.
Freelancers can be a useful resource for companies facing a hiring freeze, as they can bring a wide range of skills and expertise to a team on a project-by-project basis. For example, if a company needs to develop a marketing campaign, but needs an in-house marketing team, it could hire a freelance marketing specialist to handle the project. The freelancer could bring a deep understanding of marketing strategies and tactics, as well as experience working with a variety of clients. This can be a cost-effective way for the company to access the expertise it needs without bringing on a full-time employee.
Another example could be a company that needs to create a new website, but their team does not have the technical skills to do so. The company could hire a freelance web developer to design and build the website in this case. This allows the company to access the necessary skills and resources without committing to a long-term employment relationship.
Review current processes
Another way to replace headcount is to review your current processes and identify areas where you can streamline or eliminate tasks. By identifying areas where tasks can be streamlined or eliminated, companies can free up time for existing employees and make it easier for them to take on additional responsibilities.
For example, if a company has a manual process for tracking and approving employee expenses, it could consider implementing an automated expense management system. This could reduce the amount of time and effort required to manage expenses, freeing up time for other tasks. Another example could be a company that relies on paper-based systems for managing customer orders and invoices.
By switching to an electronic system, the company could save time and reduce the risk of errors, making it easier for existing staff to handle the workload. In addition, identifying and implementing these types of efficiencies can help companies to replace headcount amid a hiring freeze, without having to bring on additional staff.
Implement remote work
The rise of remote work has opened up a global pool of talent for companies to tap into, which can be particularly useful during a hiring freeze. By offering remote work options to employees, companies can attract top talent from around the world without worrying about the cost and logistics of bringing them on-site.
For example, if a company is looking to hire a software developer, but cannot do so due to a hiring freeze, it could consider offering the position as a remote role. This would allow the company to access a wider pool of candidates, including those who may not be willing or able to relocate.
In addition to attracting top talent, offering remote work options can also help to reduce the need for headcount, as it allows employees to work from anywhere, rather than being required to be in a specific location. This can make it easier for companies to scale their operations and meet changing business needs, without having to bring on additional staff.
Invest in employee development
Providing opportunities for employees to develop new skills and advance their careers helps retain top talent and reduce the need for headcount. By offering training and development programs, companies can help employees to acquire new skills and knowledge that can make them more valuable to the organization. This can include things like technical training, leadership development, or professional certification programs.
In addition to training and development, companies can also provide opportunities for employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities. This can include things like assigning employees to work on new projects, giving them the opportunity to lead a team, or offering them a chance to work with a new group of people.
Providing these types of opportunities can help to keep employees engaged and motivated, and it can also help to reduce the need for headcount, as employees are able to take on more responsibilities and contribute more value to the organization.
Collaborate with other companies
Another option is to collaborate with other companies or organizations to share resources and expertise. By partnering with other organizations, companies can access additional resources and expertise that can help to fill the gap left by absent employees. This can include things like sharing staff or equipment, or working together on joint projects.
Collaborating with other organizations can also provide opportunities for employees to learn new skills and advance their careers. For example, if a company is working on a project with another organization, employees from both companies could work together and learn from one another.
This could provide employees with the opportunity to gain new perspectives and skills and build relationships with professionals from other organizations. Collaborating with other companies or organizations can be a useful way to replace headcount amid a hiring freeze while providing opportunities for employees to grow and develop.
Keeping Momentum for Tech Companies
From outsourcing work and bringing on interns to creating new cross training employees and investing in their development, there are many strategies that companies can use to replace headcount amid a tech hiring freeze. The most important thing is to make sure to be proactive, which can include implementing a hiring slowdown well before a hiring freeze. By doing so, companies can find ways to adapt to the challenges of a hiring freeze and emerge stronger and more resilient the next year.
If this article peaked your interest in effective busines strategies in tech, check out the rest of our blog for more on product development, user experience, developing tech, and more. Whether you’re a startup looking to streamline your product development process, or a larger company looking for ways to improve customer experience, we can help you succeed. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your team become agile.