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Tania Govender | 6 March 2023

This year has seen South Africans suffer with load shedding every day so far, with no end in sight for the foreseeable future. The economic impact is undeniable – many Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) have been left unable to cope with the frequent and unpredictable power outages. Downtime, disruption to business, damage to equipment from power surges, and an increase in crime are just a few of the impacts being felt. Businesses are looking at all available avenues to optimise their expenses to curb rapidly rising costs. As labour is typically a business’ biggest operating cost, job losses loom as companies look to downsize or reduce operating times. Surviving this trying time will require innovative and flexible staffing solutions, and a Temporary Employment Services (TES) provider may be perfectly positioned to be of assistance.

Handling the crisis

The economic impact of load shedding is massive. Energy minister Gwede Mantashe has said: “It is estimated that load shedding costs the economy about R1 billion a day.” Production costs increase, which means that the cost of products increases and these costs are then passed on to consumers, which can in turn impact sales.

With no immediate relief on the horizon, and with many SMMEs unable to afford alternative power solutions, other avenues need to be explored. This often takes the form of reduced shifts or reduced staff numbers to minimise fixed overhead costs.

However, it can be resource-intensive to effectively manage the scaling up and down of a workforce in this manner. If it is not done correctly, and in line with labour laws and guidelines as well as in consultation with affected communities, the impact on business can be detrimental. Job losses are a real possibility, however, TES providers can step in and help to mitigate this risk with more flexible employment solutions.

The value of TES

In light of these challenges, it has become essential for companies to find solutions that can help provide some financial relief. One area that can be of significant benefit is introducing flexibility in staffing supply, which allows businesses to pay only for staff supplied as and when their services are needed. This can help businesses to cope with unpredictable load shedding schedules.

Furthermore, it is the added value that a TES solution can offer that sets it apart. In addition to flexible staffing, a TES provider also covers multiple other services that businesses typically pay separate service providers for, which multiplies both cost and management complexity. A packaged staffing solution can save a lot of money as well as administrative headaches and can make business simpler and more cost-efficient to run.

This will include full, detailed recruitment of temporary workers, including screening and verification, so the business will not have to expend time or resources for recruitment and associated costs. The TES partner will also manage a pool of additional workers with the necessary skills and experience so that they can be supplied quickly and when necessary whilst also managing union and/or ward councillor meetings and negotiations Further to this, TES providers can also assist with the management of Human Resources (HR) and Industrial Relations (IR) processes including employment contracts, disciplinaries, counselling, terminations, and attending Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) cases.

With a TES partner providing flexible staffing, businesses can have peace of mind that they remain compliant with every aspect of labour legislation. In addition, if employees need to be placed for a short time, a TES provider will be able to offer other employment opportunities within their client base to enable them to supplement their income. TES providers also offer temporary employees benefits that are generally only available to permanent staff, or that SMMEs may not be able to afford, such as funeral cover, medical cover, training and development.

Surviving and thriving

With the effects of load shedding on revenues and profits, businesses need to be extremely cost conscious. A reputable TES partner provides cost-effective services that can save businesses money, offering a quick solution with a fast turnaround to realise cost savings.

On top of this, businesses making use of TES solutions have peace of mind that their employees have a better chance of securing additional work if they are ever placed on a short time.

An established and reputable TES provider will offer excellent value for businesses while delivering the flexible staffing solutions that have become necessary for surviving and thriving in an uncertain and tumultuous economic climate.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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