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Allegis Global Solutions: Leveraging Technology for Recruitment in a COVID-19 World

 

My initial research into Impact of COVID-19 on Recruitment Services: Vendor Perspective (March 2020) highlighted several stand-out dilemmas that client organizations face. Notably, some organizations need to continue hiring and the only way to do so is by embracing technology (sometimes reluctantly), enabling them to carry out recruitment steps remotely. Also, some sectors were ramping up hiring (in an already-tight labor market), while other industries had ceased all hiring activity for the immediate term. Without the appropriate technology in place, how would organizations needing to furlough workers, and end contingent worker contracts in the short-term, be able to rehire them later?

I recently spoke to Cory Hansen, VP of MSP Operations at Allegis Global Solutions, to establish how they have been helping organizations navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. I was keen to focus on their expanded (via acquisition) healthcare vertical (representing 20% of their MSP clients), the cyclical nature of demand for hiring support of contingent workers in the sector, and their use of technology to track those workers.     

Allegis Global Solutions’ initial approach

Following initial focus on preserving employee health and safety, enabling its employees to work from home, then supporting its clients to do so too (by setting up its MSP COVID-19 taskforce), there was a wave of MSP clients that needed to either ramp-up or reduce their workers with immediate effect.

Within 12 hours, Allegis Global Solutions had set up a COVID-19 Operational Demand Center (with a Leader, a Recruitment Manager, a Supplier Manager, and three specialist recruiters) to control all the different client demands centrally. Being able to holistically see all recruiters and manage their movement, from program teams seeing declining recruitment to program teams seeing recruitment surges, was essential. More importantly, Allegis Global Solutions needed a grip on the movement of all contingent workers (whether those of their existing clients or new organizations reaching out for the first time for COVID-19 support).

Healthcare sector focus

The Healthcare vertical, with three clusters of clients with hiring needs at different times throughout the pandemic, would add another layer of complexity. Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals, etc.) were ramping up hiring from the get-go. One client, manufacturing items to combat COVID-19, required an additional 250 resources, which Allegis Global Solutions delivered within three weeks, leveraging their existing supply chain. Another client needed to reach a target of delivering 100,000 medical devices to hospitals, requiring 100s of extra staff to manufacture those devices.  Also, clinical clients were ramping up, but with the complexity of worker reassignment. Allegis Global Solutions uses its proprietary platform to keep track of the workers. Information stored comprises key details of the worker; the supplier representing them; the manager they report/reported to; the client they are/were deployed with; and the original requisition number. This enables Allegis Global Solutions to successfully reassign workers to new jobs and track their location so they can be hired for a new assignment or rehired in their original position, should circumstances allow.

One client, providing occupational health services, was adapting its services to support the COVID-19 pandemic (temperature screening, nurse provision, etc.), requiring tracking of their redeployments.  Similarly, hospital network workers were being redeployed from areas (such as elective surgery, where demand has slumped) to ICU, which was desperate for additional resources.

Allegis Global Solutions’ proprietary technology proved its worth when it was asked by a State Governor’s office to stand up a hiring solution within 24 hours. The solution required 1000s of clinicians to be on the front line to save lives at existing and temporary hospital sites, as well as to skill nursing facilities throughout the State. Twelve hours later there was a verbal agreement in place to deliver MSP-type services for them (normally a 12-month engagement cycle) and deploy technology (a four-to-six-week process, usually). The project was to supply talent and create an outreach web portal for talent (possessing medical skillsets). The program could potentially have needed 12-15K extra hires as a worst-case scenario. Further complexity has come from the need to interface with and source talent from several existing hospital networks, which would normally be competing with each other. To date, there have been over 1000 clinicians hired and dozens of individuals reassigned from other jobs.

Allegis Global Solutions has been leveraging its ACUMEN Business Intelligence technology, too, where at the presentation layer, it can get access to as much data as it needs to see what is happening in real-time. It keeps track of all clients, what jobs are open, and what jobs have been cancelled. Also, it identifies where there is a surplus of workers who can be redeployed to another client with a spike in demand. It has been a useful repository of pay data, too. The already severe clinical staffing shortage has been exacerbated with COVID-19, as clinical workers have demanded a 30%-100% pandemic/ quarantine premium in addition to their basic pay to consider a temporary role. This data set from the pandemic will be invaluable for the future if similar events happen again.

Looking ahead

As per the NelsonHall March 2020 research, Allegis Global Solutions is one vendor advising its healthcare clients (especially frontline clinical workers) on the quickest way to leverage technology to aid remote hiring, especially for virtual interviewing (where face-to-face interviewing has been the norm), timely background screening/credentialing (including drug testing), and the virtual onboarding of workers. Allegis Global Solutions has helped clients to prioritize the components, from the most important to the least important, making concessions allowing contingent workers to start work, with checks following on later than would otherwise be permitted.

Into Q3 and beyond, essentially a lag of several months, the healthcare payer providers will see an uptick in work, resulting in a surge in demand for extra staff from Allegis Global Solutions, as end customers will make claims, require preventative testing, and the window for open enrollment looms (with expectations of enrollments being higher than ever before). This activity may be post-clinical ramp-up or sit alongside (depending on how long the COVID-19 pandemic remains at a “requiring social distancing” level). It will, however, add further data/tracking insights into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic via its proprietary platform and ACUMEN. When the pandemic is over, it will be interesting to see the patterns of reassignment and rehire of workers throughout the period. 

Conclusion

For me, what the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted is that organizations have left themselves exposed through their slow uptake of digital transformation (especially in the recruitment space). On a positive note, it has made everyone aware of the importance of technology in their daily lives (and how it has enabled organizations to have some level of business continuity). It has forced organizations to embrace digital transformation at an initial break-neck speed, such that there is now no turning back. The Allegis Global Solutions case study highlights that organizations cannot embrace digital transformation/ recruitment transformation single-handedly. Organizations must seek out a suitable partner who can guide them on their transformation journey.

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