FMCG businesses transforming the way they hire in post-Covid world

FMCG businesses are transforming the way they hire in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new report reveals.

Almost one in three (30%) of companies said they plan to increase their flexible teams in terms of the number of temporary workers they hire.

Of those, 42% planned to grow the size of their flexible workforce by between 51-75% while 34% planned increases of 26-50%.

The main reason cited was the ability to invest with less risk, closely followed by being able to react faster, feeling more in control and the increased appetite of society for working flexibly.

The greater use of flexible teams comes as 75% of FMCG businesses say they have been forced to overhaul their long-term business strategies because of the pandemic.

Covid-19 presented FMCG businesses with many challenges – the biggest one being rapidly changing consumer demand (41%) followed by product availability (37%). Uncertainty around sales teams returning to store remains another big issue.

The poll was carried out by 4media on behalf of redwigwam, the UK’s leading flexible working community, as part of its ‘Flexi and Flourishing: how flexible teams are changing FMCG businesses for good post-Covid’ report.

Lorna Davidson, CEO of redwigwam, said: “Our report shows that FMCG businesses are increasingly valuing the flexibility provided by a flexible workforce and that there is a growing appetite to embrace this modern approach to work by many businesses and to think differently in a post-Covid world.

“With employees typically accounting for the biggest business cost by some distance, it will be necessary to look at innovation and ways in which this risk might be minimised and made flexible where possible. 

“For workers, there will be a greater need than before to search for jobs more broadly and to fill an increased number of temporary roles offered by businesses that are no longer employing as many permanent staff.”

Lorna added: “redwigwam is changing work for good. Our tech platform is available 24/7 to help companies hire skilled flexible workers at short notice. FMCG businesses can hire from the ultimate flexible workforce when they need it, while our wigwammers are part of a community of like-minded people seeking great work and flexibility.”

Coca-Cola has recently started using redwigwam to provide flexible workers.

Oliver Crick, director, field sales at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “Supermarket demand has increased and people are shopping differently and buying different products. The big shop has returned and more people are moving online.

“Businesses need to be agile enough to react to the challenges but also the opportunities this presents – like people shopping slightly differently, buying bigger packs and more volume in one go. 

“Looking at March, when COVID-19 was becoming a challenge and starting to impact retail, we pulled our Field Sales team out of stores and off the road and moved to either home working or a period of leave. We went back into store at the start of June and our workforce has naturally demanded more flexibility from us – and we’ve provided that.”

The report interviewed business decision-makers from the UK FMCG industry, from smaller SMEs up to £50m plus turnover. Other key findings included:

  • 41% of businesses exceeded revenue forecasts between March-July while 43% reported having been negatively affected by the pandemic;
  • 46% are very confident they will exceed their forecasts for 2020/21 while 12% are extremely confident;
  • Only 20% say they launched new products in-store during the pandemic;
  • A third (33%) say they need to innovate and use technology to grow;
  • 54% currently use data to make changes and adapt but 35% have data and don’t use it;
  • In a separate poll of the redwigwam worker community, 47% stated that post-Covid workers will demand flexible working.

redwigwam has seen a huge rise in the number of workers and businesses using its AI-powered online platform since the coronavirus lockdown began. There are now over 130,000 workers registered on the platform and over 3,500 businesses.

Businesses using the redwigwam community to find workers include Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Burtons Biscuits, SimplyCook, the Snaffling Pig Company and Revolution Bars.

redwigwam has unveiled a new brand identity and high-profile integrated marketing campaign, including its national TV advertising debut under the banner “Changing Work for Good”. It follows private equity investment into the Liverpool-based business secured during the lockdown.