If you have a vacancy at your company, you may choose to fill it with a temporary staff member. Working with a temporary employee can benefit your business in many ways, however, there are pitfalls you should be careful to avoid. This blog will help you learn more about temporary staffing: what it is, why it works, why it (sometimes) doesn't, and how to best work with staffing firms and temporary employees.
What Is Temporary Staffing?
Temporary staffing (sometimes called interim or seasonal staffing) involves hiring an employee for a limited amount of time. This may be as brief as a day or two, or as long as several months -- perhaps to cover a standing employee's leave.
The temporary staff member may work full-time or part-time. They may have specialized skills that you may not want to hire for on a permanent basis.
Potential benefits of temporary staffing include:
It's less expensive.Temporary employees don't receive benefits, except for under truly extraordinary circumstances. They also typically receive less pay than a permanent hire. All this adds up to a decreased fixed payroll cost for you.
It raises morale. Bringing in a temporary employee doesn't just add new life to your office. It saves other employees from working double shifts or overtime, which keeps staff happier.
It allows flexibility. If you only need an employee briefly, or if you're still deciding on a permanent hire, a temporary employee gets the job done without tying you down.
It's a trial run.If you need a permanent employee, hiring temporary staff helps you understand how the hire fits into your workplace. If they're a good match, you can hire them permanently when their temporary gig is through.
As with any new hire, you can run into complications when hiring a temporary employee. For instance:
Many companies fail to train their temporary employees.When you're not planning to keep an employee around, it's tempting to give them sub-par training. Temporary employees need the same training as anyone else. If you're going through a large number of temps, training them will require more time and money.
The temporary employee may have difficulty adjusting.Temporary employees can have problems integrating with a company's culture. They may be confused by the new environment, or intimidated by their fellow employees. They also may not be as invested in your company's success, because they know they're leaving.
Many companies don't compensate temporary staff ethically. Temps are typically compensated less than permanent staff. They receive no benefits and have no job stability. Hiring many temporary employees may give your company a reputation as a poor place to work.
Working with Staffing Firms and Temporary Employees
Thankfully, if you go in with your eyes open you can avoid many of these problems. It's important to work properly with both the staffing firm and the temporary employee.
When you're scouting potential staffing firms, do your research. Choose a company that meets your specific needs -- whether that's finances, human resources, or something else.
When you're communicating with the firm about your staffing needs, be clear about the job requirements, as well as the culture of your company or the team. The firm should give you plenty of information about potential hires, including skills, employment history, personality profiles, background checks, references, and drug test results.
Be completely transparent with the temporary employee you hire, including about compensation, benefits, and their potential for future employment through your company. Make them feel like part of the team, but don't skimp on following all appropriate procedures with them -- including having them sign a non-disclosure agreement.
In summary, although there are potential pitfalls to hiring a temporary staff member, these issues are easy to avoid with the proper support and your company stands to gain a lot from the experience. By working closely with the right staffing company, and dealing carefully with your new hire, you can create a beneficial situation for everyone.
Chris Bouchard is the Talent Shareholder at Lutz. He began his career in 2005. He focuses on direct-hire and temporary staffing and strategic assessment and selection of potential candidates with an emphasis on human resources, accounting, finance, and office administrative positions.
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