If you’ve ever found yourself seasonally busy or just experienced a sudden surge in productivity that has left you feeling short of manpower, you might want to consider temporary staffing. Unlike adding a new permanent employee which comes with all the risks associated with onboarding a new hire, opening the door to temporary staffing can allow you to hire a qualified candidate in a pinch, keep them on your roster till things return to normal, and then let them go without any of the guilt once the need passes. Sound like a win-win? Read on to learn just a few of the perks associated with temporary staffing, as well as some key considerations for your company. 

Shore up your ranks: 
Finding that sweet balance between having enough hands on deck and having employees twiddling their thumbs is one of the trickiest parts of being a business owner. However, temp staffing provides a great “fill in the gap” measure for any unexpected or even expected job openings. For example, temporary staff are perfect to draft in for your employee who’s on maternity leave but expects to be back and able to pick right up where she left off in six months or so, but is an equally good solution for your secretary who quit unexpectedly and left you manning the phones. An additional great use for temporary staffing is for businesses that are seasonally busy, such as tax firms, farmers markets, landscaping companies, or even to fill hospitality roles in otherwise sleepy beach towns.

Give your HR a break:
When you hire through a temporary staffing agency, they take care of most, if not all, of the HR associated with these workers. Sure, you’ll have to let the staffing agency know what you’re looking for, but they’ll be the ones to find your match, give them some basic training for the role, and otherwise get them set up for the job at hand, including all the paperwork and even the payroll. Sure, you’ll have to pay the staffing agency for their services, but you don’t need to mess around with figuring out whether the employees are exempt or non-exempt, their withholdings, and all the other tax stuff that can really bog down the onboarding process. In addition, your HR administrator won’t have to go over benefits, your scheduling and vacation system, or other “perks” associated with the job because these employees aren’t eligible. Finally, when it comes to review time, beyond a cursory report back to the staffing agency, you don’t need to have your HR team administer a full appraisal or otherwise spend time mapping their career path in the company. 

Save a buck:
Sure, there is a premium associated with hiring a temp, but when you break down all that you pay for a permanent employee, you’ll likely find that temp staff save you money. As we mentioned above, in addition to not having to enroll them in the benefits, you also don’t have to pay for them! In addition, you don’t have to pay for vacation days or sick days, and you don’t have to add dollars to their retirement benefits or otherwise pay out of pocket for perks. In addition, you can save money with temp staffing because you don’t have to provide as much training — you don’t need them to meet with your HR pros to go over the ins and outs of the company and you can even up your selectivity with the staffing agency so that you’re only getting temps that can hit the ground running (or with very minimal guidance!) on your operating system or product of choice.

Give your employees a break:
As we touched on above, being short staffed is tough on everyone in the business. By hiring folks that can step in and take on some of the work burden, you can significantly alleviate a source of stress for your permanent workers. Simply having another set of hands to take on a cumbersome task or someone to pick up the slack on projects that have been sidelined due to a more pressing need can prove important not just for the morale of your company, but also for the overall success of your company.

Test drive your talent:
One aspect of temp staffing that folks often overlook is that if the temporary worker in question turns out to be a star employee, you may have the option to hire them on as permanent staff. Under this model, you get to see how the employee fits into your company culture, how they respond to your training, and how they actually perform on the job. As we’ve mentioned before, hiring a new employee can be a real gamble with really high financial stakes, building your permanent staffing pipeline with temps can significantly reduce your risk.

But let’s be honest, temporary staffing is not all rainbows and unicorns! The most common complaints among those who regularly rely on temporary staffing agencies is… well, the reliability! When a worker isn’t driven to keep a job, they are unlikely to prioritize your business needs above their own and you may experience folks coming in late or not showing up at all. Similarly, few folks make a career out of working for staffing agencies. Rather, they do this as a stop-gap measure to bring in some moolah while they wait for “the one.” As a result, you may find them ducking out of your job to go on an interview for a permanent role outside of the staffing company.

An additional aspect to consider is whether your business structure is amenable to temporary staffing. If you have very niche roles that can only be filled by a handful of folks with a very particular set of skills (said in our best Liam Neeson voice), you’ll likely struggle to find a good match with a temp agency. Similarly, if the work that you do includes sensitive information where folks would need a clearance or to sign a whole lot of non-disclosures or if it is a physically demanding job, temp staffing may not be for you. 

Essentially, what it all boils down to is that before you sign up with a temporary staffing agency, you need to really dig deep on whether they have the capacity to meet the unique needs of your company. If you believe they are up to the task, be sure to talk to them about what processes and procedures they have in place to keep their temp staff motivated and how they manage performance on their end so that you get what you pay for. 

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