Hiring Temp Employees – DIY or Call a Pro
Regardless of the size of your organization, there are going to be times when you need an extra hand(s) to get through a temporary shortfall in staffing. That shortfall may be for a single shift to cover an employee who calls in sick, or it can be for several months to cover seasonal spikes in business. When you think about it, If you don’t have sufficient staff to cover temporary vacancies, temp employees become an important element of your staffing strategy.
Occasions when you will need temp employees include:
- Short notice call-offs by regular staff
- Scheduled seasonal spikes in business
- Family and Medical Leave Act events (maternity leave, serious medical issues, care of a spouse, etc.)
- Unscheduled turnover (retirements, separations)
The need for temp workers exists. The question is, what is the best option for sourcing the workers you need. As a business, you have three choices.
Do It Yourself Hiring of Temp Workers
You likely have an HR department and you may even have a dedicated recruiter that could be tasked with hiring temporary help for an upcoming event. However, if the vacancy can be classified as professional, skilled, or supervisory, traditional recruiting processes may be hard-pressed to find that kind of talent willing to be employed on a short-term basis. If you are willing to take on the liability of an employer and complete the organization’s vetting process for a temporary worker, then you may have better luck with the following sourcing resources:
- Poll your current workforce for referrals
- Contact retirees to see if they have an interest in returning on a temporary basis
- Utilize your social media branding accounts to promote temporary opportunities with the organization.
These resources will be helpful when you have scheduled shortfalls. Keep in mind, however, when you hire these workers you will be taking on onboarding costs for screening, paying the employer portion of FICA, and increasing your workman compensation insurance premium which is based on wages paid.
Using Contractors or Consultants to Hire Temp Workers
For many organizations, it is simpler and more cost-efficient to utilize a qualified contractor, or consultant to fulfill the temp employee requirement. This can get dicey if not handled professionally. Some industries routinely hire “casual labor” to perform specific tasks like unloading semi-truck trailers or cleaning up construction site waste. Typically, companies pay a flat rate per hour or task.
The problem arises when the company tells the “contractor” when to work and how to work. At that point, the worker is no longer an independent contractor and is considered a de facto employee. The IRS will turn to the company for employment taxes if the worker is not a legitimate contractor. We’ve used casual labor as an example, but the rule applies to all contractor relationships. Retirees who agree to return to work temporarily on a contract basis as an engineer or other skilled position, have to meet the same requirements as a full-time contractor or consultant.
When dealing with consultants and contractors, keep it legal:
- Prepare a detailed description of the work to be accomplished and the length of engagement
- The contractor should have a standard agreement identifying him/herself as an independent entity and detailing pricing and billing information
- You will need to complete an agreement for each subsequent engagement.
The time to come to an agreement on pricing and availability is before you actually need the help.
Utilizing a Professional Staffing Agency to Fill the Need for Temporary
Utilizing a professional employment agency like Innovo Staffing is the next best thing to hiring temporary workers yourself. In fact, in many ways, staffing agencies are better suited than clients to staff short-term requirements because temp workers are an important part of the services offered. As a result, staffing agencies have developed resources and techniques designed specifically to meet temporary help requirements.
Further, staffing agencies tend to specialize. Innovo Staffing, for example, focuses on financial and accounting roles meaning all of our sourcing activity is directed towards those skills resulting in a significant database of financial talent ranging from senior leadership to clerks.
In that database are financial talent only interested in temporary work. They like the variety, the exposure to new technologies, expansion of their network, and the freedom to create their own “work year.” What this means for a client with a need for temporary accounting workers is a simple, effective, solution that can be executed quickly.
At Innovo we focus on finance. Other agencies focus on logistics, engineering, marketing, IT, and other essential skills.
In addition to rapid response, many professional staffing companies provide:
- A dedicated Representative who has either performed or managed the role that needs to be filled. He or she will spend the time to understand the organization’s operation, culture, values, and the role the temp worker will play in the operation. This Representative will be the go-to person for all issues regarding any temporary placement(s) at the organization.
- When requested, assessment tests can be administered to ensure a solid skill match
- Before candidates are presented to the client for interviews, they will be completely vetted.
- Employment agencies typically have a much larger social media recruiting footprint than most organizations. Utilization of branding and messaging sites ensures opportunities are conveyed to an audience that is predisposed to read them resulting in more inquiries.
- While the agency employee is working on-site and is being supervised by client personnel, he or she still remains an employee of the agency. Clients have no liability for taxes or insurance.
Staffing agencies just make sense when it comes to solving temporary hiring needs. Like contractors however, it’s important to select the agency you want to use before you need to use it. When selecting an agency, make certain you get peer reviews that specifically address temporary hiring. When you have made the selection, ensure the terms and conditions, and the contract, are fully acceptable.
Using a professional staffing agency does not replace your HR department, it simply augments its capabilities. Having a resource on call to cover short notice requirements, is a solid business decision.