The reality of business today is that every company needs temporary help sooner or later. Even if you have a full-time recruiter working for you, even if your Human Resources department does most of the staffing for your company, sooner or later you’ll need someone with the kind of skills and experience that can’t be found quickly through the usual process. And at a time like that, you’ll need to use a temp employment agency to make
Finding and developing a good business relationship with a temp agency may seem unnecessary if you already have your own resources on staff. But the fact is that a temp agency should augment, not replace, your HR department. You may not need them often, but when you do need them, the need will likely be urgent.
What is a temp agency?
A temp employment agency is a company that provides employees to their clients on a short-term, hourly basis. When a temp comes to work for your company, what you’re really doing is hiring a temp employment agency. The temp works directly for the agency, even though they work at your office and report to a supervisor on-site, who is usually your employee. Your company pays a fee for the services of the agency, the agency in turn, as the employer of record, accepts responsibility for the taxes and other administrative requirements for the temporary.
Your company may eventually bring the temp in as a permanent employee. This is commonly called a “temp-to-hire”. Any fees associated with hiring the temp are usually pro-rated by the amount of time the temporary works for your company. Depending on the employment agency you’re working with, you may have the option of hiring someone they’ve found without ever bringing them into your office as a temporary employee. This is called a “direct hire”. In the case of a direct-hire, the agency is usually paid a fee based on the amount of salary you will pay your employee.
Why use a temp agency?
You probably have some recruiting abilities in your HR department. You may even have a full-time recruiter. But there are times when you will need an employee more quickly than your company can recruit and for less time than a permanent employee would be expected to work.
It’s important to balance the pros and cons of using temporaries. Here are some examples.
Pro: Using a temp agency makes for faster hires
When you’re in a hurry to fill a position, using a good temp employment agency is often your best option. If you need someone to fill in for your receptionist or to respond to customers and you need them to start by next week (or sooner) you probably don’t have time to place an ad or work with your HR department to find someone. Temp agencies excel at getting people into positions quickly.
Con: A quick hire isn’t necessarily the best hire
There are also times when hiring someone quickly can cause more trouble than simply leaving the position open. For example, the temp agency may send someone to your company who doesn’t have the experience to work as a receptionist or someone who lacks the patience to be a customer service agent and who alienates your customers. Sometimes, it’s better to leave a hole in your staff than to have someone come in who hurts your company.
Pro: Temp agencies often know where to find people who aren’t actively looking
There are times when your company needs someone with a specific set of abilities, who may have a professional license, skills with certain software, and/or experience with a certain field. Your HR department has placed advertisements and done some networking, but so far, you haven’t found anyone for the position. It’s times like these that the value of a good employment agency can’t be overstated. Agencies usually have a very wide network of people they can call on. If they don’t already know someone who fits your needs, they likely know how to find someone who does, and they can usually do it faster than your in-house resources.
Con: The people temp agencies know may not be interested in a permanent position
With the rise of the “gig economy” we’re seeing an increase in people who just don’t want to work in a permanent job. More and more people are making a conscious decision to work as temporaries despite having the opportunity to become permanent employees. This means your position may simply be another temporary job for them when your company needs an employee who will be around for the long-term.
Pro: Temps provide relief for your permanent staff
Whether you bring in a temp to cover for someone who is on leave or because you have too much work for your current staff to handle, you can’t ignore the fact that temps make it possible for your permanent staff to catch a breather. Being able to take a vacation, a day off, or even just to work less than 50+ hours per week is great for your employees and is also good for your company.
Con: Temps are bad for company morale
The scheduling relief that temps bring to your employees is often negated by the need to provide additional training. It’s no good being able to take Friday off when you know that you’ll have to work extra hours Monday through Thursday showing someone how to do a job and then making sure that they’ve done the job correctly.
There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re trying to decide whether or not to hire a staffing agency. Fortunately, many of the concerns that arise can be addressed by choosing a good employment agency to work with.
How to Choose a Good Agency
Temporary employees can help your company better navigate the natural ups and downs of the market. The best way to get that kind of assistance is to work with a good agency. But with all of the agencies out there, where do you start? And what should you look for in a good agency?
Find an agency that specializes in your business
It’s always a good idea to find an agency that’s familiar with your market segment. If the agency you’re working with understands your business the likelihood of working well together will greatly improve.
Do your research
Talk to your colleagues, review the business press, and take a look at LinkedIn, as well as other online resources for employment agencies in your area. Every agency will have critics and detractors, but the agency you’re looking to work with should have been around for long enough for good reviews and positive recommendations.
Be clear on the policies and charges
When you’re considering an agency, make sure you’re clear on their cost as well as their policies they have, particularly when it comes to converting a temporary employee to a permanent employee of your company. This is especially important because if you’re working with the right agency they are likely to provide you temporary employees who you would like to work with on a permanent basis.
It’s easy to find a temp when you need one because the business world has a lot of temp employment agencies. The problem isn’t finding an agency, the problem is finding a good agency before you have an urgent need. The right temp agency will save you money, time, and stress, but you have to put in some effort to find them. Fortunately, a relatively small investment of your time can have huge dividends. Take the time now to find a good agency to partner with. The results will speak for themselves.