A ‘temporary’ solution to increased business: Hiring temporary employees can get you over a bump in business

Experts tell us the economy is in recovery. They also admit that hiring will probably be the last economic indicator tohelpwanted improve. If you are uncertain if you should hire (or rehire) employees, even though business is picking up, consider an alternative: temporary employees.

These employees can be used for special projects or to address increased activity during a peak season or as business begins to increase. Temps supplement your regular workers; they go to work for you with the knowledge that the job will last only a short, specified duration.

Alex Campbell

Alex Campbell

Another way to hire and use temporary employees is “contract to hire.” This is a “try before you buy” option offered by staffing firms, says Alex Campbell of Capital Staffing Solutions ( “It’s the best way to build your staff. You use a contractor (temporary employee) for an agreed period. If you like the contractor, after the contract is over, you can make an offer of regular employment for no additional costs.”

This type of temporary employment situation provides a win-win-win situation: You win, because you get a tried-and-true employee. The staffing agency wins, because it earned a fee while the employee was on contract; and the employee wins, because he or she gets to work for a known entity.

How to hire temps

Hiring temporary employees requires careful consideration. Here are several things you should do to ensure the best outcome:

1. Prepare a job description. The job description validates your need for extra help; it also identifies the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed on the job. Campbell suggests, “The better the job description, the better the staffing firm will be able to find employees who are a good fit for you.”

2. Find a staffing agency that understands your business. Some agencies specialize in particular industries; others may have recruiters who have worked in your industry. Once you find a possible fit, invite the recruiter to tour your business and talk with you onsite. Knowledge is power in making good matches.

3. Discuss your goals. As you explore the possibility of using an agency, discuss your business goals, long and short. “Find a firm that is interested in helping you work with your budget, interested in you hitting your numbers, and understands what you are trying to accomplish,” advises Campbell.

4. Negotiate the contract. Beware of sticker shock; you will be paying a premium to use the agency, so be prepared for it. The contract you sign with the agency should designate the responsibilities of each party, including outlining the hiring process (who will interview; who will make the final hiring decision). You’ll also want to make sure it indicates how the contract can be terminated; who is responsible for withholding taxes and payment of taxes for the employees; who is responsible for workers compensation insurance; and any benefits that will be provided by the staffing agency.

5. Don’t forget your supervisors. Your supervisors should understand how the temp process works, their role in selection and training, and their role in supervising the work performed by temporary agencies. They need to know who to notify in case of an accident and workers’ comp claim and how to handle problem employees.

Finally, supervisors should have a role in evaluating worker performance and give feedback to the temp agency about its performance. Your supervisors are in the best position to judge if the agency met your needs.



After the hire, what’s next?

Although by definition a temporary worker will only be with you a short time, that person(s) still needs orientation and training in order to accomplish what you need to have done.

Here are some tips on how to use a temp worker effectively:

1. Ask the temp to report late the first day. The beginning of the work week is often chaotic. On the first day, ask the temporary employee(s) to come in 30 minutes after regular starting time. This will allow you or your supervisor to give the attention the person needs that first day.

2. Orient the new employee. Although the person will only be with you a short time, give him an overview of the work that your company does, and go over in detail the job description. Make sure he can see how the job fits into the big picture. Give a tour of facilities; tell him where he should park, eat lunch, and take breaks. And then introduce him to fellow workers.

3. Assign a trainer or ‘go-to’ person. Tell the temp who she can go to for more information and additional how-to information.

4. Train. Even if the temp comes into your workplace with experience in a similar company, take time to train him on your equipment and—just as important—your expectations.

5. Check back. Don’t park the new employee and forget her. Check back during the day to see how she is doing.

6. Make the agency earn its keep. Although you determine the work that is done, the agency is responsible for any problem areas, such as attendance issues or tardiness. Don’t hesitate to call the recruiter and discuss the problem as soon as it arises.

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