Posted by Lisa Farrell, Marketing Manager on October 12 2020
Lisa Farrell, Marketing Manager

When everything is changing all around us, it’s hard to balance business needs against available resources and tight budgets. We must keep our workforce nimble while still meeting the demands of the business. Temporary workers can fill gaps and keep your business running smoothly without committing to the long-term costs of additional full-time staff. But how do you know when to hire a temp over a full-time employee?

“Hiring a temp is helpful any time your business needs to adjust quickly to increased business workloads or seasonality,” suggests Drew Perry, division president of InStaff, a division of BG Staffing Inc. Organizations widely adopted this tactic to meet demand during the COVID-19 crisis. When hospitals needed health care staff to support growing caseloads, they turned to temporary workers for help. And retail giants Walmart, Dollar Tree and 7-Eleven followed the same strategy to meet their needs.

Temporary workers provide flexible staffing when you need it the most. Here are three situations when hiring a temp is the right move for your workforce.

You Need a Specific Skill Set

Temporary workers are perfect for filling skill gaps you encounter while working on specific projects. If you need a highly specialized skill set for a finite period, but not on a full-time basis, hiring a temp can solve your problem. You may not need a full-time project manager, for example. But if you have a specific project and a tight deadline, bringing on a skilled project manager for two or three months can improve efficiency and keep everything on deadline.

“Temps can help keep high-priority projects on track,” says Kim Garstein, Los Angeles-based director of OfficeTeam, a division of Robert Half. “Complementing regular staff with highly skilled temporary professionals offers companies a cost-effective way to bring together the specialized abilities and expertise they need without increasing fixed costs.” Temps help you stay nimble and responsive without driving costs up or compromising the quality of your work.

You Need an Extra Hand

Temps can also support day-to-day operations by filling in during busy seasons or when an employee is out on leave — or a two-week quarantine. Temps can fill in these gaps to keep your business running smoothly, suggests Claudia Johnson, vice president of internal recruiting at Addison Group. Using temps to fill vacancies allows you to meet business needs while relieving full-timers of additional workloads so they can do their best work.

In cases when a full-time employee quits without giving notice, hiring a temp keeps their work on track. And if the worker is interested in converting, hiring on an interim basis allows you to assess a potential full-time replacement before committing. “Hiring temporary workers provides an opportunity to evaluate potential employees firsthand,” Perry says. “This allows the employer to save time, money and any headaches that go along with a bad hire.”

You Need Flexibility

Temporary workers offer flexible staffing models that hiring full-time employees simply can’t replicate. When you’re scaling your business or dealing with uncertainty — like we have been since COVID-19 began — hiring temps can be a strategic move. Using temporary staff allows you to hire the talent you need while keeping your workforce agile and flexible. “When you're scaling in response to a crisis or an opportunity, bringing in temps will help you a lot,” says Martin Burns, editor-in-chief at the Recruiting News Network. Temps support agile staffing. You don’t want to hire additional full-time workers only to furlough them in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 or another economic downturn.

Some companies are even hiring interim executives to guide their strategy during times of change. “A lot of C-level executives are being replaced with consultants that will come in on an interim capacity,” Johnson says. If you plan to use a contingent workforce as part of your scaling strategy, implement tools to track workers’ time, and measure their impact to assess whether temp hires are an effective staffing strategy for your organization, Burns says. During crises like COVID-19 and their aftermath, temporary workers help you keep up and adapt to change while determining your long-term workforce needs.

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