Hiring Temporary Employees
C-level executives looking to reduce workplace budgets are increasingly open to readjusting staffing levels — particularly by hiring temporary or part-time employees. There are 8.6 billion part-time workers in the U.S. today, compared to 4.5 million in 1997.
There are several reasons for this trend, and one commonality among them is finance-related. Managers reason that temporary staffers can help reduce pressure on the bottom line, but still keep productivity up to targeted levels.
The “New Normal”
What are the main factors driving the current increase in part-time and temporary workers? There are several.
Health care reform. Many companies, especially in the service industry (think Denny’s, Darden Restaurants and Walmart) are cutting full-time staff to avoid having to pay for health care. Temporary workers and part-time staffers will wind up in government-run health care exchanges — and off corporate health care balance sheets.
As John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, wrote in Forbes, “By hiring part-time workers who put in less than 30 hours per week, employers can avoid a mandate dictated by the new health reform law: either provide expensive health insurance or pay a fine equal to $2,000 per worker.”
The service economy. When manufacturing dominated the U.S. economic landscape, full-time, salaried jobs were the norm. Now, in the “new normal,” more employees are working for firms in the service industry, which favors part-time or temporary help.
Rise of the freelance workforce. More and more, U.S. workers are cobbling together part-time jobs and freelance projects and building their own careers. Anxious over putting all their eggs in one basket and risking being laid off, freelancers are finding plenty of opportunities for project and part-time work.
Maximizing Your Temporary Staffing
So what steps should you take when recruiting and hiring part-time help?
Be precise. If you’re using a staffing agency, make sure to give them a rough dollar-per-hour range. The last thing you want is to find a great temporary employee but not have the budget to bring him or her aboard.
Be inclusive. Allow your recruiter or staffing agency access to your company culture. By letting your recruiter see how your team is structured, and how it operates, the recruiter will know more specifically who is (and who is not) a good fit for your firm.
Be bold. Once you find a candidate you love, don’t wait to pull the trigger. The competition for good part-time or project help is vigorous. Always know that your gain is also a competitor’s loss.
Be exact. Your gateway to successful temporary help starts with a thorough job description. List the precise duties involved, the exact experience you’re looking for and any perks that might go with the job.
Be creative. Rather than hire and assign part-timers to a direct team or department, steer your new hire to specific projects, tailored to harvest that person’s particular talent and experience.
Hiring a good temporary employee is both an art and a science. Use the tips above to recruit the right hire and reap the benefits of the new economic normal.