Forget outdated notions of temporary workers being unmotivated people unable to commit to regular employment. Plenty of quality talent can be found in today’s so-called “gig economy,” including specialized freelancers, retired professionals looking to remain active, college students wishing to boost their skills and income, and parents needing to balance work with other obligations. Their desire for short-term assignments can translate into long-lasting benefits for your company.
According to recent research from CareerBuilder, the temporary help services industry is projected to grow 5.9 percent over the next three years. How might this trend help your small business? Consider these ways in which hiring temporary workers can be beneficial:
- They can save you money. Full-time staff members need to be paid regardless of how much work you have for them. Likewise, they receive benefits and paid time off. Using temps who can perform the tasks you want, when you need them done, can be more efficient – especially in industries with significant seasonal fluctuations or with unpredictable project demands.
- They can address specific needs. Small businesses often do not have the resources to hire someone permanently in all the roles they’d like to fill. Temps can bridge some of these gaps. Offering a marketing specialist a short-term contract to revamp your promotional material or bringing an IT professional on board for a few weeks to update your network can help the company to grow in a manageable way.
- They offer a trial run. Unsure whether or not you need another staff member? Rather than making a commitment you might later regret, use a temp as a test case for discovering the pros and cons of such an addition. Some leaders also employ a “test the waters” strategy when trying to decide about a candidate. Witnessing a potential permanent hire’s skills and work ethic firsthand through a short-term arrangement can provide insight into whether or not a full-time offer should be made.
Engaging temporary workers
Small business leaders often worry about the engagement level of temporary workers. They reason that the lack of an on-going relationship could lead to sub-par performance. While it certainly isn’t possible to predict the behavior of every temp, rest assured that most want to perform well. A good track record leads to positive recommendations and perhaps further assignments with your company.
Be sure to do your part, too, in giving temporary workers maximum opportunity to succeed by employing these strategies:
- Help them feel comfortable. A tour of the office, introductions to staff members who can answer their questions, and written instructions or checklists to use as reference can do wonders.
- Present the big picture. Knowing how one’s work fits in to the company’s overall performance and goals creates a sense of value.
- Provide feedback and recognition. Discuss any problems promptly and privately with an emphasis on achieving a solution. Similarly, remember that everyone – regardless of their status – gets motivated by praise for a job well done.