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Why recruiting temps is no longer seen as a knee-jerk reaction

Posted by Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on Friday, Jan 5, 2018

Blog image: Why recruiting temps is no longer just a reactionEveryone's talking about the rise of the contingent workforce, but some hiring managers still see temps as a reactive move, possibly caused by poor planning or preparation. The increasing use of temps is no longer driven solely by cost reduction or a reaction to sudden market fluctuations or business requirements, as it once was.

Many of our clients now see their temp recruitment as a central facet of both their long-term staffing and indeed wider business strategy, as they realize that the key to managing a successful workforce is having access to the right people with the right skills at the right time; or “talent on demand”.

As such, the recruitment of temps is seen as less of a knee-jerk reaction to the economic climate, or immediate business needs, and here’s why;

1. Temps bring niche skills into your business

There is a common misconception that temps are generally less experienced than permanent employees, and so are recruited for more junior roles. This is not the case. Temps are now employed for all manner of occupations, right up to board level. Many temps fulfil highly specialized, niche roles which require an extensive skill-set.

At Hays, for example, we specialize in providing many highly-skilled contractors within the IT sector. These professionals are – as my colleague Daniel Dubbert explains – expected to “learn new skills and keep up to date with the latest trends… an IT contractor needs to continually invest in their own business (themselves) to survive and prosper”. To be a successful temp, you need to be highly skilled at what you do, as your income is very much dependent on your performance – in contrast to permanent employees who could become complacent in a role after a certain period, but still be hard to exile from the business.

The appeal of temping is widening (fueled by the changing demographics and the varying demands of the younger generations) and temping is now seen as an attractive way of working for professionals of all seniorities and skill-sets. Highly skilled and in-demand candidates – such as those we place within the IT sector – are moving into the market as a result; mainly driven by attractive wages, beneficial tax breaks, longer holiday periods and greater all-round flexibility.

2. Temps boost productivity

Temps are usually brought in to work on a specific project, and that is their sole focus. This means that they don’t have the distraction of other menial tasks or office politics that affect their permanent colleagues, and so can get more done in less time.

The diligent attitude that temps tend to adopt towards their work – born out of the fact they are dependent on good recommendations in exchange for short periods of employment– not only has a positive direct impact on the bottom line but can also be an indirect positive influence on other permanent employees. Temps can also have a more direct effect on these staff by supporting those who are overstretched.

3. Temps bring a fresh perspective

What better way to introduce a continuous stream of fresh ideas into your organization than to recruit highly proficient and experienced temps throughout the year? These temps probably have extensive experience working on different projects, from different companies across different industries. This can open your business up to a whole wealth of expertise. ‘Groupthink’ is a wicked disease which affects many good organizations with low labor turnover; hiring temps can be the perfect remedy!

4. Temps bring flexibility to your workforce

Temporary staff can be engaged and released at short notice, depending on the needs of your business and/or market. They can be used to supplement your workforce during sudden: busy periods, new clients or departures of existing staff. Consider them the spine of the economy, says Daniel Dubbert – “Just as the spine allows the body to bend and navigate its surroundings, contracting gives the economy the flexibility it needs to adapt to the changing environment”.

As mentioned earlier, flexible working is a benefit which younger working generation prioritize when job searching. Therefore, by employing temps and contractors you are responding to this demand and demonstrating to prospective candidates that you are an employer of choice.

5. Temps save time and resource

The process for hiring temps through a recruiter like Hays is traditionally a lot quicker than onboarding a permanent employee. This is because there is less admin for the employer to do and recruiter takes responsibility for most stages of the hiring process; such as interviewing and reference checking.

While you should, of course, treat all of your employees with the same respect and kindness, temps are hired for technical skills and to deliver something specific, rather than long-term cultural fit. In other words, you will not have to take temps through the same rigorous onboarding process you would permanent employees.

Temps also save your business time as they are quicker to find, and more readily available than permanent hires. This means they are able to make an instant impact, sooner.

6. Temps are trial employees

Finally, hiring a temp gives you the option of evaluating whether you have a long-term job requirement in a function, and then whether you want to take that particular individual on full-time or not.

A final thought

Hopefully, I’ve been able to mount a convincing argument as to why temps could be right for your business. Supplementing your workforce with temporary workers can help boost productivity, innovation, employee satisfaction and, ultimately, the bottom line. Hiring for temps and hiring for permanent employees are two completely different processes, and so it’s imperative you create two entirely distinctive job specs – here’s some advice on how to do so.

With the demand for temp workers only set to increase, it’s crucial that your business puts in place a hiring strategy with these employees in mind so that you are equipped for the modern world of work. 


Get more tips and guides for hiring best practices with the Hiring Essentials Handbook.

Talk to Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on the Canadian labour market.

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