When you employ an agency, it – not you – becomes the temp worker’s employer. The agency is responsible for and bears the financial burden of recruiting, screening, testing and hiring wo
rkers; payroll expenses and paperwork; payroll and withholding taxes; unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance; and any employee benefits they may wish to provide. Some agencies even provide training such as software application tutorials.
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Can lead to a long-term positive relationship with staffing agency
Temporary employees can provide specialized skills to all types of industries. Temporary help agency workers are now employed in virtually every industry. Traditionally, companies sought temporary workers for lower-skilled positions. Today temporary workers increasingly include highly skilled individuals with a wide range of educational backgrounds and work experience. These individuals can tackle critical one-time projects that are limited in time and scope. In the field of Law alone, recent years have seen a dramatic growth and acceptance of hiring lawyers on a temporary basis.
When you find a temp agency that provides timely and quality service and referrals, and is experienced and accommodating, you may want to work with them exclusively. A good relationship with your temp staffing provider will go a long way toward meeting your company needs.
Every time a temp starts a new work assignment – no matter how skilled or unskilled – a certain amount of training is required in order for them to perform their assigned tasks to suit the specific needs of that company. Of course, if the same temp is brought back again, this might not be required.
Morale and employee relations problems can arise when you have temps working alongside permanent employees for months, doing the same work and putting in the same hours, but not receiving the same benefits afforded their permanent employee coworkers.
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Certain types of jobs are inherently dangerous and require careful safety training. Studies show that frequency and severity rates of on-the-job injuries are significantly higher with temporary workers. No matter what a temp’s experience is, care must be taken to see that dangerous tasks are performed safely. Never assume a temporary worker is fully prepared to work unsupervised until you have taken the time to see that they can safely perform their work tasks.
Recent court decisions have highlighted the fact that businesses must be careful how they contract for temporary staff. There must be no doubt about the workers’ status and about the lack of eligibility for the benefits of permanent employees. And treat temp workers with the same respect and care you would for your permanent staff.
The question of reliability
Some surveys of employers have found an assumption that temporary workers are generally less reliable than their permanent employee counterparts. Is this myth or reality?
Joe Broschak, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, shared some of his findings about a particular study of temporary workers: “On average, these temporary workers displayed better performance relative to goals compared to their full-time counterparts.” For those temps later hired as full-time employees, Broschak reported that “they continued to become better workers after becoming permanent.”
Choosing a reputable staffing agency – and establishing a good employer/staffing agency relationship and communications – are key elements to finding reliable workers, say Ridenour and Broschak. Furthermore, Ridenour pointed to the rise of “free agents” to 22% of the U.S. workforce, comprised in part by termporary workers, and increasingly possessing impressive credentials: “As more and more employees choose to work as free agents, the actual professional and education qualifications of free agents help dispel the myth that temporary workers are less reliable.”
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When choosing a temp agency for the first time, you will need to spend some time selecting one that meets your particular needs. Take a look in your local Yellow Pages for the names of some agencies in your area. Check out their websites to find out how long they’ve been in business, their “mission statement” and the types of workers and services they provide. Some agencies focus on a particular line of work; i.e., accounting/finance or healthcare.
Ridenour suggests that businesses consider asking the following questions in order to choose the right staffing company: What type of staffing help do you need? How was your first interaction with the companies you contacted? Is the company a member of the American Staffing Association? Will the company do a presentation for you and your management team? How well run is the organization? How does the company recruit and retain its qualified and reliable workforce? How are potential staffing company employees screened and tested? Does the company fully understand your needs? And, Does the company carry workers’ compensation for its employees?
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