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Temporary & interim workers - stop gap

Posted on from Robert Half

During the recession, some companies focused entirely on dealing with immediate problems. As a result, short-term solutions, such as cutbacks on recruitment and training, may have been implemented to ensure the business could survive through a difficult economic period. Now is the time to re-evaluate your staffing situation and plan for the future.

Filling in talent gaps & controlling costs

Operating with a team that is too lean could cause you to miss out on growth opportunities and lead to existing employees becoming overworked and stretched. Furthermore, if current staff members lack the necessary knowledge or industry experience, this could mean that you lose market share to competitors with a greater skill set. Temporary and interim workers are both a good way of filling such talent gaps, and controlling costs.

Intelligent hiring

Hiring professionals on a temporary basis allows you to staff up and down quickly and efficiently, enabling you to avoid the vicious cycle of over-hiring and layoffs. Interim workers also save your firm money, turning fixed costs into variable ones, because you are able to access the talent you need for as long as you need it.

Taking this into account, it's no surprise that the recent Robert Half CFO Confidence Index of 180 CFOs from across the UK found that demand for temporary staff remains strong. Nearly two thirds(63%) of finance directors indicated that they would continue to use the same number of interim workers, additionally 17% of those questioned responded that they would be increasing the number of interim workers at their company.

The most common reason for increasing the number of interim workers was cited as rising workloads (48%), nearly triple the figure from the same survey six months ago (17%), followed by keeping labour costs flexible (42%). Clearly, organisations recognise that employing temporary workers is a cost-effective solution for managing fluctuating workloads and accessing skilled talent.

Working with temporary staff

Despite the multiple Benefits interim workers can provide a company, it is not always easy to integrate them smoothly into your business, especially when they are managing and working with an entirely new team. There are several simple things you can do to ensure the transition period is as seamless as possible:

Make them feel welcome and integrated: just as you would with a new full-time employee, ensure you introduce them to the rest of your staff, and that he or she has all the tools and information necessary for the job. It will also be helpful to ensure that they have as much visibility as possible over upcoming projects and deadlines.

Pay attention: get a feel for how he or she works; what is his or her preferred method of communication? When is it best to approach them with non-pressing requests? These questions may not be answered immediately, but by paying attention to their tendencies and preferences, you’ll form a productive relationship more quickly.

Monitor and evaluate: Check in periodically with temporary employees to make sure they have the resources they need to perform their jobs. In addition, collect feedback from your staff about how the team is adapting and working together to gauge how well the situation is working out.

Meeting the business need

Temporary and interim workers are being increasingly called upon as a way of offering an organisation flexibility, improving productivity, and simultaneously meeting business needs. The result is a more efficient workplace and fluid job market, creating greater opportunities for both employers and employees; used appropriately, firms can draw on this staffing resource to promote business growth and expand talent within an organisation.

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