When to hire temps

By definition, temps are workers who step into your business to help out when you’re understaffed or have a special need such as a project. You know the length of time this person is needed, the skills required, and you’re willing to bring them on board for a set amount of time.

In this regard, a temp worker could a seasonal hire for a retail store, a contractor for an IT project, or even a substitute teacher.

Traditional management wisdom says you should keep your talent in-house. There are many reasons to do this, you want the best and brightest talents in-house for instant access, who are familiar with the process, who knows the business down to the cogs and gears, and can be relied upon to complete complex projects, and for executive decision-making.

In such an organization, why would you ever hire temps?

There are a number of reasons to consider temporary workers, even for large, established, and non-seasonal companies. They typically call these “Contractors” who are knowledgeable individuals brought in to enhance the in-house teams to complete large projects. But that shouldn’t be the only time a temp is required.

Currently businesses hire “Contractors”, but it can be so much more…

For example, a business has needs for certain reports which are largely distilled information on industry trends and analysis. This is required daily and is done by senior analysts who spend hours researching, gathering data, and writing the report. Now this could be done by a junior team member, however, the company cannot justify the added headcount, and therefore the senior analyst continues to spend precious time on a task that can be offloaded after some minimal training.

This decreases productivity for a senior member whose time should be better spent on more strategic tasks. With some training, a temporary worker (who can even work remotely) familiar with the industry can easily take over this task on a daily basis. Since all information used are public, there are no privacy issues at risk in this case.

Reasons to hire temporary workers

  1. They are cheaper. No need to explain this one, everyone knows the costs of pension, benefits, vacations, sick days, shares, warrants, bonus, commission, etc, make hiring permanent staff a very pricey endeavor.
  2. They are flexible. Temp workers can be assigned to tasks on an as-needed basis. They are more prone to be flexible, since they know this task or project has a pre-determined end date, they’re more likely to give it a chance compared to someone who has been doing the same thing day in and day out.
  3. They bring in new perspective. Temp workers or contractors have been around the block. They know what your competitor is doing better, and can advise you on how to improve efficiency and process.
  4. Less bullshit. Let’s be honest, office politic sucks! However, it’s a fact of life in the modern workplace, with more people jostling to move upwards than positions available, there are bound to be some negativity and finger-pointing. Not so much for temp workers, they know they’re there to perform a specific task in a specific time-frame. They’re not there to get a promotion. So there’s less bullshit, and let’s face it, we can all use less bullshit.