Take a close look at the human resources strategies of businesses that seem to navigate well through both good times and bad and you'll likely find they know how to staff flexibly: Many employ a mix of full-time and temporary professionals. As needs fluctuate, organizations can staff up or down more quickly and cost-effectively than those with teams composed entirely of full-time employees.
Some of these employers find they have another advantage as higher workload demands become sustained. With direct access to skilled talent for full-time roles, they may not need to search for outside candidates. By engaging temporary personnel for prolonged periods or through repeat engagements, they're able to see these workers in action, interacting with permanent staff in the company's unique work environment.
However, just because a first-rate interim professional is working at your firm doesn't guarantee he or she will want to join full time. Like any employee, temporary staff members should be made to feel valued and given the support necessary to succeed. Here are some tips:
- Prepare a workspace that says “welcome.” No one wants to show up for their first day of work and be presented with an untidy or inadequately appointed work area. Give interim personnel a space to call their own and make sure all necessary equipment, supplies and communication tools, such as email and intranet access, are up and running.
- Provide onboarding activities. The first days and weeks on the job are critical to any new employee's ability to fit in and become as productive as possible. This is also true of temporary staff members whom you want to evaluate for a full-time role. When an interim team member starts work at your firm, take time to provide a mini-orientation. Give the person a tour of the office, introduce them to key personnel, explain how your department works, and provide a brief summary of policies, procedures and expectations.
- Recognize their efforts. Every professional wants to be commended for a job well done. Be sure to give kudos to temporary personnel just as you would full-time workers. If they believe their contributions are appreciated and truly make a difference to the organization, these employees will be inclined to work even harder for your firm – and maybe, for the long term.
Businesses that adopt a mix of temporary and core staff will benefit not only from the flexibility project workers allow, but also because the talent they need on a permanent basis is often already within reach. Being able to hire people familiar with the organization and its work means firms can move fast on new business opportunities – without fear of overstaffing and with less risk of hiring mistakes.
If a temp-to-hire strategy is an appropriate approach to staffing for your firm, take time to make your interim professionals feel like part of the team. They may be more likely to say "yes" if you decide to extend an offer of full-time employment.