I’ve been a temp. I’ve hired many temps. As Dan Pink noted years ago, we’re actually becoming more and more a “Free Agent Nation”. So I invited Ann Webster, the President of Aquent, to offer this guest post. Take it away, Ann…
What’s so great about working with temps?
By Ann Webster
Temps. Contractors. Freelancers. Contingent Workers. Independent Professionals. No matter what you call them, big businesses today are getting stuff done with non-permanent talent who have some serious chops. In fact, Harvard Business Review recently reported that 58 percent of companies plan to use temporary employees at all levels over the next few years, and according to the American Staffing Association, U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.8 million temporary and contract workers per day in 2011.
Aquent, a marketing, creative and digital staffing firm, places people on temporary and temp-to-perm assignments to develop mobile apps, deliver insights to improve marketing performance, and engage and build communities of customers and prospects on a growing list of social media platforms.
These talented temps are working side-by-side with (often) overextended full-time employees, and help lighten their ever-expanding workloads. So while a stressed-out full-time employee can breathe a little easier when a temp comes on board, that’s just one of the benefits of having contractors work on your team – here are a few more:
- Specialized expertise, quick ramp-up. Some projects require a person with experience that you just don’t have in-house. An experienced temporary employee often needs less ramp-up time than a permanent hire, which allows you and your team to get those projects that needed to be done yesterday, done today.
- Fresh perspectives. How many times have you heard a new employee – temp or perm – say, “Well at my last job we did …”? New talent brings new ideas to your organization. Your temp may have spent time as a full-time employee at a marquee brand and that experience could mean success for your next project.
- Temps make great full-time staff. A group of top individual contributors who just can’t work well together is a recipe for disaster. If you’ve got a contractor working for you on a project, you have time to evaluate if they might fit with your team as a permanent employee. At the same time, they have the benefit of understanding what the position is really all about and get a full sense of your company’s culture and values.
Temporary employees are here to stay – and that can have a positive impact on the satisfaction of the internal team. The key is to have a well thought-out contingent workforce strategy. Determine what functions and skillsets are ‘must-haves’ in-house and then leverage experienced external resources for much of the rest.
Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. Get more success and tips from his newsletter at kevinkruse.com and check out keynote video clips. His new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, teaches managers how to turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.