How to Make Temporary Employment Work For Your Small Business

Have you ever had an employee quit at the worst possible time? It leaves you in a tizzy, unsure of whether or not your business can manage?

Even the best managers deal with workers quitting or taking sick leave unexpectedly. It’s one of the most pressing challenges for small business owners.

Temporary employment can offer a quick fix that helps businesses stay afloat. These short-term workers you over through busy spells or until you can find a permanent employee to join the team.

But like everything else, managing temporary employees is process — you need to find the right match, abide by government regulations, and develop an onboarding process that quickly integrates the new employee into your team.

This article outlines exactly how to make temporary employment work for your small business, giving you all the benefits of short-term workers without any of the drawbacks:

Identify Your Need

The first step in hiring a solid temp worker is to identify your unique business needs. These four questions will point you in the right direction.

  1. How long do you need a temp for?

    In some cases, like paid parental leave, the start and end date for temporary employment are clear. It’s not always that easy, though. Do your best to identify a window of time, even if it seems broad. For example, you could say, “a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of two months,” which provides transparency to temp workers.

  2. What position do you need to fill?

    Sometimes, business owners are so overworked — they know they need help, but they don’t have a sense of the specifics. To match with the best worker, business owners should clarify an exact role rather than saying, “I need someone to fill in here or there.” If you’re not sure where you have the greatest need, ask your employees for some on-the-ground insights.

  3. What are the hours for the role?

    Availability may be the most important aspect of hiring a temp. With shift work, in particular, hours can change and vary. Plan a schedule in advance — if you need a temp to work really late (or early) hours or you prefer someone with flexibility, advertise the job that way. It’s much easier to find a temp if you’re open about the hours from the beginning.

  4. What experience or employee characteristics do you require?

    A lot of businesses can fill their temporary need with entry-level employees. Nonetheless, it’s important to identify the key traits you require. For example, if temporary workers are filling in for customer-facing roles, they should be really comfortable communicating.

Search for the Best Candidates

A lot of business owners choose to hire someone through a temporary work agency, but that’s not the only way. Before reaching out to an agency, leverage your personal and professional network to avoid high placement fees. Ask employees if they know of anyone needing temporary work, as referrals bring in the best candidates.

Likewise, it helps to talk to friends, family, and people in your professional network to see if they know of anyone who might like an extra paycheck or two. Use your social media channels to get the word out there. You can also email any local secondary schools, colleges, or Universities with a brief job posting. They’re often looking to connect students with part-time work.

If you don’t get any leads through these initial channels, think about connecting with a temporary work agency. The benefit of working through an intermediary is that they already vet the candidates or temps. They do the recruiting and hiring work for you, so you can continue to focus on your business without interruption.

Abide by Government Regulations

When you hire a temp, you have to comply with UK government regulations throughout the process. Here most important policies for you to keep in mind while hiring temporary employees:

  • Temporary workers are entitled to information about the vacancy and job description that allow them to do the job well.
  • Business owners can’t give preferential treatment to long-term employees — temps need to be treated equally in the workspace and have access to the same facilities.
  • After 12 weeks of employment as a temp, temporary workers must receive the same terms and conditions as if they were hired as a permanent employee, including annual leave, rest breaks, and fair pay.

Abiding by these regulations ensures that employers treat temporary employees with fairness while maximizing the benefits of having extra workers on staff.

Develop a Sound Onboarding Process

Last but not least, creating a cohesive, clear onboarding process smooths the transition for temporary employees to your business. Although these temps may only be on staff for a short while, some simple training can help them avoid serious errors or lapses in judgment.

When conducted efficiently, you can onboard temporary employees within a few hours. Start by discussing the general rules and guidelines of the business — it’s integral to making sure they comply with health and safety procedures.

Next, assign the temporary employee a specific role. Rather than have them toggle between multiple tasks, ask temps to meet the greatest need of the business. At a coffee shop, for example, you may desperately need someone to work the till. In that case, train the temp in the POS system and ask more experienced employees to on solely barista shifts. By matching your temporary employee to a specific role and training them effectively, you ensure they help rather than hinder the success of your business.

Temporary employment is a necessary resource for the 5.2 million small businesses in the UK. These workers not only keep companies thriving that would otherwise struggle, they often turn into top employees. By investing in temporary workers, you open your staff up to new talent while continuing to fulfill your purpose as a business.

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How to Make Temporary Employment Work For Your Small Business