Should You Use a Staffing or Temp Agency?

12 Nov

In today’s economy, many businesses are hesitant to add permanent staff to their payrolls. However, businesses often have positions that cannot remain vacant. This leaves them with the following options:

  • Hire a contractor
  • Obtain a temp from a temp or staffing employment agency
  • Actually hire an employee for either part or full time employment

Many of the duties of your employees are onsite jobs. For example, you cannot outsource your filing as the files must be kept onsite and available for use. Other jobs require that the person performing them be accessible during business hours by you and your other employees. Therefore, outsourcing the work to a contractor is not practical. This is where you must make the decision as to how to obtain the necessary workforce to handle the job while remaining within your budget.

When hiring a permanent employee for either part time or full time employment, you make certain commitments to that employee in the form of salary, benefits, and an understanding that the employment will be long term. Upon being hired, your new employee will have expectations and make plans based on their new employment status. No employer wants to make promises that he or she might be unable to keep. Even informing the new hire of a probationary period will not change things. Many times your need for additional staff is short term, such as when there is a seasonal increase in your workload. At other times, business has picked up, but you are uncertain that the increase will continue. Perhaps you have hired people who appeared to be a good fit for your business but you later found out that they weren’t.

This is where using a staffing or temporary employment agency can be a lifesaver for your business. While the hourly rate for personnel from an agency will be higher, you obligation is to the employment agency, not the employee. This will allow you to fill temporary vacancies caused by employees on vacation or maternity leave. It also gives you the ability to hire additional staff as business picks up without making a long-term commitment. Many businesses in the past (and even more so now) have used temporary employees to fill positions. Upon obtaining additional staff from the agency, you will have the opportunity to assess the temporary employee’s abilities and how he or she fits in with your existing workforce. When you are sure that the position needs to become a permanent one, you will have someone already trained and doing the job. All you will need to do is to make a job offer to the temporary employee and negotiate with the employment agency.

The benefits of this system for your company are many. Such as:

  • Less time and money spent advertising, screening, and interviewing prospective employees
  • Agency employees are available to start work immediately, allowing you to get back to running your company with less down time
  • You can contract for temporary, long-term, or temporary to permanent staff
  • Agency employees already have the skills you need and will require little to no additional training

Obviously, this is an excellent solution for when you need to hire seasonal staff or are having what could likely be a temporary increase in your workload. When you need to hire a permanent employee, this is also a good solution. Too many times, employers have hired an employee who appeared to be a good fit for their companies only to discover that the new employee did not mesh well with the existing staff. Because you will have many opportunities to observe the agency employee doing their job and interacting with your current staff, you are less likely to hire the wrong person.

In one case, an employee of a staffing agency was actually a full-time employee of the agency. He received benefits from the agency. The staffing agency contracted him out to a textile company on a semi-permanent basis doing fireproof testing on airplane seats. In another case, staffing agency sent a woman to work for a major software company. Her job transitioned into a permanent job.

As you can see, using temporary or staffing employment agencies for your staffing needs can help you to solve a multitude of problems for your company. Even if you contract with the agency for staff on a semi-permanent basis, the agency, not your company will be providing the benefits. By using one of these agencies, your employee turnover rate should decrease; your staff will be more satisfied with their work, and their working environment. You will be better able to manage your costs.


About the Author: Cory Howell is a small business owner who regularly uses employment contracts when making new hires or partnering with a staffing agency. It is important to cover all of your bases using a legal business contract, especially when your hiring standards might not match up perfectly with those of the staffing agency.


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