Regulatory compliance has become such a burden that many business owners now hesitate to hire new employees. Keeping up with federal, state, and even city-specific payroll taxes, wage-and-hour laws, insurance mandates, and other requirements is simply too costly—particularly for businesses with employees in multiple states. No wonder, then, that many businesses have found it more economical to use contract employees.
Yet, while obtaining workers through a contract staffing agency can have numerous benefits, there are also some challenges. To get the best results from contract employees, you need to be aware of these challenges and take direct action to avoid common pitfalls.
If you run a light industrial business, you know that finding and keeping good workers is much harder today than it was a generation or two ago. The reality of today’s labor market is that the available pool of candidates for light industrial work is smaller and more demanding. What does this mean for you?
The main thing to remember is that today’s workers expect to receive the same pay as other people doing the same job. You can no longer expect to hire someone at a below-average wage and make them “prove themselves” in order to earn a permanent position. Even with no experience or training, that worker can easily find another employer willing to pay them the full market rate—including benefits and paid time off—from day one. The recommended approach today is to pay a competitive wage up front and set clear expectations for performance. You also have to be aware of the potential for complaints of discrimination in hiring, pay rates, or benefits.
Here are five tips to get the best out of your contract employees in today’s job market.
1. Be open to diversification. Good workers are in short supply and high demand. Trust your staffing partner to understand your business and provide qualified candidates.
2. Be prepared to build bridges. Recognize that a new employee needs you, as their manager, to build a bridge between the newbie and the rest of your workforce. This is particularly important for contract employees, who may not be as easily accepted by your existing permanent employees, particularly if there is a large age gap or difference in backgrounds. If permanent and contract workers are not getting along, it is going to hurt your productivity.
3. Train to gain. Even though the staffing agency is the legal employer of record, you are the employee’s workplace manager. They are in your shop, working on your floor, working on your products. If you want them to be productive, you need to give them the same training, feedback, and attention you would give any other employee. Give them what they need to succeed. Training a contract employee like you would any other employee does not put you at any risk. What puts you at risk is NOT giving a contract employee the support they need to be safe and productive workers.
4. Labor isn’t a commodity; employees are people. If you don’t treat people well, the word will get around and you will have a harder time hiring the next worker you need. You need to engage with a contract employee the way you would with any other worker. If you treat them as disposable, or like a machine, you will not get the best productivity.
5. Treat all workers the same. Treat your contract employees and temp-to-perm hires the same as your own permanent employees. If you throw a party for employees, invite the contract employees, too. Give them the same paid time off as your permanent employees.
Ultimately, your contract staffing partner should be committed to their employees’ success both for their sake and yours.
Employers: Need a Contract Employee Now? Call FlexiCorps at 877-455-FLEX (3539). FlexiCorps is a premier contract staffing firm placing employees in temp-to-perm and long-term contract positions in the Chicago suburbs, El Paso, and Tampa.
Sources: 2017 survey by the National Small Business Association. https://www.nsba.biz/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Regulatory-Survey-2017.pdf