During busy seasons, when a permanent employee takes a leave of absence, and when organizations need to operate on a budget, hiring temporary employees is a common cost effective and efficient option for many companies. According to SHRM, as of June 2014, there were nearly 3 million temporary employees in the United States; temporary employees making up roughly 2 percent of our current workforce. The Department of Labor defines a temporary assignment as one lasting less than one year, with a set, specific end date and deems a temporary position as appropriate when the organization determines that there is no permanent need for the employee or position. 

Utilizing temporary workers is becoming more and more mainstream as employers are discovering innovative ways to get the job done. There are a number of benefits to hiring temporary employees including:

  • Cost Effectiveness – While certain benefits such as overtime and Workers’ Compensation may still apply to temporary workers, employers can save on other benefits such as paid time off, vacation, sick leave, and medical benefits that are traditionally only offered to permanent full and part-time employees.
  • Scouting Talent – Many employers use the option of hiring temporary employees to their advantage when attempting to hire for positions that require specific skills. By hiring temporary employees, organizations have the flexibility of seeing if an employee is a good match prior to offering them a permanent position.
  • Operational Functions – Using temporary employees helps many organizations maintain operational standards by providing extra manpower during busy summer or holiday seasons, during periods of time in which permanent employees are on extended leaves of absence, or when positions are being phased out or modified during periods of organizational restructuring.

As many benefits as there are to hiring temporary employees, there are a few cons as well. There is typically an increased need for training as all new employees will need to go through basic organizational training/new hire orientation, regardless of their skill level. Morale issues may arise as you will have temporary employees working along side permanent workers, potentially making less and not receiving the same benefits as their co-workers. Legal issues can also potentially pop up regarding the temporary worker’s status and their lack of eligibility for the benefits only offered to permanent employees.

While there are both pros and cons to hiring temporary employees, the fact remains that this is an option for the majority of organizations. If this is the right fit for your company, a temporary employee may be an invaluable resource in assisting with the completion of large projects, covering for a skilled employee out on leave, or adding an extra pair of hands during your company’s busier and more productive months.