Don't overlook temporary agencies and staffing services as a possible solution to your short- and long-term staffing needs.

The Upside

  • Test the waters. Temporary agencies can be an excellent choice if you are uncertain that you have enough work to support a permanent employee.
  • Cost savings. In most cases, the staffing agency is responsible for the administrative costs associated with employees, including payroll costs and benefits. This can be an important consideration for very small businesses.
  • Time savings. Using a staffing service will also save you the enormous time investment involved in recruiting, screening, hiring, and training employees.
  • Control/supervisory factors. Your company supervises employees obtained through staffing services. By contrast, you have far less control over independent contractors.
  • "Employee shopping." A company may eventually choose to extend an offer of permanent employment to those temporary employees best suited to its business needs.

The Downside

  • No guaranteed protection from liability. Using a temporary agency does not fully insulate a business from potential employment law liability. You should still be aware of and comply with labor and employment laws.
  • Morale issues. Using temporary employees to supplement your regular workforce can backfire if "temporary employees" realize they are doing the same work as permanent employees without receiving the same benefits. This can have a negative overall impact on company morale.
  • Compatibility. The type of business or requirements of the specific position may preclude the temporary staffing option. For example, business and tasks requiring extensive specialty training or company-specific knowledge may not lend themselves to this solution. In addition, union constraints may render this option unfeasible.

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