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The Dos and Don’ts of Hiring Contract Workers

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Taking on temporary staff can increase efficiency and productivity while offering workers flexibility. Here are some tips for finding the right candidates. 

Published in the Business Post 18th October 2020

 

The trend towards increased temporary and contract hiring has been magnified with the onset of Covid-19.

Traditionally hired for cost-saving measures, temporary and contract staff are now hired more for their skills and expertise, for the efficiency and productivity they can bring and for the flexibility they give organisations.

At Sigmar Recrutiment, we surveyed 1,000 companies in Ireland recently and 91 per cent said they were more likely to hire temps or contractors now than they were before Covid-19.

This may be reflective of the need for flexibility in an abruptly volatile and uncertain market. The good news for employers, however, is that the pool of talent available for temp and contract work is probably the biggest it has been in a decade.Attitudes to this type of work have also changed post-Covid-19. In addition to our company survey, we surveyed 3,500 candidates and found that 82 per cent would be willing to consider temporary work if they were offered some flexibility, such as remote working.

So, what is the best way to find and recruit these candidates? Here are some dos and don’ts to get you started.

 

Dos:

1: Have a strategy for temps

While recruiting temp or contract labour is sometimes brought on by unforeseen circumstances, successful hirers of temporary staff generally have a plan.

Plans for 2021 are being formulated at most companies right now, so consider your plan for engaging flexible talent as part of your overall strategy.

Who will own it, for example, HR, managers or procurement? Will you hire directly or through an agency? What is your projected spend – is it seasonal or year-round?

 

2: Have an EVP for flexible workers

Employer brand and company culture are central to any talent acquisition strategy, but organisations predominantly focus on permanent hires.

Multiple studies show the link between employee engagement and business performance. How costly is it to your brand if a temp worker is disengaged, feels undervalued, yet is customer facing for your company?

Make sure you consider your employee value proposition (EVP) for temp workers. Get it right and it will yield a loyal and sustainable pipeline of flexible talent.

 

3: Be honest

If there is potential for the job to turn permanent, shout this from the rooftops. In our recent survey, the possibility of a permanent post was the number one reason for candidates to consider a temp or contract role.

On the other hand, if no permanent opportunity exists, be honest with this and manage expectations from the outset.

Remember, many temporary and contract workers won’t consider a permanent job either, so honesty is always the best policy.

 

 

4: Consider a specialist partner

At least consider the benefits a good agency partner can bring. Specialist agencies will already have pre-screened and pre-qualified candidates available immediately, saving you crucial time and effort.

The agency takes on the costs of advertising across multiple channels, again saving you money and time. They look after employment contracts, help keep you compliant, and run payroll, saving you further on admin overheads.

Good agencies can also validate salary levels and advise on availability of talent in the market.

 

Don’ts:

1: Wait

Apart from unexpected emergency cover, don’t wait until the last minute to look for temp or contract staff.

Like all recruitment, forward planning will allow you to access better talent in higher numbers either directly or through a partner.

 

2: Ignore compliance

Understand legislation as it applies to temps and contractors. Don’t assume that because they are temps, they have few or no rights. A good agency partner will help here.

 

3: Forget to measure

No matter what size your flexible workforce is, don’t forget to audit it. How is spend on flexible workers controlled, for example, by HR, procurement or hiring managers? Keep an eye on tenures also.

 

4: Undervalue

This is crucial. Remember, today’s temp may be tomorrow’s permanent member of staff. A good experience for a temp will encourage them to return, but also provides a rich pool from which permanent hires may come.

While some view contractors as expensive, bear in mind the specialist expertise they can bring with them, and remember they can also transfer their knowledge to your internal staff, improving the overall level of expertise within your organisation.

 

Posted by Barry Rudden on 18 October 2020

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Resignations Surge in September as Offices Re-open

Main Points Q3 record breaking recruitment placement results Highest in 20 years, peaking in September Up 44% for same period in 2020 Job orders in the first half of October are trending higher than any previous single month in company 20-year history The Talent Shortage Economy: Recruitment (for on-site labour and remote skills) is the single biggest threat to the Irish economy War for talent now being fought on two fronts: Battle for Retention internally and the Skills Struggle externally    “The Great Return is causing a Mass Exodus. The reopening of offices in September has prompted a new surge in resignations as Ireland now faces a Talent Crisis. Employers are increasingly requesting in-office presence and Employees are voting with their feet..” says Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig, founding director Sigmar Recruitment:   Sigmar Recruitment today reports a record high number of job placements for Q3 (July, August, September) 2021, up 44% on the same period 2020. The figures released today top previous results recorded in Q2, 2021, with September recording the best single month ever in the 20-year history of Sigmar. Job orders in the first two weeks in October are trending higher than any single full month in the company’s 20-year history.   The first half of the year saw strong, consistent growth with job placements, peaking initially in May. Summer months remained as strong, peaking once more in September. Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig, founding director of Sigmar believes that the request to return to the office in September has caused employees to revolt, as they do not wish to return to pre-pandemic conditions and practices..   Commenting on the tightening of the labour market, Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “Demand for talent has remained at an all-time high for the second quarter in our 20-year history. It was somewhat unusual not to see demand abate over the summer months. Indeed, demand continued to increase over the summer, resulting in September’s record results. The rate of job requests  in the first two weeks of October is unprecedented, indicating continued in Q4 and raises the question of the sustainability of talent supply.   “Remote working has literally opened up a world of new opportunity no longer bound by location which is creating significant churn in the professional skills market. This last 18 months has seen employees demand greater flexibility. The request to return to the office by employers in September has prompted employees to reconsider whether they recommit or resign. Many are resigning.”   Mac Giolla Phádraig likens remote work to long-distance relationships, which in many cases don’t work out. “We’ve gone from “living” with our employees in an office environment to long distance relationships, which often sees commitment recede over time. The context of location also opened up new experiences and possibilities on a scale never before seen. In September, many employers have asked employees to “trial” living together once more, which in some cases leads to a reunion or in others to separation.   "Another factor, on the employee side is that of identity and how what we do makes up part of who we are as individuals. “This last 18 months has asked big questions of us all, mainly how our working lives interact with our lives and how we identify with our working lives. In the absence of a workplace we’ve reassessed the balance between who we are and what we do, resulting in lesser commitment to our working selves and therefore to our employers. Employee loyalty has therefore become increasingly under question with many workers are now committed to the experience of work over the employer, adding further to the current levels of churn.”     Talent Shortage Economy Recruitment for both the on-site and remote talent remains the single largest threat to the Irish economy. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: ”We are seeing two macro trends converge at once, compounding demand for talent across all sectors – (1) supply of labour and (2)shortage of skills.”   The “high touch economy” for on-site labour in sectors such as construction, logistics, retail and hospitality are currently experiencing severe labour shortages. The disruption to international talent supply chains have caused significant bottlenecks to the supply of labour,  particularly effecting on-site, lower skilled jobs. 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