How to manage on-demand staff

on-demand staff
Eliza Kirkby

By

written on August 7, 2017

As more employers are using temporary or contract workers, here are some ideas of how to best manage on-demand staff.

We’re becoming on-demand people. From on-demand television to training and even software as a service (SaaS), we’re accustomed to having our needs met here and now. Is it really a surprise then that employers are shifting towards on-demand headcounts?

According to findings in the recent Hays Salary Guide, two in three employers use temporary or contract staff; 44% use them for special projects or workloads and 23% do so on a regular ongoing basis. Just 33% of employers only employ temporary or contract staff in exceptional circumstances, or never do so.  

The rapid rise in the use of non-permanent staff over recent years can be put down to the ability to access highly-skilled professionals on-demand and as needed, whether on a temporary, contract or contingent basis. This flexibility allows organisations to meet the myriad of changing requirements faced, while delivering value (you only pay for the hours worked as opposed to a permanent package).

Employers are also becoming more sophisticated in their recruitment and management of this segment of their workforce with the majority, 66 per cent, having visibility of the size and location of their contingent/temporary workforce.

However when questioned about the level of engagement and productivity of their non-ongoing workforce, almost half, 49 per cent, say they are as engaged and productive as their permanent staff. Twenty-eight per cent said they are less engaged and productive than permanent employees.  The final 23 per cent were unsure.

Implications for employers

Today’s employers need to remain agile and bring in skills as and when required. The rapid growth of non-ongoing workforces has implications for talent management that few have yet addressed.

Here are some tips:

  • Be open: As organisations take their cue to focus on growth, many want to build better, more productive relationships with their staff – which increasingly include non-permanent workers. Therefore be open at all times and make sure communication flows both ways.
  • Give non-ongoing staff a voice: Encourage temporary and contract staff to make suggestions and share information. Access to your organisation’s private social network, regular updates from your managing director or involvement in team meetings gives non-ongoing staff the opportunity to connect and share ideas and tap into the expertise of others.
  • Integrate non-ongoing staff: Assignment lengths are increasing and those who will be in your department or organisation for more than two to three weeks should be integrated into your team. This includes understanding your organisation’s culture and way of working.
  • Provide training: For longer-term assignments and contracts, it’s advisable to provide organisational and systems training similar to that offered to permanent employees. Your temporary or contractor will have fewer questions and be more productive thanks to this investment. In the process, you’ll convey that their contribution is valued.
  • Make others aware of their role: Make sure that everyone in the team is aware of the objectives or tasks the temporary or contractor is there to achieve.
  • Discuss performance: Provide performance feedback regularly to get the most out of your temporary, contract or contingent worker and build a more productive relationship.
  • Gain visibility and control: One in three employers (34 per cent) are struggling with the visibility of the size and location of their contingent or temporary workforce. There are various ways to do this, including a Managed Service Provision, which is managed by an external provider that captures, manages and tracks all requests, vendors, workers, timesheets and spend.

By Eliza Kirkby, Regional Director of Hays Human Resources

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