Companies need a flexible workforce, more than ever. They need to add workers quickly to meet unanticipated changes in marketplace demands, they need to grow without spending too much on labor, and they need to respond to normal, cyclical staffing fluctuations. One response to all of these challenges is to bring in temporary workers and another response is to find more flexibility in regular, full-time employees. Ed Frauenheim presents the case for the latter in an article he wrote for Workforce.com. He writes:
Turning to temporary workers is typical during economic recoveries, but some workplace experts are raising questions about the move to a “just-in-time” labor model. Among the concerns are: lack of commitment to the employer, steep wage markups for some temporary jobs, uncertain qualifications of contingent workers and the risk of misclassifying workers as independent contractors, a problem the Obama administration has been targeting.
However, companies need both full-time and temporary workers. Many companies, as they dig out of the recession or manage second and third stage growth or try to manage the vagaries of markets, need the flexibility provided by a combination of full-time and temporary employees.
To use temporary workers effectively, companies need to integrated them into the worklife of the business. Temporary employees can be committed and engaged in their short-term placements if they are hired with that in mind.
The 5As Framework is a useful lens through which to examine the inclusion of temporary employees in a company. According to the Framework, company leaders should ask themselves these five questions:
- Do temporary employees understand the alignment between the jobs they are being asked to do and the strategic goals of the company?
- Are expectations for performance clear to temporary employees and is everyone anticipating that they will be successful?
- Are managers having regular and frequent conversations with their temporary employees about performance goals and progress toward those goals?
- Are temporary employees being given the same training that any full-time person in the same job would have and are they given the opportunity to immediately apply those newly learned skills on the job?
- Are measures of progress and performance being used to give temporary employees useful feedback for the purpose of improving performance?
If a company can answer “yes” to each of these questions, then it is very likely that their temporary employees will be committed and engaged and will contribute substantially to the success of the business.