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Alternative Staffing Solutions
How do you cope with unexpected personnel shortages? Many businesses face this question because of seasonal peaking, inventory, special projects, several employees simultaneously on sick leave, or an unexpected increase in business. Entrepreneurs must also cope with the rising costs of employee benefits, as well as all the payroll record keeping required by local, state, and federal government. This section discusses alternatives available to meet these staffing challenges. Options include temporary help services, employee leasing, and service contracting.

Temporary Help Services
Most businesses need extra help sometimes, and temporary shortages are especially difficult for smaller businesses. A temporary personnel service hires employees and assigns them to companies requesting help. The service is responsible for payroll, bookkeeping, tax deductions, workers’ compensation, fringe benefits, and all other employee costs. Most national temporary personnel companies also offer performance guarantees and fidelity bonding at no added cost.

Workers supplied by a temporary service firm are quickly available. Usually they can start the day after a request is made, and sometimes the same day. Although the rate paid to a temporary service firm is higher than that paid to a permanent employee, the costs of recruiting, record-keeping, training, overtime, and idle periods are much less.

Evaluate temporary personnel services using these factors:

  • Reliability – Is the service well established, with a history of success and financial stability?
  • Recruiting – The firm with an aggressive recruiting program is more likely to have the most skilled and reliable employees.
  • Testing and evaluation – How does it test and evaluate personnel?
  • Training programs – Does the company train personnel in modern office methods, word processing, records management, and other important skills?
  • Quality control – Does the company check the quality of work of its temporary employees?

A temporary service will ask for information about the department the employee will be working in, duration of the assignment, working hours, dress code, smoking rules, and other important information. If possible, send samples of the work. Be sure to give the exact location of your business, transportation available, parking information, and the name and title of the person to whom the temporary employee will report.

Temporary help services are not appropriate for all needs. Businesses needing a temporary worker for six months or longer should hire a full-time employee. For jobs that require extensive supervision, it may be cheaper to pay overtime to a regular employee than to use a temporary worker.



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