Have you ever wondered if it’s worth getting in a temp to help you through a particularly busy period or to cover the leave period of an existing staff member? It can be a tricky decision as an employer. You wonder if it will be worth the time and energy in trying to get them up to speed for a short period of time. Do you instead just struggle through the period, where everyone chips in and tries to carry a bit extra of the workload. It’s a decision businesses talk to me about all the time.

Hence I thought I’d share with you Inspire HQ’s recent experience in having a temp member join our team. If you’ve been in touch with our office recently you’ll no doubt have come across the bright, outgoing and professional Julia – or Julz as she has become known to everyone.

It was early January and I was trying to decide if we needed to bring in a temp to help us out for the next few months. I was going to be taking a couple of weeks’ leave and being a small team, when you take one of us out, the workload can be a struggle for the rest of us. We were also getting to the point where we needed to start thinking about putting on a new permanent team member but I wasn’t 100% sure we had the workload for a full-time person when all staff were on deck and I didn’t know exactly what the scope of the role would be.

As it turned out the stars aligned for us and Julz made contact, she’d recently returned from living overseas and was looking for some temp work until she found her dream job in Ballarat. She was happy to take on any admin based or HR focussed work given her skillset. Having known of Julz from a few years back through her previous employment before she left Australia, and she came highly recommended, it was a given. Julz was to join our team as a temp for a few months. The value Julz brought to us has far exceeded the dollar investment, plus it has allowed us to move the business forward and have some key wins with our strategic objectives.

How did having a temp do this for us? Here’s why I think you should always consider the temporary employee option for covering peak workloads and staff leave:

They bring a fresh set of eyes

Bringing in a temp is no different to having a new permanent employee commence. They bring with them a fresh set of eyes – a different perspective. They’ll ask why you do something this way and suggest new ideas of doing things or see gaps in your service delivery. Julz was able to look at our business from a consumer perspective (candidate) and an internal HR perspective and then add value with her ideas. She was well and truly over qualified for our temp role but the temp assignment worked for both of us. She picked up work which allowed her the time to wait for her ideal job to come along and we tapped into her knowledge and expertise in recruitment and HR. Often people are happy to take temp roles at a lower skill level if it can meet their other needs for a period of time. A win – win for both parties!

Reduces workplace stress and improves culture 

If you have ever taken the option to just struggle through a leave period with the existing staff, expecting everyone (including yourself) to chip in and carry an increased workload during a leave period; you’ll know it creates a lot of stress and pressure. It can negatively impact workplace culture and while you think it might be easier just to struggle through instead of trying to bring in a temp and get them up to speed; often it impacts negatively. My team will be the first to tell you while it definitely helped having Julz on board while I was on leave, they still had to step up and take on additional work. However, had we not had a temp in place to assist, the stress levels would have been through the roof. Getting in a temp will help keep your existing team sane, productive and less stressed; which equals happy employees.

Test the requirement of the job

Why? Having Julz fill our temp role meant we were able to closely look at the skills needed to fill the role. What I have found is that when you’ve had someone in a role for a long period of time you can take for granted their skills and expertise in performing that role. They have so much knowledge and expertise in performing those tasks that you just take it for granted what they do and the value they contribute each day, particularly when things just seem to be humming along. The role can become shaped around their skills; playing to their strengths (which is what you want) but having a temp in really highlights what the essential elements of the role are, what skills you need both now and in to the future to be able to achieve key objectives. This now means we will have much greater success in filling the permanent position with the right person.One unexpected benefit of having a temp join our team for the last few months has been how it has opened my eyes to what the requirements of that role actually are. Now that might sound strange – surely I should know what tasks that position performs and the skill set it requires. As I mentioned at the start of the blog we were getting to a stage where we needed to put on someone for this position on a permanent basis. If I had of written the Position Description for the role back in early January, it would look quite different to what it does now.

There have been many other benefits of having a temp assist with the workload over the last few months. The short term pain of spending some time on-boarding and training Julz up in our systems and processes has far outweighed the value she has brought to our team. Yes, the success and value of a temp does absolutely come down to getting the right temp for the job but with a little planning and preparation, you too can reap the rewards of bringing in a temp, just like we have.

Today we farewell Julz and wish her luck on the next stage of her career. As thrilled as we are that she has found her dream job, our team is bitterly disappointed to lose her. To Julz – thank you for your contribution to our team over the last few months, you have far exceeded the expectations any of us had, you are leaving big shoes to fill. Your humour, stories and vibrant personality will be missed! We wish you every success in the next phase of your career.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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