90 days: that seems to be the magic number of days that a new hire gets to prove his meddle. It is both a honeymoon period and a trial period all rolled into one. During that time, the newbie is given the benefit of the doubt, whatever benefit there is in doubt. He can make a few mistakes. He can get at least one major thing wrong. But somewhere along the way, the pressure starts to build. The manager is watching every little thing. At some point, the reality sinks in. This job is not yet won. Everything is still on the line. It all comes down to the first performance review. That is when you really know if you’ve got the job.
It is an awkward time, both for the new hire and the employer. Regardless of the screening process, there is no way to know for sure if you have hired the right person for the job. You will absolutely know in the first 90 days. But by then, you have already sunk a lot of money into training, benefits, and taxes. Hiring someone after only looking at a few pieces of paper and a thirty minute conversation full of canned questions and answers is a risky business, especially for a small business.
Many small businesses do not have a large investment in HR staffing. Sole proprietors often find themselves hiring based on gut feelings. What they need is a staffing agency that can take on the bulk of the liability for things like payroll and talent acquisitions while staying on top of the latest workforce trends relevant to your industry.
Here are just a couple of reasons why temporary staffing might just be your permanent solution:
Firing Someone Is Tougher than You Think
A temp agency allows you to evaluate a worker’s fit for your company for a 90 day (try before you buy) period. There is no exploitation in this arrangement because the particulars are clearly stated up front. The talent signs on with a staffing agency. They get assignments at various companies, doing various tasks, for a specified period of time. From their perspective, if the contract is for 90 days, that is all they should expect. Signing on with the company after that is always a possibility, but not a contracted expectation. The employer can renew the contract, or bring on someone else. Maximum flexibility is maintained.
Being able to let a worker go without having to fire them is the position you want to be in as a small business owner. The reason for this is that firing a person these days is a lot tougher than you might think. Consider this cautionary tale of an unhappy engineer being fired from GE. It ultimately cost them $10M. That is because the law favors the fired. There seems to be as many protected categories of people as there are categories of people. That can be a particularly expensive lesson for the business owner that happens to fire a litigious racial minority, female, disabled, or religious person. Using a staffing agency to screen out potential problems before making the hiring decision can be a business saving strategy.
Flexible Talent Acquisition
How many people will it ultimately take to run your business? during the early stages, you probably have no idea. Hire too many, and you are paying a lot of money for people you don’t yet need. Hire too few, and nothing useful gets done. But what if you could hire no one, and just call for 25 workers when you need them? That is what a good staffing service allows you to do.
This type of flexibility is especially important for seasonal businesses. During the big season, you need a lot more staff at all levels than you do during the rest of the year. It is unethical, not to mention, expensive, to hire a bunch of people for the busy season without making it clear that the work is only temporary, then fire them when it is over. This benefits no one, and could cost you millions. Rather, place a call to your staffing agency and put in an order for the extra workforce you need for your busy season.
Even after you have populated your workforce at an appropriate level, you can still use a staffing service to fill in the occasional gaps. A key person takes maternity leave, or sick leave, or jury duty, or military duty. Their job is secure, but it still needs to be done while they are away. For these, and numerous other good reasons, temporary staffing should be part of the permanent solution for small businesses.