THE benefits of employing temporary or contract staff are gaining the attention of business leaders in Singapore, says recruiting expert Hays.

Interest in temporary assignments is starting to rise. This is not surprising — with world economies at varying stages of crisis and recovery, employers are looking for flexibility when it comes to workforce planning, and the obvious answer is to hire temporary workers.

These employees allow workloads to be completed while maintaining headcount flexibility. This “bank” of temporary workers can help an organisation to mitigate the effects of the unknown.

Long-term solution

But temporary workers do not offer benefits only during times of uncertainty. A flexible workforce is also about a long-term workforce management plan in which such factors as project work, peak demands, annual leave and system updates are considered.

Given emerging skills shortages, it is also about the organisation’s ability to access specific skills and broaden the pool of talent, rather than restricting the search to only candidates looking for a permanent role.

By taking advantage of the benefits of temporary assignments, an organisation can get ahead of competitors by fully utilising such flexible workforce arrangements.

The advantages of temporary assignments include:

* Flexibility: Temporary workers can fulfil both long- and short-term needs and can be engaged and released at short notice. Their expertise can also be engaged on special projects.

* Support for your permanent workforce: Rather than continuously redistributing work between current permanent employees, which can reduce productivity, increase stress and negatively impact quality and health and safety, temporary resources instead support a permanent team.

* Reduced administrative burden: Engaging an experienced, fully referenced temporary candidate removes administrative burdens. They are paid by an agency, are fully interviewed and reference-checked, and have undertaken any necessary pre-employment medicals and safety tickets.

* Popular with candidates: Not everyone actually wants a permanent job. Those candidates attracted to temporary assignments see them as a way to gain a better work/life balance.

For some, they provide the flexibility they need to be able to remain in the workforce, while others are attracted to the variety of the workload and the broader depth of opportunities, experience and skills they can develop in temporary assignments.

The practice of hiring contract staff can be a win-win outcome for both employer and employee, and should be part of an organisation’s long-term workforce management plan.