Debbie McGrath Debbie McGrath

When Temporary Employees Become Long-Term Temporary

November 1, 2014

Posted to by Jason Leverant, president and CEO, AtWork Group

During the height of the recession, those of us in the staffing industry saw the numbers of temporary and contract workers rise as employers, worried about the economy, put off hiring full-time employees and turned to staffing firms for help.

Now that the economy has stabilized and appears to be improving, businesses are still filling positions with temporary workers. According to the American Staffing Association (ASA), approximately 3 million workers are employed by the staffing industry every week and 11 million contract and temporary workers are hired by staffing-industry firms each year.

What’s even more interesting: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that temporary workers accounted for 91 percent of total nonfarm job growth from 2009 to 2011, and today, temporary workers comprise two percent of the total U.S. workforce.

As temporary workers continue to bolster the economy, I have noticed another trend: More temporary workers are choosing to stay in their temporary positions on a long-term basis. And employers are embracing this trend.

One of the reasons employers seek long-term temporary workers is due to the uncertainty they have previously faced with the economy. This has helped create a more conservative approach to business expansion. Businesses are taking a longer time to hire a permanent employee, and temporary workers fill the need without the fear of a bad hire. The good news is that 80 percent of ASA member clients say they use temporary workers as a way to find good permanent employees. On the other hand, a more flexible temporary position is a good way for an employee to “feel out” the employer before making a commitment.

Long-term temporary positions also can end up being a ladder to permanent positions, because as the economy improves those temporary workers doing a great job most likely will be the first to be considered for full-time positions. Another advantage of long-term temporary work is stability for the worker and the employer. And, learning a new skill or sharpening existing skills with a long-term temporary position can help workers stay current in their profession while deciding if they are a good fit for a full-time position.

Not all workers are interested in a permanent position, and many enjoy the freedom they have as temporary workers. Full-time employment often comes with reduced (or non-existent) flexibility, something that younger generations are not willing to give up.

According to a study by ASA, workers choose temporary assignments for a chance to try other jobs/skills; the opportunity to gain job experience with few skills; the ability to choose their assignment; and the ability to experience many different job environments.

Long-term temporary positions can be a great experience for employees and employers alike, but the ultimate goal always should be the same: matching skills, personalities and goals for the best possible staffing fit.

“Lift Where You Stand”—Four Fundamentals for High-Performing Teams

Posted to by Brian Voigt, Prism Partners International

Some time ago, I heard the term “lift where you stand.” It comes from the efforts of a team tasked with moving a baby-grand piano some distance in preparation for a cultural event. The effort was made more complex by the piano’s tightly wedged position, making mechanical means of moving the instrument impossible in the necessary time frame. As the team of movers tackled the vexing problem, one of the team members suggested that they should surround the instrument and lift the piano where each person stood. Agreeing to the suggested tactic, the team members together lifted the piano where they each stood, amazingly and successfully accomplishing the required objective.

This daunting task that challenged the intellectual and physical resources of an entire team illustrates the often-obscured business principle that an organization’s greatest asset—its people—is the tipping point for business success (or failure). Success happens when people’s efforts are aligned and orchestrated in a collaborative effort to the organization’s strategy and culture.

The simple statement of “lift where you stand” embodies four powerful fundamentals that leaders need to instill in their teams, to create a culture of engagement, innovation, collaboration and, ultimately, results-driven performance of a high-performing team. Those four fundamentals:

1) Commitment to and engagement in accomplishing the organization’s objectives and strategy. Team members and individual contributors each must expertly execute their roles and related tasks and understand the value that each of their efforts add to achieve strategic objectives.

2) Communication—transparent and timely—from leadership keeps everyone informed about where they are going and why they are doing what they are doing, keeping everyone rowing in the same direction. Necessary course corrections can only be made when employee communications are honest, instructional and frequent.

3) Collaboration is the stuff that results in creative thinking and problem solving. The old adage that two heads are better than one is true when faced with the complex issues of today’s competitive marketplace. Effective collaboration improves the quality of work and fosters healthy and productive relationships among co-workers. Teams can align to and accomplish their objectives more quickly and effectively than people taking on projects on their own. Collaboration also speaks of engagement and a team-centric and innovative culture.

4) Cooperation is the key to ensuring efforts are aligned and synchronized to the accomplishment of the organizational efforts. Cooperation denotes the importance of each person’s strategic role and the criticality of working together for the good of the whole.

“Lift where you stand” is an organizational imperative in achieving organizational results. MF
Industry-Related Terms: Point
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Management


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