In 2016, U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 3.21 million temporary and contract workers per week. When companies need temporary workers, or want to employ new staff on probationary terms, they contribute to a $129 billion industry. Staffing firms and their clients help drive the economy. Considering current trends in job openings and labor turnover, these firms are, by far, one of the easiest ways of finding temporary workers.
Once you find a fantastic temporary worker (perhaps thanks to a staffing firm), and are ready to offer this valuable individual a permanent job, you may assume that all you have to do is announce the good news (and buy out their contract from the staffing agency). The individual will then gratefully thank you for the amazing opportunity.
Not so fast: Though most temp workers do want permanent employment, they also want a fair salary, good benefits, and a position that offers them growth opportunities. If you assume a temp worker will accept any employment package no matter the benefits, you could potentially lose a great employee and be forced back to square one. Here are five ways to win over your temp.
The easiest way to entice a hard-working temp to join your team permanently is to pay them what they are worth. When The Economist looked at America’s temporary workforce, which is made up of almost 3 million Americans, the publication found that they earn, on average, 20 to 25 percent less per hour than permanent employees in similar jobs. That may make it hard for temp workers to pay off student loans, save for a down payment, or support their families.
If you hire your temp through a staffing agency, one easy way to pay your temp what they are worth is to maintain their same hourly rate. Since all staffing agencies add a markup to the hourly rate their temp workers receive, the remaining margin should be sufficient to cover benefits and additional costs.
Of course, you will have to buy out the individual’s contract with the staffing agency. Still, as Ashley Stahl writes for Forbes, “Survey after survey indicates that the number one most important thing to employees about a job is salary. Employers that can afford to pay should do just that to keep the best and brightest on their staff.”
Don’t have the budget to give your temp an outsized paycheck? You can make up the difference with benefits. You’d be following in the footsteps of some of the savviest companies. Amazon, for example, is in the midst of piloting a 30-hour workweek, while Netflix announced this year that it was giving certain employees up to a year of paid parental leave.
You don’t have to go that far to court your best temps, but a strong benefits package could make the difference to a potential employee. In fact, 57 percent of workers agreed that benefits and perks were one of their top considerations when looking for a job.
Of course, offering benefits isn’t cheap, especially for many small businesses, nonprofits, and startups. If you can’t offer a great salary or killer benefits, try pitching something that even the most cash-strapped business can afford: flexibility.
Twenty years ago, it would have been laughable if an employee asked to set their own hours or telecommute, but new technological solutions have dovetailed with changing expectations to make flexibility a key perk that many employees—especially coveted millennials—desire. In a survey of millennials conducted by Bentley University, 77 percent of respondents agreed that flexible work hours would make them more productive at work. Consider offering your new employee flexible work hours, a 30-hour workweek, or telecommuting opportunities, especially if you can’t meet their salary requirements or offer a competitive benefits package.
You have another valuable asset to tempt your temp worker into accepting a permanent position: your own experience, and the experience of other employees and managers. Offer training, mentorship, and growth opportunities to entice your temp worker. Millennials who are starting their careers, for example, not only need guidance, but are also impatient to get their careers going.
Deloitte’s large, worldwide survey of millennials backs up this sentiment, finding that “where millennials are most satisfied with their learning opportunities and professional development programs, they are also likely to stay longer.” Even if your company is small, you could make sure a hardworking employee would get to wear a lot of hats and advance their career.
Millennials, in particular, are known for caring about the greater good. They want their eggs cage-free, their coffee beans free-trade, and an employer that cares about more than just making money. Their compassion is not a liability, but rather a way to turn them into loyal and passionate employees—if your company is purpose-driven. Net Impact found that 72 percent of undergraduate and graduate millennials claimed that having a job that impacts causes that are important to them was either “very important” or “essential.”
Talk to your temps. Help them truly believe in the purpose, product, or impact of your company. You may be able to win them over, even if you can’t offer the most competitive salary or benefits. After all, you can’t put a price on knowing what you do at work makes the world a little bit better.
Your excellent temp worker may want a permanent position, but it’s up to you to entice them. While you may be focused on the cost of buying out the contract, don’t forget about your potential employee, who has specific needs and wants.
Make sure that when you offer a permanent position with your company that you make it worth their while. That doesn’t have to mean squeezing your limited budget for more money and expensive benefits. Get creative and offer perks such as flexibility, mentorship, or a compelling purpose to snag a bright new team member that will help your company thrive.