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There are countless reasons that a business may find itself understaffed or without adequate resourcees at key times. One very common solution to short-term staffing issues are temporary workers who can fill resource and skills gaps for a finite length of time. Temporary workers, or ‘temps’, are a valuable resource for many organisations and when managed correctly can add a great deal of value to any business. Here at HSQ Recruitment we specialise in the recruitment of all types of temporary workers across a wide range of sectors in the rail and civil engineering marketplace.

Temporary workers’ rights
Firstly, it is important to be aware that all temporary workers’ rights are protected by the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR). These regulations give all temporary workers the right to the same pay and working conditions that they would be entitled to as permanent employees. Some view the hiring of temp workers as a way to get around offering the same rights, pay and benefits that permanent employees are entitled to. This is not the case and anyone employed on a temporary basis has their rights duly protected. Visit our FAQ's for everything you need to know about the AWR.

Different types of temporary workers
There are different types of temporary workers. Those on fixed-term contracts, those on zero-hour contracts, and freelancers and even those employed on a part-time basis. If you have decided to hire temps, the first thing to determine is exactly which type of contract you want to offer your temporary workers.

Fixed-term -the duration of a temp’s employment when working on a fixed-term contract will be agreed from the outset and have a firm start and finish date. Fixed-term contract workers can’t be treated less favourably than their permanent counterparts and employers have to ensure they have the same benefits as permanent workers.

Freelance - much like contractors, a freelancer tends to be self-employed which makes them responsible for their own tax and NI contributions. They are often employed with a very specific skillset and are brought in for an interim period. Freelancers can choose when to start and end their employment, and you are at risk of losing them should they receive a better offer elsewhere.

Zero-hours - a zero-hours contract is an agreement whereby the employer does not guarantee any working hours. The idea is that when the need arises there is the resource available at short notice and work is duly assigned. Anyone accepting a zero-hours contract must be paid at least the national minimum wage and is entitled to the basic statutory rights of employment.

Advantages of temporary cover
There are many advantages to the employer for choosing temporary cover:

Access to specialist skills - there may be an area of your organisation that requires a specialist approach and skills which are not currently in-house. A temp option allows you to access these skills with immediate effect.

Flexibility - temp staff offer a great deal of flexibility because there are so many different approaches you can take to hiring temp workers. You can always find a solution to match your specific requirements.

Immediate impact - regular employee absences impact the overall productivity and output of your business. So might the need for maternity cover, on the high demands of peak periods. Hiring temp cover alleviates the pressure you might feel like a business during these periods and can ensure that your business runs smoothly while key members of staff are absent.

The chance to hire permanently - you will often find that the person you have hired on a temporary basis has added a huge amount of value to your organisation. Hiring such a person permanently offers a favourable solution for everyone involved. You can bring someone in who you already know and trust, and they won’t need time to get up to speed.

Getting the most out of temporary workers
Temp workers are not cheap labour, they are a valuable resource. Managed effectively they can add maximum value to your business.

Preparation - before your temp begins, ensure that you have allocated the necessary resources that they will need to do their job effectively and will be ready to get started from day one.

Clarity - make sure that they know exactly what is expected and have clear and achievable goals. Make it clear who they are working with and who they will report to.

Teamwork - the rest of your team should also be aware of the arrangement. This will allow the new temp to settle in faster and will allow everyone to work better together.

Training - if there is any training you need to do, make sure it is pre-arranged and occurs as soon as possible. Don’t waste time.

Communication - make sure that there is constant communication between your temps, your permanent staff and your management team. Avoid having anyone work in a silo and ensure that there are well-established lines of communication.

For more advice on temporary recruitment, or to look into your options, get in touch with one of our specialist recruiters.