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People Management

Managing a temporary workforce effectively

Why it’s so much more than a numbers game.

How many businesses depend on a volume temporary workforce to operate efficiently? Up to 40% of headcount in healthcare, food production or distribution sectors. In these key sectors, Covid-19 has seen the need for temporary staff increase rather than decrease, unlike the rest of the economy.

Add that to the traditional peak time ‘ebb and flow’ of these industries, around  Christmas sales or January returns when a warehouse operation might see a 4-fold increase in the need for temporary fulfillment staff and you see how some businesses are bulging at the seams in the current climate.

But sourcing and managing a reliable temporary workforce is much more than a numbers game.

Be wary of hiring numbers to fill quotas

Driven by their own targets, some larger recruitment agencies may be more interested in shifting the people on their books than finding the right person for the role. They just need to get the numbers through the door to fulfill their contract quotas.

You may get your 100 temporary staff onsite tomorrow morning (as per the agency sales pitch). But if 10% of them are no-shows the next day, you’re left high and dry and 10% down on productivity.

Numbers count when you’re on the shop floor. But what counts more in the long term is commitment and reliability from your workforce.

How an onsite consultant keeps numbers up and worker satisfaction high

Covid-19 has turned the heat up on the need to find temporary workers in key food supply and health sectors. The greater the numbers required, the greater the volume of payroll queries, attendance issues, return-to-work interviews, and the endless Groundhog Day of training new starters.

It’s had a snowball effect on the workload of inhouse HR and Operations Managers. This is why a growing number of companies are turning to onsite recruitment consultants for the first time.

Onsite consultants are an extension of your team. They work shoulder to shoulder with your staff to take the strain of sourcing and managing your volume temporary workforce.  RE’s Head of onsite services, Mark Norton views it as a more honest relationship between client and recruitment agency: “As the agency, you have been trusted to be ‘on the inside’. It’s a more innovative proactive approach, but it really adds value to your workforce and your business. If you’re thinking of switching from a branch-based recruitment agency to an onsite agent you’ll get an enhanced service level from day 1. You are your agent’s sole account and sole client.”

Onsite consultants handle payroll and all the attendance or performance pain-points. They take a proactive non-tolerant attitude to ‘mess-abouts’ as they’re called in the industry. Three strikes and you’re out. In return, temporary workers get committed and consistent management on a daily basis and worker incentives such as employee recognition awards, pizza delivery incentives, and other goodies.

All workers have more buy-in to a job if they are well managed  which builds a reputation out there in the British temporary worker pool

No one is just a number

A good work ethic and reliable attitude are born, not bred. Part of RE’s ethos and its success in managing volume workforces onsite is that we believe that no temporary worker is simply there to make up the numbers. Every person counts.

By applying the duty of care and HR protocols and procedures that we see for permanent workers, we engender a greater degree of commitment from the temporary workforce. It’s a simple equation, treat people with respect and you earn respect from them, and from the temporary worker’s community as a whole.

Reliability + Recommendation = Referrals

The art of recruiting reliable temporary workers is the art of seeing the soft skills that aren’t on a CV. Work ethic. Reliability. Commitment.  Pride in a job well done. You can only judge that with a face-to-face or video interview, so our onsite recruiting consultant meets every candidate. You “hire character and train skill” as Peter Schutz, Porsche CEO puts it.

70% of RE’s temporary workforce return on a regular word-of-mouth basis. If a worker has a good experience and feels looked after and listened to at your company, they are very likely to refer you to their friends and relatives, who usually share a similar work ethic and attitude.

Your pool of reliable talent builds by referral and personal recommendation.  You can’t buy good word of mouth with your marketing budget.

It is possible to have quality as well as quantity.

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