Help Wanted: How to Find Temporary Summer Workers

Your company landed some summer event contracts, but where do you find the short-term help to carry it out?
Help Wanted: How to Find Temporary Summer Workers

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The start of the busy special-event season is looming. Maybe portable restrooms are a big part of your summer plans, or just a side business for your company. Either way, if you land a couple big contracts, your employees may be stretched a little thin when it comes time to get ready for those events. You don’t want your service to suffer; that’ll hurt other aspects of your business as well. You want to make a good impression, maybe make these contracts part of your regular gig and increase your portable restroom business. So how do you find reliable help on somewhat short notice?

Finding temporary help

The heavy workload of the busy season puts a strain on employees and/or the company budget because of the overtime it requires. When staff is small there isn’t much leeway for shifting schedules, and hiring more permanent employees for the portable restroom side doesn’t make sense because you won’t be able to afford keeping them on the payroll when the workload returns to normal and they are no longer needed.

You can recruit extra help on your own. Call friends, relatives and former employees. Try retirees or people you know who are out of work who might like to earn some extra cash. Start early if you’re doing this on your own. You want to be able to be selective and have time to check references. After all, temporary as they may be, they will still be representing your company. People at the event won’t know a temp from a permanent employee, but they will know good service from bad service.

Get assistance

Another option is to save time and hassle and let a temporary employment agency do the recruiting for you. A temporary employment agency hires people as its own employees and assigns them to companies requesting help. When you use such a service you are not hiring additional employees, you are purchasing their time. The agency is responsible for payroll, bookkeeping, tax deductions, workers' compensation, fringe benefits and other costs connected with the employee.

On the surface, that cost may seem prohibitively high, but remember that the agency, not you, is responsible for paying costs like Social Security, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation and any other benefits. A temp firm may also be able to provide extra help quicker than you could recruit friends and relatives.

Note that one thing your company is responsible for is the safety of temporary workers. Under the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act both temporary employment agencies and the employers who use their workers are considered to be “employers” and are subject to liability for failing to ensure the health and safety of workers.

If you decide to use temporary help

The more information you can provide temporary workers or the temp agency about what the job requires, the more successful the experience will prove to be. Don’t sugarcoat the job or leave out any important details. Let the agency know about the duration of the job, hours per day, any required skills or special requirements like a special driver’s license, and the dress code and necessary safety gear.

Getting ready for your temporary help

To ensure a smooth transition for you, permanent employees and temporary employees, take a few preliminary steps before the temporary help reports for work.

Arrange for a permanent employee to supervise the temporary employee. Be sure this person understands the job you want the temporary employee to be responsible for.

Inform permanent employees that you are taking on extra help to provide some relief for them but that it will be temporary so they don’t feel threatened. Ask them to cooperate with the temporary employees as much as possible.

Have any tools, supplies, safety equipment and uniforms ready so the temporary employee can get to work as soon as possible.

Schedule worker time carefully. Stay within the time limits you provided the temp agency. If you told the agency you needed an employee to work eight hours a day, but after reviewing the event realize it will take 10 hours, let them know.

On the job

Once all the preparations have been made and the temporary employees are ready to start, don’t just assume they’ll jump right in and you won’t be able to tell your permanent employees from the temps. All jobs have a learning curve.

Be sure to allow ample time for training. Explain all procedures in a simple “show and tell” manner. Ask questions to make sure each temp understands what he or she will be doing and offer reassurance that the rest of the staff is willing to help and answer questions.

Clearly explain all aspects of the job as well as company policies regarding breaks, lunch hours, smoking, etc. Introduce each temporary employee to the person who will be supervising them and then to all permanent employees to make them feel like part of the team. Let them know they will be representing you and your company at all times and you expect professionalism.

Experienced temporary workers are quick to adapt to a new job. They are old hands at learning new businesses and how they operate. They know their next assignment is dependent on how well they complete their current assignment. The productivity of the employee should justify the cost and your humungous special event contract won’t be lost because of a staffing crisis.


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