Today’s work environment is a complex place. Talent crunches go hand in hand with high levels of unemployment, driving the increased use of temporary workers to augment their permanent workforce. Companies are strategizing to build their employer brand to attract more talent. Of course, finding talent is only the beginning. Holding onto that talent may pose a greater challenge. It is not uncommon for companies seeking staffing suppliers to issue an RFP in which the potential supplier is asked, “What is your contingent workforce turnover rate?” That is the wrong question!
When a contingent worker comes on board, the short term nature of their tenure and limited opportunity for advancement would suggest a possible lack of engagement with the employer leading to a reduced commitment to completing the agreed upon assignment. The true questions to be answered is “What is being done to ensure that contingent workers satisfactorily complete each engagement? Can we expect them to be as productive as regular workers? How do we gauge their loyalty to the organization?”
Any response provided by a staffing supplier to the request for a turnover rate will be meaningless and probably misleading. Why? In considering the number of workers that leave or are separated before their temporary assignment is over, the costs associated with separation, rehiring and retraining vary by skill, location, and other factors. A company may find that a high turnover rate among readily available, low skilled, short-term resources is merely a nuisance while the loss of a single worker with hard to find skills needed for a mission-critical assignment has a severe impact.
When temp workers fail to complete assignments and must be replaced, losses go beyond the sourcing and training costs: Companies must also factor in:
Of course, many of the tools available to motivate and engage permanent employees do not apply to temporary workers. However, steps that can be taken to reduce attrition rates include:
Employee engagement is a moving target. Recognize the workers’ contribution and encourage the worker to develop a sense of belonging and value. Partner with your suppliers to ensure that temporary workers share your vision and be on your team, even if it is for a short term. All said and done, no job is truly permanent!
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