Temp Workers: Key to Knowledge Retention, Innovation

According to the most recent projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment services industry, which primarily comprises temporary staffing organizations, is expected to experience more growth than any other industry between now and 2014. The predicted 3.8 percent annual growth rate would add nearly 1.6 million jobs.

In its annual economic analysis of the staffing industry, the American Staffing Association reported that this growth is due to an increased demand for flexible work arrangements. As the employment market changes, companies are viewing temporary workers in a more favorable light.

The folks at Yoh, a talent and outsourcing services company, said one of the reasons for this shift is the baby boomer “brain drain” — many aging employees are leaving the traditional workforce in favor more flexible and personally satisfying jobs. For these individuals, contract employment has become an appealing option.

Using their intellectual capital to control their employment destinies, an increasing number of baby boomers are realizing their capacity to choose the people, places and projects they work with. In this new era, companies are going to need to adapt.

To retain the experience of these talented individuals, companies must learn how to integrate contract employees into their workforce. According the Yoh white paper, “6 Ways to Optimize Contract Employee Performance,” creating an environment where temporary and permanent employees work together will help retain knowledge and maximize the contributions of temporary employees. Companies will get the most out of these workers by clearly explaining everyone’s roles, creating as much equality as possible and building a team atmosphere.

To retain the contract employees’ expertise even after they’ve moved on, Yoh suggests shadowing temporary employees and documenting their methods. By watching the actions and understanding the reasoning of these workers, companies can re-create their efforts when the project is done.


Adapted from the January 2007 Issue of Talent Management Magazine

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Sandra Schwan

1 Comment

  1. No doubt. We are entering into an era of a liquid labor force. The corporate benefits of this labor model are more “in tune” for a market that continues to globalize. Why? The global economy is highly dynamic, and it needs a dynamic labor model to support it. This past summer saw a record number of 1099 contract and contract-to-hire positions open up across most sectors. Companies continuing to focus on the traditional W-2 hiring techniques will find themselves needing to change to a new recruiting paradigm. Otherwise they risk longer placement cycle times and increased difficulty in hitting delivery dates, as well as revenue targets.

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