2 Temporary Staffing Challenges You Can Solve with HRMS

The use of temporary staff (also known as casual, contract or contingent) has been on the rise for some time. Particularly since the 2008-09 global economic downturn led every employer to look for ways to reduce their fixed overheads (of which the permanent workforce is usually the largest).

Employing temporary staff – either direct or through an agency – offers a number of short-term but significant benefits, including faster onboarding and less complicated offboarding

Employing temporary staff – either direct or through an agency – offers a number of short-term but significant benefits, including faster onboarding and less complicated offboarding, reduced hiring and training costs, a quick solution to sudden staffing crises, reduced benefits and compensation costs (as temporary workers are much less likely to qualify). However, when it comes to managing the workforce, temporary staff can present a number of challenges that your HRMS can help you surmount.

Managing the Employee Record

Firstly, a rapid turnover of temporary workers can make it difficult to keep track of just how many people you have in the workforce. This is especially true when the hiring or engaging of the temporary workers is done on a ‘just in time’ basis by managers directly, instead of via the usual HR-run recruitment channels.

Likewise, the payment of temporary workers (especially when their services are commissioned via an agency) may be done via the finance department’s accounts payable system rather HR’s payroll function, resulting in a misleading idea of costs. With the right manager self-service setup, all the relevant data will be entered in the HRMS, therefore enabling your reporting and analytics functions to produce the full picture.

Recommended Reading: HRMS Software Guide - 2015 Edition

Another complication is the question of employee status or classification and the identity of the employer of record. Put simply, who is responsible for handling the temporary worker’s tax deductions, benefits contributions, and so on? Again, with the right setup, keeping up to date HRMS records for the individual worker means that many or all of these issues are handled automatically according to the system’s automatic processes.

Managing Employee Communication & Training

When it comes to company communications, networking, important skill or knowledge updates (e.g. as systems are updated) then it’s all too easy for temporary workers to be left out of the loop; especially if they work for you and on an ‘of-off’ basis.

By including your temporary staff in the HRMS as an employee, you ensure that they are included in any HRMS-coordinated communications or training programmes and can benefit from system features such as collaborative cross-disciplinary project working (as well as just access the essential basics such as the workforce directory). For those workers who aren’t’ with you every week or month, the important thing is to ensure the system is kept up to date as to whether their record is ‘active’ or ‘inactive’.

If you find that temporary staff are a core part of your operation, one option is to incorporate a vendor management system (VMS) in your HRMS. A VMS is essentially a workforce management system for temporary workers, handling onboarding, time & attendance, payment and reporting. The other option might be to effectively outsource to a managed service provider, a third party agency that procures and manages temporary workers on your behalf, in which case you would ideally want a degree of integration between their systems and your own in order to be able to view (and utilise) the full workforce data picture.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall