Personnel Services: Match Temp Services to Your Needs

By Howe, Nancy | Personnel Journal, January 1994 | Go to article overview

Personnel Services: Match Temp Services to Your Needs


Howe, Nancy, Personnel Journal


The job of staffing a company's departments with temps is too important to hire a service over the telephone or to be sold by a sales representative. When wearing the hat of temp staffing coordinator, personnel should remember that the job it does is visible to management. Poor service from the temp service is a reflection on the entire department. Therefore, put concentrated effort into the interview, and select a temp service company based on solid and valuable information obtained during the interview process.

If allowed, a good temporary service can function as an extension of the personnel department. When such a match is made, it enables the client company's temporary staffing responsibilities to be managed with maximum efficiency. The absence of this relationship can be compared to having a vacant temporary recruiter position in the personnel department staffed by a "tempt"--permanently.

MAKE SURE POLICY AND PROCEDURE QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED

During initial interviews with service representatives, each party should discuss and agree on several policies and procedures:

* INVOICING. Ask to see a sample copy of an invoice. Maintaining copies of temp invoices is an easy way to document use. Make sure the service's invoicing procedure is understood and that it fits the company's needs.

* TIME SHEETS. Request a sample time sheet. Nearly every temp service's time sheet has a place to sign that is, in effect, an agreement. Many supervisors probably won't read what they're signing--they'll think they're simply verifying hours worked. Make sure someone is responsible for reading and understanding the agreement.

Is an additional signature required to authorize overtime payment to the temp? Also, how does the service define overtime? Find out if a contingency procedure exists when a temp forgets to bring a time sheet.

* OFFICE HOURS OF OPERATION. Ask about the service's normal office hours. If the client deals with a branch that closes at 5 p.m., that office could be staffed by a single person. In an urban area in which the temp industry is competitive, it may be that the branch doesn't compete well enough in the market to warrant a second staff member. If so, it's also possible that the service lacks a good base of temps to fill its client orders.

Find out what happens when clients call during off hours. Does an answering service or answering machine take messages? Are calls forwarded to another branch or to the home of one of the temp service employees?

On which holidays is the office closed? What procedure does the service follow for holidays not observed by all companies, such as Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Presidents Day or Veterans Day? Some services grant rotating holidays to their permanent staff, require each staff member to work half-day on the holiday or have some other arrangement. Ask for specifics.

* TEMP-TO-PERM POLICY. What's the policy if the client wants to hire one of the service's temps permanently? How does the service view this practice? Does the client simply need to notify the service of its intention, or is something more formal required? (Remember, some temp services aren't licensed to charge placement fees.)

Most services prefer to keep the temp on their payroll for a specific waiting period before moving (at no extra cost) him or her to the client's payroll. In this case, how long is the waiting period? It may be a specific number of weeks or billable hours, although the most common waiting period is 90 days. Does that 90-day period include weekends or is it 90 working days? Because the difference is an additional four to five weeks, find out when the waiting period begins. Is it immediate or retroactive to the first day of the assignment?

Ask in advance about placement fees (if any. Is it a set amount, a percentage of the employee's first-year salary or an amount based on how long the temp worked in the current assignment? …

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