There is no doubt that temporary and contract employees are able to provide valuable support when your company needs it most. They are an ideal option when project needs are high but long-term resources are uncertain. Many temporary workers seek out contract work as it provides them with the opportunity to develop their skills, their network, and their resume in a relatively short period of time; not to mention temporary work can help pay the bills while they continue their search for a more permanent opportunity.
Given that temporary work is such a convenient opportunity, why then are there often hesitancies (both from employers and employees) to rely too heavily on short-term contracts? How long should an ideal trial period last before bringing a temporary worker on board permanently? These are all questions that employers are eager to answer, and in today’s article, we discuss the key issues.
Timing is Everything
The need for contract workers often stems from uncertainty in a company. This uncertainty can be due to a structural reorganization, budget ambiguity, or even a lack of qualified professionals in the job market. The result is the same: there is a need to find workers who can support business and project needs while holding off on a long-term hiring commitment. A good length of time for a temporary contract can be anywhere from 6 to 18 months, with some erring on the shorter side to avoid any conflict.
Getting the most from your temporary hires is all about timing. While it really is up to the employer to set the length of a contract, there is also a mental limit that most temporary workers are willing to remain under contract before expecting to be brought on full time. Recognizing that your short-term needs may not directly align with their long-term career goals is important, and seeking ways to bring the two perspectives into a mutually beneficial balance is key to a successful contract hire.
The Dangers of Hiring Too Early
It is true that employers can hire their temporary staff too early. Such situations can result in a bad hire when waiting a little longer could have resulted in a more informed decision. Don’t let the pressures of a competitive hiring market or urgency felt by an individual worker overly influence your decision-making process. Take the time you need to evaluate whether they will really be a good fit for the position and the team in a more long-term capacity before making them an offer of permanent employment.
The Dangers of Hiring Too Late
On the other hand, waiting too long to hire a high-quality temporary worker can result in frustration on the side of the employer or even legal action if contractors are misclassified and treated as an employee. If you don’t want your valued temporary staff to leave for another opportunity, wasting precious time and money invested in their training, and you want the piece of mind that comes with lower exposure to legal sanctions, consider bringing the employee on full time before it’s too late.