The Critical Contributions of Staffing Agencies

image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot at

image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot at

Let’s face it, as more and more companies turn to staffing agencies to meet their personnel demands, staffing in general has developed a bad reputation among some sectors of the public. Certainly, some of this is the result of unscrupulous agencies doing unscrupulous things, but the majority of it is because, unfortunately, the public is massively unaware of what we do, how we do it, and how what we do can help everyone involved, including you. Today we’d like to offer our take on why staffing agencies are good for companies, for employees, and for the overall economy.

Our clients

HR Departments are already over-burdened by dealing with workers compensation and never-ending unemployment, avoiding lawsuits, constant employee issues, complying with endless and ever-changing government regulations, processing mountains of benefit paperwork about to get even more complicated by Obamacare, and a host of other tasks. Since only the largest and wealthiest companies can normally afford an HR staff large enough to effectively accomplish what needs to be done, hiring a temp agency to recruit, screen, and place workers can be a tremendous help.

Further, a flexible workforce allows companies to meet fluctuating demand for their product or service. They don’t have to go through the entire hiring process to bring on workers when demand increases, nor do they have to lay off regular employees when demand falls. Not only does this help our clients, but it helps full-time employees as well.

Additionally, since we specialize in finding people, staffing agencies are able to utilize certain ‘economies of scale’ with regard to employee selection. We already have the recruiting paths well worn by a multitude of prior travels. We have the paid accounts on the likes of Careerbuilder, Monster, and Indeed. We have the newspaper and career fair contacts. We have the brand-recognition and the massive, searchable databases built over years of doing the same thing, one job prospect at a time. Some of us even have large email lists and social networking pages devoted to little else but our key task, connecting people with companies that need people. Because of all this and more, it’s often less expensive for companies to hire a staffing agency than to conduct a search for qualified employees on their own.

Everyone wants to save money, and corporations are certainly no different. We save our clients money by performing a service at a lower cost than they could perform it themselves, and assuming the risk that is often associated with hiring an employee you don’t know yet.

Our employees

First of all, a significant percentage of our jobs are ‘screen-to-hire,’ in that the folks assigned to those jobs will eventually become full-time employees of one of the client companies to which they are assigned. According to the ASA (American Staffing Association), 72% of temporary workers find a full-time job through an agency in less than a year. In an age where finding a job is tougher than it has been in decades, it’s nice to have a staffing agency to help share the load.

Much is made of the fact that clients get to ‘try’ an employee out as a temp before they ‘buy’ into the hiring process, but the fact of the matter is, the same benefits apply to employees. What better way to know if you want to work full-time at a company than to see it from the inside as a temp? What’s more, should you decide it isn’t for you and leave (with notice) for another assignment, the only entry on your employment record is your time with that agency, which incorporates the cumulative total of all the assignments you completed.

Since our resources are the people we send to work, we have a business interest in the success of those we place. Consequently, we often find ourselves giving career advice, tweaking resumes, sharpening a prospect’s interview skills, and providing positive and negative feedback after interviews and placements. Beyond a form-rejection letter, would you get all that from a company hiring manager? Think of it like a school guidance counselor, for careers, and we don’t charge employees a dime!

Which leads to the final point – any fee paid to us is paid by our clients, not our employees, over and above what the employee has agreed to work for. We NEVER charge employees for the services we provide them.

The economy

One criticism that often comes our way references those long and short-term assignments where the temp may never be hired full-time with the client. To be sure, those do represent a portion of our business. While companies often utilize a flexible workforce because of demand fluctuations, economic uncertainty, and other factors, one must keep in mind that this is a workforce that, without staffing agencies, companies would be less likely to utilize in the first place. Thus, without agencies, these jobs very well might not exist.

How many people have taken the leap to form a start-up at least in part because of the ability to focus on what they do best instead of recruiting, screening, hiring, and firing people, filling out the assorted cumbersome tax paperwork involved, and purchasing workers compensation insurance? It’s hard to say, but I’ll bet there are more than most think.

We live in uncertain times. Unions and governmental agencies put so much pressure on businesses to give, give, and give more, without any discernible gain in return. The net effect quite literally kills jobs. The only outlet (steam valve, if you will) to help mitigate this is the ability to use staffing agencies to screen employees and assume some of the risk that comes during those first few, trial, months. Staffing agencies have, historically, spearheaded economic growth and recession recovery. This greatly benefits our clients, our employees, and the overall economy!