1. For project work. Assigning full time staff to a project (a) is sometimes difficult; (b) can cause problems in the role you take them from; and (c) can create issues at the end of the project if there is no new role available. Hence using a contracted solution works well.
2. Work with an uncertain future. It might be an initiative with promise, a pilot of a new line of business or any “high risk” venture. Companies don’t want to risk having their employees left with no job if the initiative gets canned!
3. Filling in for staff who are away … maternity leave, sick leave, leaves of absence are just some examples.
4. Filling in the role while you look for the permanent person … sometimes that “stand in” person becomes the permanent person, and sometimes you just need an “interim manager” while you find the perfect candidate for the full time role!
5. You may need someone with a very specific skill set … that doesn’t exist within your organization … but you don’t need them forever!
6. You may have need of a “non partisan” opinion from an expert … someone with no political ties inside the company.
7. You may have money for one headcount, but that headcount needs to have different skills at different times … three months of logistics skills around the holiday season, three months of financial skills around year end closing; and other skills the rest of the year. Sounds like three different three month contracts to me!
8. Knowledge transfer. You need to get your employees up to speed on a new system, technology, process etc. You bring in the expert to work with them through a transition period.
9. Cost containment. Contractors are often a more cost effective solution than a full time employee. When you factor in the cost of hiring, career & HR management , training, loaded benefits, pension costs and the potential of severance costs a contractor is often a great answer.
10. Opportunity cost. For many companies the cost of not advancing a project or other agenda is far greater than the cost associated with bringing in contract help. If it needs to get done and you don’t have the resources on staff, then bring in contract help!
Contractors and temporary staff hit the ground running and are only paid for the time that they are working as opposed to full time staff who might be waiting for a project, on training, on leave or any number of non-productive activities. The client does not need to make a long term commitment to the contractor or temp (unless they want to), does not need to use valuable management time handling their career/performance/and other HR issues. When they are no longer needed, they leave, with no severance or other issues.
Contractors and temporary employees, when used as a strategic part of a talent strategy, might represent a small percentage of a company headcount … but the flexibility they provide is priceless!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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