What to consider when choosing temporary staff over permanent hires

By Lee Morris

- Last updated on GMT

What to consider when choosing temporary staff over permanent hires

Related tags: Employment

With the summer holiday season upon us, Lee Morris, director of Goldstar Recruitment, looks at what operators should consider when choosing whether to hire temporary or permanent staff for their business.

In the hospitality industry many operators are known to use a mix of permanent and temporary staff in their business. Doing this enables a business to facilitate seasonal peaks and troughs by effectively planning resource and employing accordingly. 

However, it’s often debatable whether being on a temporary or permanent contract has an effect on an employee’s output. Here we look at the pros and cons​ of each employment option, helping employers choose the best solution to meet their business’ needs. 

Permanent employment - the pros and the cons: ​ 

A permanent member of staff has job security, long-term prospects and financial stability so inevitably these factors will encourage them to feel more motivated to perform and do well than if they viewed the job merely as a stopgap. 

The notion is that a permanent member of staff buys into the company’s goals and values, aligning with the mission in order to progress through the ranks and develop their skills. The prospects of developing a career, not only within an organisation but also in the hospitality industry generally, can often spur permanent members of staff to exceed expectations, meet targets and ultimately perform to a high standard, which is great for the employer. 

Being permanent can also help an employee build relationships with other stakeholders in the business and become experts at what they do. They care more about their employer, they want to learn more, do more and they want the company to succeed. This can cement a person’s loyalty and commitment to a role.

However, theory doesn’t always play out in practice and in some cases temporary staff can outperform permanent staff. 

Temporary workers are not consumed by office politics or the negative impact of poor management. They know that they have a light at the end of a tunnel, a way out, because they’re not wedded to a situation.

Some temporary employees are motivated by being part of a short term project, event or season so their objectives are to fulfil each job opportunity they’re given in order to secure the next gig.

Temporary employment – the pros and the cons: 

Temporary support staff that work in restaurants can often end their shift with a more gratuities than contracted staff do. Why? Because unlike their permanent counterparts, they don’t know when the next pay cheque is coming so when they work, they work hard. For operators in the food and beverage sector this is great because it means a high level of service will be deployed during busy periods when temporary staff are brought in.

Often it is the case that temporary workers are looking for job security so once they are hired temporarily they want to prove themselves in the job and strive for an extended contract, to such an extent that they outperform permanent staff.

On the other side of the argument, temporary staff may cut corners and take short cuts to get recognition. For example, a chef may measure his or her success by quantity rather than quality, which could impact the business. Quick service may look good on the covers but will diners eat there again?

With this type of employment employers are also relatively exposed. Temporary staff may be required for a high profile event, big conference or a corporate function but when employers have no relationship with their temporary staff and the temps do not have any loyalty to their agency or the company, there is a risk that the phone could ring on the morning of the event with a poor excuse for absenteeism. Or, worse, a temp just doesn’t arrive for work.

Whether there is a difference in attitude and performance between temporary and permanent staff will continue to be a subjective opinion. Ultimately employers should remember that the key benefit of temporary staff is the flexibility to adjust staffing levels at short notice to suit business needs.

Whilst there is a risk of poor excuses and a lower level of performance, temps can bring a boost of enthusiasm and excitement to the table, which can help spur on permanent members of the team.

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