I do not consider myself an expert on the Staffing Industry; however, I do bring significant credibility to the subject in that I was the owner of a staffing company for sixteen years and prior to that worked as a Human Resource Director for a manufacturing company that used temporary help. My background as a user and provider gives me a unique prospective from both sides of the desk, allowing me to provide a clear look at how it works and the best way to approach the use of temporary help.

About the Staffing Industry

I will not bore you with the history of the Staffing Industry.  What I will do, however, is bring you up to date as to where the industry has arrived in terms of its ability to meet the varied and often complex employment issues of modern day business.  Today’s staffing companies, for the most part, have evolved into well-managed businesses, specializing in employment issues.  Their staff is well trained in employment law and understands the challenges involved in achieving high standards in meeting the staffing needs of their clients.  They are certified professionals operating within policies and procedures that keep them in compliance with local, state, and federal regulatory requirements.  They are members of state and national associations, such as the American Staffing Association, that provide industry training, standards of conduct and ethics, legislative awareness, and an abundance of helpful resources.  Of course, there are exceptions, and like all other industries, there are those companies who operate in ways that discredit  the industry.  Steer clear of these companies.

Selecting The Right Staffing Company

I can clearly recall many of my early sales calls as a staffing company owner.  I was somewhat frustrated and confused that most of the companies (temporary users) I called on seemed interested only in what rate I charged and often presented me with a list of demands including: disclaimers, hold harmless and indemnification agreements, and requests for being added as an additional insured on my liability and worker’s compensation insurance policy.  Although these were legitimate issues, the companies seemingly failed to realize or understand the concept of co-employment as it relates to the use of temporary employees.  More specifically, some believed they had no responsibility/liability for their actions involving temporary employees.  I often wondered if they realized or understood the connection between a staffing company conducting their business activities in compliance with all regulatory requirements and the results it would have in limiting their overall exposure to risk and liability involving the use of temporary workers.

I knew, as do most staffing companies, that there are challenges and statutory requirements unique to the staffing industry that our clients don’t normally deal with that must be communicated, understood, and complied with to provide for the overall protection of both client and staffing provider.  It is extremely important that supervisors and managers of client companies clearly understand and adhere to these requirements.  I mention this only to make the point that staffing companies, if allowed to do so, can be a source of valuable information and training for the staff of their clients.  Take advantage of this.  Better than that, insist on it.  In a perfect world, staffing companies should be considered as an extension of your Human Resource Department, not just a provider of warm bodies or an adversary.  Embrace them as a partner, help them to succeed, and you will benefit greatly in return.  I encourage you to thoroughly interview and select a staffing company that has a proven record of good service, that is well capitalized, with ample support and resources, a trained/certified staff, and policies and procedures in place to assure a hiring process free of illegal and/or discriminatory practices.  They should have in place modern technology providing for accuracy, consistency, and reliability in the processes they use to properly manage and select qualified employees for placement at client locations.  Their policies and practices should provide for compliance with all Federal and State laws and regulations.

Don’t expect to build a good partnership with a mediocre or bad partner.

This is part (1) of a (4) part article.