Recruiting and Retention Strategies of Office Temporary Employees

An in-depth analysis of the temporary office employee industry as it pertains to recruiting and retention of those employees.

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This paper presents a detailed proposal for the recruiting and retention of temporary office workers. The writer is employed as a full time on site recruiter of temporary office workers at one of Wall Street’s top financial firms. The majority of the temporary help the writer recruits are administrative assistants and other entry level finance positions. The positions range from a couple of days to several months in time. The writer is charged with recruiting and retaining temporary workers who have the necessary skill sets and experience to perform the jobs. The writer analyzes the industry, the company history regarding temporary employees and future trends to propose methods for the purpose of recruiting and retention of those workers.




Statement of the problem

Company specific problems

Examination of other companies

Solutions for here


Temporary employees provide valuable assets to this company by providing consistent short-term capable help in all departments as needed. Temporary office workers make up the bulk of the temporary staff here, therefore this proposal will concentrate on the recruiting and retention of them and other entry level financial positions.

Temporary employees are employees who are hired for a short-term to fill a need in a company. Temporary employees are contracted and hired by temporary agencies who are responsible for recruiting, checking backgrounds, testing skill sets and paying the worker. The worker then reports to and performs job duties at client companies of the temporary agency.

“According to Adecco, the largest temporary employment agency in the world, leveraging temporary jobs to permanent assignments does work. In a study conducted in the 1990s, during an economic period comparable to 2002, 85% of temporary workers desiring full-time permanent work found those jobs within six months. While most of these were conversions in the employing companies, others did find jobs outside their temp jobs. The overall statistic is meaningful, and we anticipate that we will again see this kind of transition (Temporary Hiring Picking Up”

Temporary employees are usually well skilled as they are tested before being placed. They are trying hard to impress the company in the anticipation of finding full time work with it, so they are generally responsible, hard working and punctual. This causes employers to take them on full time which depletes the temporary agency’s pool of workers available for the upcoming assignments. Because of this cycle the recruiting and retention of temporary employees is a mainstay of the industry.

A recent study looked at statistical information regarding temporary employees and found the following:

Four out of ten contract workers are happy with their non-permanent employee status

“We were somewhat surprised to find that such a large group of temporary or contract workers actually preferred their nonpermanent employment status over permanent employment,” said George Milkovich, the Martin P. Catherwood Professor of Human Resource Studies at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. “There is this group of temporary workers who like the flexibility that goes with this sort of assignment (Forty percent of temporary workers prefer nonpermanent employment status, Cornell University study concludes”

That still means that six out of ten, more than half of the temporary workers are leaving to work for someone permanently, leaving a depletion of workers to draw from in the temporary industry.

The temporary employee market has problems according to the study. Several factors were discovered that may play a part in the exodus that is commonly seen in the industry every few months.

“The lack of benefits for temporary workers continues to be a source of great frustration. The survey found that nearly eight in 10 workers reported receiving no benefits, and nearly seven in 10 said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their benefits situation (Forty percent of temporary workers prefer nonpermanent employment status, Cornell University study concludes

“This great dissatisfaction over benefits is what makes people generally uncomfortable about temporary work,” Milkovich said. “By making benefits portable, by that I mean benefits we could carry with us from job to job, we could increase the flexibility of the workforce and make temporary work a more promising arrangement for people who desire it. Only 3% of those who reported receiving benefits indicated they received partially paid health care, while 27% received either paid vacation or paid holidays. Nine percent indicated they were receiving benefits other than paid health care, vacation and holidays (Forty percent of temporary workers prefer nonpermanent employment status, Cornell University study concludes”

Another concern according to the study is the lack of job security. One third of those in the study reported having no idea how long their current temporary position would last, or where they would be placed when it ended.

“Aside from benefits, job security was a major concern for the temporary workers surveyed. Almost one-third (32%) of those polled said they did not know how long their current job would last, while over 50% said that it is likely or very likely they would leave their current assignments within one year. This uncertainty means that temporary workers are often reading want ads, sending out resumes and talking with friends about other employment possibilities (Forty percent of temporary workers prefer nonpermanent employment status, Cornell University study concludes ”

Statement of the Problem

In this particular company there are several factors that play a part in the need for constant recruiting and retention efforts when it comes to our temporary employees. Because the company is located in the city, the cost of living is higher than other areas of the state. This means that workers have to be concerned not only with the weekly wage amount, but also that they will be able to continue working with a minimum of breaks.

In addition, this company is considered one of the top firms in the industry, which makes it a favorable resume booster. Temporary employees who can get on full time will work for a well respected company which can only help their career goals. Because of these factors there are company specific issues related to the recruiting and retention of temporary employees here.

The skill sets needed for these positions are very specific. We hire those who are proficient in Microsoft word, some spread sheets, word processing, and other things that can work well in administrative positions. In addition we have a problem with the turn around time for hiring. Managers give us very little time to find someone once they discover a need. This may be because we are an on site vendor and it is easy for them to communicate with short notice to us by stopping by or calling down the hall. This puts us in a difficult position because it takes time to do the necessary background and skill set checking before placing an employee in the position. The managers generally give us one or two days notice which puts us in a time trap. If we could recruit more employees, and more importantly retain more temporary employees we would have a larger pool of already tested and checked on employees to draw from for these positions.

The skill sets necessary for these positions are proficiency on MS Office, prior work experience as an administrative assistant in a corporate setting, and polished and professional presentation and demeanor. For entry level finance candidates, we look for undergraduates from top and reputable schools around the country whom have a good understanding of finance concepts, accounting, financial modeling, regression analysis and other analytical-type skills. Additionally, those placed at this company need to have a clear criminal background and for most positions a minimum of a Bachelors degree. Our pay rate is competitive even for this area. We generally pay a minimum of $21 an hour. We find that we lose our employees because they want a permanent position that offers benefits, or they want to work toward a specific career goal or pursue educational goals. It is not about pay, which actually would have an easier remedy. It is instead about other intangible issues that we must find a way to address if we hope to recruit and retain qualified dependable temporary employees for long-term relationships with our agency.


“Recruiters need more than just a list of job skills to find quality candidates. They need to understand your culture and environment,” says Tom Lucas, senior vice president of HR and employee relations at Adecco North America, an international employment firm headquartered in Melville, New York. Good recruiters research your work environment by asking questions and interviewing employees. Once the relationship has been established, they stay in touch, calling periodically just to chat, or to let you know they’ve found a job candidate who’d be perfect for you, even if you aren’t currently hiring. “This is a personal relationship,” he says. “You need someone whose judgment you trust, who understands you, and is looking out for your best interest (Three Ways to Build Recruiter Relationships”

Recruiting temporary employees involves several factors according to those in the industry who are successful. Several of the top agencies across the nation use advertising and bonuses to recruit new temporary employees to their firm. Providing current employees with a bonus for referring new employees works with a two pronged benefit. It provides incentive for employees to bring new blood to the firm and it provide incentive for employees to stay with the temporary agency so that they can get the bonuses.

Another method often used at temporary agencies is a sign on bonus. A financial reward is provided to any employee who signs on and works a predetermined number of hours for the company. This aids in the retention of the employees as well.

With research pointing to the lack of benefits as one of the reasons temporary employees leave for full time jobs, some agencies are beginning to offer benefits, including insurance.

‘If the staffing industry looks a little blue when it comes to health insurance, it’s because on this issue we get a little queasy. In America, employers generally open their wallets and pay health insurance premiums for their workers for five reasons (Workforce, July 2002, pp. 74-77 — Subscribe Now!

the government doesn’t do it, insurance is a lot cheaper when purchased as a group, insurance is a lot cheaper when purchased by an employer for employees (see ERISA), it is the price of admission for attracting good workers, and it is one of the few ways to compensate employees without employer or employee tax.

But I don’t have to tell most of you about these reasons, because almost all firms in our industry offer health insurance to their staff (Workforce, July 2002, pp. 74-77 — Subscribe Now! ”

Years ago temporary employees were never offered insurance, vacation or other perks that generally go along with having a full time job.

“Ironically, the industry would be a lot more profitable if it provided health care benefits. Why? It would allow us to attract and retain our most valuable employees-temporary employees (Workforce, July 2002, pp. 74-77 — Subscribe Now!

The retention economics are surprisingly simple. Let’s say that offering fully paid health insurance would allow us to retain just 5% of the 3 million temporary employees in the United States for an additional year. That’s 150,000 temporary employees at $3,000 per year for health insurance or a total cost of $400 million. Gulp. However, if we assume the average temporary employee generates $150 a week in gross profit, that’s about a $1.1 billion increase in gross profits per year. In other words, an additional $700 million would be added to the industry’s bottom line. If the nation’s staffing firms are worth five times Earnings Before Interest and Taxes, then providing health insurance would increase the value of staffing firms by $3.5 billion (Workforce, July 2002, pp. 74-77 — Subscribe Now! ”

Recognizing and rewarding hard work is also a strategy currently being utilized by some of the top staffing agencies in the world. Manpower names employee of the year at some of their offices and with that honor comes a prize.

“Leon Brown, who works with Manpower PLC, the UK’s leading recruiter of specialist, flexible and contract workforces, has been named temporary worker of the year. Leon beat over 150 temporary workers who entered the competition, set up by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) as part of Temporary Workers Week (1st-5th October).

“Leon, who receives a one-week all-inclusive holiday for two in the Caribbean, added: “I’m delighted to have received an award for doing such rewarding work. I’m also pleased that my teammates at Manpower will be able to enjoy £1,000 of Red Letter Day vouchers and six bottles of champagne (LEON BROWN IS ONE IN A MILLION

Manpower employee is temporary worker of the year”

Three other Manpower employees were highly commended:

Michael Sage – an office support worker from Manpower Harrogate

Damian Keyse – an industrial worker from Manpower Glaxo SmithKline, Coleford

David Clarke – a driver from Lutterworth Driving hub (LEON BROWN IS ONE IN A MILLION

Manpower employee is temporary worker of the year ”

This encourages employees to stay with the agency and try to win one of the awards being offered as well as gain recognition for a job well done.

“Manpower is a leading recruiter of specialist, flexible and contract workforces, employing around 100,000 people each year. Manpower’s success is based on recognition of the contribution of individuals and the need to invest in people to encourage them to build a long-term career with the company (LEON BROWN IS ONE IN A MILLION

Manpower employee is temporary worker of the year”

(New Survey Reports On Wages And Benefits For Temporary Help Services Workers

One study found that several temporary agencies now offer benefits for their workers. The benefits range from paid vacations to medical and dental coverage for the employees and their families.


The information provided by the research has allowed this company to put together a solution package that will hopefully improve the recruiting and retention statistics at this company. We have examined several areas of interest and believe this comprehensive package of ideas will provide the foundation and strength that we need to maintain a large employee base to draw from.

The first thing we are going to do is provide a sign on bonus. We have researched the company statistics and found that we usually lose employees between the third and sixth month of the contract. For this reason we are providing a larger bonus than others in the industry may offer but it won’t be offered until the employee has been with the company for a year. At that point they will receive a one month bonus check, half to be paid at the first of the 12th month and half to be paid at the end of the 12th month. Employees will be aware of the coming bonus from the day they sign on. We may also use it as a recruiting tool to attract new employees to the agency.

The next thing we are going to do is begin offering benefits. Our temporary employees make friends with their co-workers and co-mingle at lunch and breaks. They are hearing about the medical and vacation benefits the company offers the full time workers. While we cannot offer the same package, we already pay more than the company pays for its hourly employees, so we are going to begin offering benefits that are less comprehensive but fair given the higher rate of pay that our employees enjoy.

We will offer two weeks paid vacation for each year of service. It will be accrued every six months and be able to be taken at those intervals or rolled over to the following time period.

We are also going to look into offering medical coverage. We have contacted several companies and sent them our statistical data so that they can prepare a quote for us to choose from. Employees of full time positions often stay with company rather than lose their medical coverage for their families. We believe if we offer coverage as well it will help recruit and more importantly retain our workers.

We will pay the entire premium for the employee and they will pay an additional fee for their families to join and be covered. We are looking for a company that can provide coverage without any medical questions, but will have to see how the companies underwriter staffs such as ours before making our decision about who to offer coverage through.

A third incentive that we will begin to offer is education. We are putting together a program to reimburse tuition and books the semester following the completion of the classes. This delay will hopefully help retain the workers so that they can be reimbursed. We will pay for any class that will improve their ability in their job or their career.


It is the hope of this office that the above solutions will assist in the recruiting and retention of our temporary staff so that we do not have the high turn over rate that we currently have.


Workforce, July 2002, pp. 74-77 — Subscribe Now!

Offering Insurance Is the Key To Healthy Profits and Retention

Three Ways to Build Recruiter Relationships

Temporary Hiring Picking Up


Manpower employee is temporary worker of the year

New Survey Reports On Wages And Benefits For Temporary Help Services Workers

Forty percent of temporary workers prefer nonpermanent employment status, Cornell University study concludes