Fixing the leak or plugging the hole

What makes more sense – a permanent or temporary staffing solution?
By Vanessa Rodziewicz
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/15/2015

Take your pick — you can have a workforce comprised of part-time, temporary employees or full-time, permanent employees. However, you must be strategic about your hiring practices and consider whether you’re willing to plug the hole with temporary staffing or fix the leak with a permanent placement.

Temporary staffing benefits include:

Providing an immediate solution: Is there an opportunity that requires additional support for a specific project and a brief timeline? Temporary options allow an employer to bring the employee in for a set period, rather than permanently adding to its headcount when it’s not prepared to expand.

Being able to temporarily test a role: Hiring a temporary employee is a chance for both parties to test out the role. Employers are not committing to hiring people permanently and can see where they fit into the bigger picture of the company and whether or not to make room for them later on.

Staying in control: An employer can control costs by controlling who it brings onboard, and it can control headcount to reflect workflow. And if it’s controlling the talent in its workforce for periods of peak traffic and ramp-ups — such as accounting month-end crunch periods — it’s thinking proactively and planning funds and the workforce appropriately. 

Having feedback and internal reflection: Having temporary employees gives the employer an opportunity to find out what they like about their role, and to gain insight on what could be improved about the team and the company. Constructive criticism should be welcomed from all team members including new additions, and especially during exit interviews. 

Quick turnaround times: Temporary employment enables companies to hire and lay off people much faster than the lengthier processes required for full-time roles. Working with tight timelines? Temporary staffing can get a candidate in and out in no time. If an employer is looking to recruit for a long-term fit but needs to place someone in the meantime, temporary staffing is a logical solution.

However, temporary staffing can come with its share of downsides, which include: 

Repetitiveness: The process of having to constantly train to fill a role can be tiring and time-consuming. Temporary staffing can become an endless cycle of training, so an employer should have a routine to train faster and more efficiently each time.

Uncertainty: An employer is taking a gamble with each new addition to its team — but if it builds a rapport with a recruiter and company it trusts, the right kind of candidates will be provided. 

When it comes to permanent staffing, the benefits are:

Planning for the future with an investment: In spending the time and resources to acquire a full-time candidate, an employer has an investment with the potential to grow. This planning, when done with succession planning in mind, will grow the middle management workforce.

Changing the face and feel of a company: The right leader can impact levels of morale and engagement, changing the face and feel of a workforce. Keep this in mind when searching for a permanent addition to the team. With every hire comes the opportunity to add an element that has been missing. 

Having control over the workforce: When someone is hired on a permanent contract, there is greater control of the workforce and less worry about constantly recruiting to fill contracts that are going to come to an end. Employment isn’t guaranteed but if someone signs a long-term contract or full-time permanent placement, constant turnover won’t be a concern.  

Having a committed workforce: People looking for stability sign contracts for the long-term — committing to the employer and the role at hand. They’re aligned with the company’s goals and will work hard toward its initiatives because they’re passionate about establishing roots there. 

Meeting long-term goals: Big strategy changes are easier to implement when staff are onboard to help transition a team. Permanent placement solutions bring star performers to spearhead long-term objectives, helping to make these strategic visions a reality. 

Hiring a jack of all trades: Instead of checking off just one item from the staff checklist, invest the time and resources into finding a candidate who checks every item on the list. Covering the bases allows an employer to secure someone who will satisfy all of its needs.

Despite its advantages, the negatives of permanent placement include:

A potential hire being a costly mistake: The turnover costs of a bad hire can be high, so it’s about finding a recruiter who knows what you’d like to see so they can find a candidate who is passionate and qualified.  

Making a more risky decision: Permanent is a high-risk, high-reward scenario because an employer is getting top-tier talent that it can invest in to build the company — but if the recruit doesn’t work out, it’s back to the drawing board. 

Using a lot more time and money: Time and money go into recruitment and management, and top-tier candidates are likely to require larger salaries. But, in the end, it is money worth spending if they add significant value to a team.

Vanessa Rodziewicz is managing director at Adecco Professional in Toronto. For more information, visit

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