Modern Management of Temporary Workers

Remote digital processes ease remote hiring and onboarding

Manual workers together in a warehouse

Many organizations rely on temporary workers to meet staffing needs. Seasonal hiring is common in retail and other industries that experience periodic surges in business. For these companies to operate smoothly, there has to be an effective way to manage the waves of workforce expansion and contraction.

A contingent workforce is common and integral to organizations with decentralized facilities and regular maintenance needs, such as industrial manufacturers and oil companies. The responsibility to recruit, manage, and ensure temporary workers are productive, often falls on HR and procurement teams. Hiring, onboarding, training and effectively communicating with temporary employees is critical to business success. 

If employee workflows are not managed efficiently, it can create a slew of administrative headaches. Without the right tools and technologies to streamline the work, HR professionals will spend far too many hours on paper-laden manual tasks. These inefficiencies limit the productivity of HR teams and reduce the value of contract employees by delaying start dates and contributions.

Effectively managing temporary workers during a global pandemic brings a new set of challenges. Never has it been more important to prioritize employee health and safety. Respecting physical distance means the hiring, onboarding and training functions that normally take place in person, now need to be executed remotely to accommodate an employee base that is either entirely or predominantly remote. 

With the right digital tools, HR functions can be modernized to bring both temporary and permanent employees aboard quickly, effectively, and safely.

Modern drivers of temporary work

Under normal circumstances, industries that frequently rely on temporary workers can forecast workforce requirements. Uncertainties in today’s business landscape, however, bring less predictable staffing needs so organizations need more flexible HR processes to keep up with changing labor demands. 

Here are some of the most common reasons today’s organizations hire temporary workers to support their businesses.

Surge hiring for COVID-19

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of essential service workers. Healthcare organizations have ramped up their workforces significantly to manage the surge in patient care. Grocery stores have extended hours of operation so more front-line workers are needed. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand-sanitizer manufacturers working overtime have hired more people. While unfortunately many businesses have shut down temporarily, others are busier than ever. 

As more brick-and-mortar businesses begin to open up again, there’s a need to hire (or rehire) employees in industries like restaurants, retail and entertainment. The businesses that will emerge as the most successful during this period will be the ones that can hire and onboard employees efficiently – remotely. There’s also a need to communicate effectively with every employee about workplace safety procedures and compliance updates. 

Shelter-in-place orders and ongoing social distancing guidelines have completely restructured the economy. Essential services in many industries are looking to streamline the hiring of contract workers to keep their customers supplied and their employees safe. 

Support for service & maintenance

Some organizations routinely hire and manage a workforce that is largely contractors. In the manufacturing sector, for example, the number of contractors required depends on production targets and maintenance needs. Industrial and chemical manufacturing, oil & gas, automotive and construction companies all have to rapidly adjust staffing to match demand.

The same workforce flexibility is critical for businesses that fulfill maintenance or service requests for customers. Staffing needs are determined by the volume of requests, so a disruptive event like a global pandemic can cause procurement and HR teams to shift into overdrive to fulfill customer needs. Organizations in industries like utilities, telecommunications, and staffing are under a lot of pressure to keep customers satisfied and maximize service uptime.

Demand for contractors

Today’s business landscape is undergoing an incredible shift, with spend on employees decreasing and spend on external resources increasing. In fact, employees now represent only 58% of workforce spend, with the other 42% going to external resources. Modern organizations are focusing on flexibility by ramping up reliance on independent contractors, freelance workers, service providers and consulting firms. 

Increased utilization of these outside workers requires HR and procurement teams to develop reliable digital solutions for shifting staff workflows.

Modern management of an external workforce

Modern HR and procurement teams rely on modern, digital tools to manage several important processes related to the external workforce. Below are some of the common issues associated with temporary remote workers, and solutions that can help.

Remote hiring/rehiring.  Electronic Signatures are a simple, secure way to contract external workers remotely. E-signatures can also be used to easily rehire furloughed employees by sending recall offer letters using customized, prebuilt HR templates.

Digital onboarding.  New employees can e-sign onboarding paperwork from anywhere, on any device. Many companies use ID Verification to ensure a compliant digital experience when completing paperwork like tax and insurance enrollment forms.

Communication and acknowledgement for policy updates.  As organizations evolve to create safe, productive work environments, employees need up-to-date information on changing policies and procedures. Bulk send distributes the same document to a large number of individual recipients, with each document individually personalized. Employees acknowledge receipt of the update, making it easy to manage ongoing company communications. Click (a simple, one click “I agree” contract) allows capture of employee consent to new policies – handy for those returning to the office or for those borrowing company facilities to work from home. 

Contract negotiation and management.  Human Resources has never been busier – whether rehiring temporarily furloughed employees, extending offers to outside contractors, or unfortunately, reducing the workforce, managing that paperwork is challenging. HR teams need to be able to act on, process and sign volumes of contracts with a level of efficiency. Insight, smart contract analysis, is invaluable in understanding exposure and risk in employment and procurement agreements.

Partner integrations.  Look for digital solutions to make work agreements as efficient as possible to execute. Integrations with your existing foundational tools like Workday, Oracle HCM, SAP SuccessFactors, where you can pull data from one application into the other, streamlines workforce contracting.

Automation and digitization are addressing today’s most pressing HR challenges. New solutions that work together with your existing software, like e-signature for contract routing and signing, and bulk distribution of important communications, help ease the heavy workload HR now faces. Modern HR professionals leverage digital tools to negotiate, conduct remote hiring, onboard, broadcast policy updates and ensure compliance – all while juggling the constantly changing demands of an uncertain work landscape.

HR's Guide to Digital Hiring and Onboarding is your roadmap to remote HR operations.