Proper training can help avert
tragic consequences. OSHA recommends that staffing agencies provide general safety training and that
“host” employers educate workers
about the dangers specific to their
worksites. The ASA provides webi-nars, best-practices information,
peer networking and other educational materials to promote safety,
For some HR professionals using
staffing agencies, one of the biggest
headaches is dealing with no-shows.
At the rental car company where
she used to work, Ivey recalls planning for a crush of customers on
the weekend of a golf tournament.
The agency promised 75 workers
but only 50 came, so she ended up
having to pay her staff overtime.
“I have been left in the lurch—
I can’t tell you how many
times—because we didn’t
have enough boots on
the ground,” Ivey says.
HR manager at
Co., a hunting
near Memphis, Tenn.,
has experienced a similar
problem. With many warehouses and more than 240 staffing agencies in the area, workers job-hop without worrying
about repercussions if they don’t show up for work.
“We have bred a monster here,” Taylor says. “They can
leave you tomorrow and go work somewhere else for 5 cents
About 37 percent of staffing agency clients said they
have been negatively affected by “ghost bookings,” which
occur when the agency promises to fill an order before it
has the workers lined up, according to a 2012 buyer survey
by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA). (The figure is a proxy
for no-shows because clients likely wouldn’t know about a
ghost booking unless the workers didn’t arrive to the job.)
The problem was even more pronounced in the energy and
chemical industries, in which 53 percent of clients said it
was an issue, and in the tech and telecom sectors, in which
48 percent cited it.
Staffing agencies also don’t always screen workers for
soft skills, Taylor notes. She now uses staffing agencies only
as a last resort, preferring to hire workers directly for the
peak summer season. “I can screen better and be a little more
picky,” she says. In doing so, she has brought turnover down
from 400 percent when using staffing agencies to 3 percent.
Taylor and her staff use their connections to other managers in town to suss out whether applicants have a good
work record. She also partners with local schools to locate
When she worked for Toys “R” Us, she had trouble keeping all 1,000 temps through the last days of the Christmas
rush. She partly solved the problem by entering the names
of those who worked through Christmas Eve into a raffle
with $200,000 in prizes.
The Price Tag
Steep and sometimes confusing pricing for temps is another
common HR complaint. At previous jobs, Taylor retained
what staffing agencies call “temporary to permanent” workers—people who start out as temps but might be hired as
do you currently
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What is your
can you get an
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scores from clients
Source: Inavero Inc.
WHAT TO ASK
Before signing a contract with a staffing agency, ask the following questions:
the drug test