Temporary Workers vs. Permanent Employees: What Kind of Help Do You Need?

Business is good.

Really good.

Almost too good.

You’re taking work home. Your team members are working overtime. You’ve tried readjusting priorities and shifting deadlines, but there’s just too much work to be done, and not enough workers.

You know it’s time to hire, but before you can start finding workers, you first need to decide what kind of help you need.

Are your hiring needs temporary or ongoing? Does your team need help just a few hours a day, or do they need full-time support? What’s your budget? Do you need to find a workaround during a hiring freeze?

The answers to these questions and more will help you decide what kind of role to hire. Let’s dive into the differences between part-time and full-time work, as well as temporary and permanent positions. Once you understand all your options, you can determine what’s right for your company.

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Part-Time vs. Full-Time Work

Part-time hours and full-time hours don’t have perfect, agreed-upon definitions. Generally, employers decide how to define part-time and full-time work, and they set their own internal policies accordingly.

For reporting purposes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines full-time workers as those who usually work 35 or more hours per week and part-time workers as those who usually work fewer than 35 hours per week.

As an employer or hiring manager, you need to decide:

  1. How many hours of work you need done in a week
  2. The best way to divide those hours among one or more people

Part-time workers are an excellent solution for businesses with fluctuating needs and seasonal demands. They’re common in businesses that operate around the clock or that serve customers daily.

Full-time workers, on the other hand, are an excellent solution for businesses with consistent workloads. They’re common in all businesses, because even those with many part-time workers still need full-time workers in management.

Part-time workers offer flexibility and lower labor costs. Full-time workers provide stability and commitment.

However, the number of hours needed per week is not your only consideration when deciding what kind of worker to hire. There’s also the question of temporary vs. permanent staff.

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Temporary Workers vs. Permanent Staff

Both part-time and full-time work can be accomplished by temporary or permanent workers.

Temp employees, often hired through staffing agencies or for specific projects, provide short-term solutions to cover sudden increases in workload, to support special projects, or to fill in for absent permanent staff. Also sometimes known as contingent workers, they can be a valuable asset when you need to ramp up quickly without committing to long-term employment.

Permanent employees, on the other hand, are typically hired with the intention of long-term employment. These employees tend to develop a deeper understanding of the company, its culture, and its objectives. With a vested interest in the company’s success, they often display a greater level of dedication and engagement, contributing to the stability and continuity of business operations.

Permanent employees are hired directly by a company. (However, staffing agencies can also find companies permanent employees.) The company handles payroll paperwork, taxes, onboarding, and more.

However, if you’re looking for temporary staff, you have multiple hiring options.

Hiring Temporary Workers (Including Independent Contractors)

Temporary workers can be staff augmentation through a staffing firm, employees, or independent contractors. For specific labor questions, an employment lawyer or accountant can better advise you. However, here’s a quick comparison of your options:

  • Staff augmentation: These are people who are employed by a staffing company like Insight Global, but who perform work for a business like yours. Your contract is with the staffing agency. The temp workers follow the schedule you set and typically use your company’s tools. You pay the staffing firm a fee, and they handle payroll paperwork, taxes, onboarding, and more.
    • Good for: When your company needs to scale quickly, or when you need to hire workers during a hiring freeze. For example, you might choose to work with Insight Global to bring on hundreds of field service engineers to kickstart operations at your newly-opened fabrication plant (fab).
  • Temporary employees: These are people employed directly by your company. You handle their onboarding, payroll, etc. They follow the schedule set by you and use your company’s tools.
    • Good for: When your company needs seasonal support. For example, you might choose to hire dozens of temporary employees for your clothing store during the holiday season.
  • Independent contractors: These are people who work for themselves. They set their own hours and use their own tools. You pay them an agreed upon rate for their services.
    • Good for: When your company needs help with a specific project, especially if it’s outside of your company’s expertise. For example, you might choose to hire an independent contractor to remodel a waiting room in a medical office.

To reiterate, temporary workers can work any range of hours, part-time or full-time. “Temporary” refers to the duration of the work, not the number of hours in a week.

So what kind of hiring solution is right for your business?

Evaluating Your Business Needs

The heart of successful hiring lies in accurately evaluating your business needs. This involves more than just filling vacancies; it’s about strategically aligning your staffing decisions with your short-term objectives and long-term vision.

Start by assessing your operational needs. Identify the tasks essential to your business and determine whether they require full-time attention on an ongoing basis, or if they can be handled by part-time or temporary staff.

Consider your financial capacity as well. While full-time and permanent employees may offer stability, they also come with higher costs. If budget constraints are a concern, part-time or temporary workers may offer the flexibility you need without breaking the bank.

Don’t forget to evaluate your growth plans. If you foresee significant growth or expansion, investing in full-time and permanent employees may be beneficial as it brings consistency and can help to shape your company culture.

But if you’re navigating through uncertain times or your business is project-based with fluctuating workloads, temporary or part-time staff could provide the adaptability you need.

Always remember that the optimal team structure is the one that best serves your business goals while considering the dynamics of your industry, the nature of your work, and the resources at your disposal.

Looking for Temporary or Permanent Staff?

Insight Global can help. Whatever your needs, we make hiring easy. Questions? Call us toll-free: 855-485-8853