From Temp to Perm OnDeck Blog

From Temp to Perm? How and When to Do it Right?

Should You Bring Your Temporary Employee on Full-Time?

Hiring temporary employees is a natural course for many small businesses during the busier seasons. Temporary employees come in many shapes, sizes, and with different expertise. The most common reasons to bring on a temporary employee include: college interns on summer break, to have an extra hand during the busy season, or to bring an expert who you only need for a limited time. These employees can be crucial to business growth when you aren’t the certain you’ll need their help once the busy season winds down.

Another great way to utilize temporary workers as a small business is to use that time as an audition. Particularly in a small business, every employee matters and every person can affect the productivity and company culture (positively or negatively). It can be overwhelming to commit to a full-time employee from a simple interview. Many businesses large and small bring on employees with a three-month “trial period” to make sure you get what you need from that person. This is common for small businesses in general, and for very specialized roles in both small and large companies. The lack of immediate commitment can ease your worries and allow you to speed up your hiring process.

At OnDeck we often bring on temporary employees when we have a need for talent, and we don’t yet know how long a project will last. My colleague (and a true all-star) Chris Carmena started as a temp, so I asked him his thoughts on the subject, to get the employee perspective:

I was hired as a temp because the business had a seasonal need for my skills and was unsure if they would need to keep me on after that period of time. The one piece of advice I have for employers it to be transparent about the process. OnDeck was honest with me from the beginning, kept me in the loop about the process, and managed my expectations of being brought on full-time.

How do you know if you should keep on a temporary employee?

Brian Solomon, a People Operations Manager at OnDeck, developed four points to help you evaluate if you should make a temporary employee a full-time offer.

1. It’s simply the natural move to make?

If the temporary employee has performed so well and is clearly a natural fit for your organization, that the fact s/he was a temp/seasonal employee is moot. They belong working in your organization, and both parties know it.

2. Does s/he outperform current full-time team members?

If your temporary/seasonal worker demonstrates performance or potential above that of your current full-time workforce, it probably makes sense to convert your temporary worker and replace one of your full-time workers with the better talent.

3. Did you underestimated the needed temporary period?

It’s possible that the scope of work you planned for the temporary worker turned out to be much less than reality. The truth is, your busy season didn’t actually slow down, or you experienced some unexpected attrition of your full-time staff. Time to lock up your temporary workers as full-timers.

4. Can s/he give a fresh perspective?

You’ve realized the creativity from a temporary worker has led to fresh ideas or innovative solutions to your business problems. You’d like your temporary worker to stay on full-time and see their ideas through completion and how they add value to the organization.

No matter your reason for bringing a temporary worker on, there may be some employees that stand out, and you’ll consider keeping them on full-time. These guidelines aren’t the end all, be all of navigating your experience with your temporary employees. Hopefully, you’ll have an easier time figuring out when to bring on a temp, deciding who or when to offer a full-time position, and how to manage their expectations.