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6. Checklist of Questions for Vetting a Staffing Agency
Staffing solutions such as staffing agencies and staffing marketplaces help you fill the gaps in your schedule and continue operating at optimal levels. If you have a cancellation or are just experiencing a rush of customers and are in need of additional support, agencies can be a great resource. Using a staffing agency can help prevent compliance and employee morale issues. Instead of overworking your team to meet demands, consider reaching out to your local staffing support resources. Balancing your schedule with your in-house employees and temp staff has even been shown to decrease turnover – especially in shift-based industries such as healthcare and hospitality.
Okay, so you decided to consider using a staffing agency or temp staffing marketplace, now what? Well, we’re here to help you make an informed decision. You should start off by making sense of the types of temporary staffing solutions out there, their modes of operation, and their billing rates. Picking the right staffing agency or temp staffing marketplace is crucial for your company’s success!
How does a Temp Staffing Agency Work?
A temporary staffing agency recruits temp staff on behalf of companies that need shifts filled. As a shift manager, you will need to contact the staffing agency of your choice and give them details on the shift(s) you need coverage for. You will need to provide information such as the number of staff needed, positions of the shifts you need to be covered, duration of the shifts (i.e. work dates and start/end times), rate of pay, and job responsibilities. The staffing agency will then proceed to create a job description and advertise it to suitable candidates that could fill your shifts.
Some agencies reach out to staff personally, or to select people from a roster of temp workers that they know are available. Most temp staffing agencies will in fact place candidates that they know are available in the shifts that they need to be filled – without double-checking with the staff. Others may post weekly schedules for temp staff to choose from.
As a business seeking temp staff, you often do not get the chance to pick specific workers within an agency’s talent pool. This leaves you with little control over who is representing your brand. Factors such as the candidate’s personality fit with your company, along with whether their skill set aligns with your current needs, will more often than not be overlooked by the staffing agency.
What is described above is a very traditional staffing agency model. Most head office employees at the agency are only available to take on staffing requests from businesses during working hours (9 – 5). This is mostly fine, however, in industries such as healthcare and hospitality, where staffing needs are sporadic and can come up at all hours of the night, staffing requests from shift managers are often left unanswered by traditional agencies until operating hours.
How does a Temp Staffing Marketplace Work?
Now, let’s explore a less traditional model of staffing. Unlike a staffing agency, a temp staffing marketplace connects employers and staff directly through an online portal. Shift managers fill their staffing needs by posting their available shifts through a digital platform. Temp staff are then able to directly pick up these posted shifts or be requested for a specific job, eliminating the back and forth that comes with traditional agencies.
These platforms range in their capabilities and processes. Some are completely unstructured and give businesses access to a talent pool that is uncurated, unvetted, and most often, unreliable. Others are very structured and guide businesses through a niche set of workers who have their credentials on file, and even reliability scores. These temp staffing solutions are often categorized into uncurated and curated marketplaces.
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What is an Uncurated Staffing Marketplace?
When using an uncurated staffing marketplace, you are working directly with the service providers themselves and there is no guarantee that these staff will even show up (or complete the work). Essentially, you are left to your own devices when sourcing staff. Most of these platforms will use ratings and filters to help employers better find what they are looking for. Some will allow you to interview candidates prior to engaging in the work.
Although this can help you better understand whether the candidate would be a good fit for your organization, this approach does not scale when you have an ongoing need for temp staff or need to hire in bulk. An example of such a marketplace would be Outsourcely.
What is a Curated Staffing Marketplace?
A curated staffing marketplace is one where the platform’s administrators screen both vendors and service providers before any interaction is made between them on the platform. Vendors are often screened for authenticity and a common code of ethics, while service providers are vetted in the form of interviews, credential verification, reference checks, and much more.
It is important to note that these marketplaces are not a free-for-all for users. They are required to go through critical steps when being onboarded in order to post job requests to be filled or pick up shifts to work. Although the process requires some effort, both employers and job seekers are often much more satisfied due to the enhanced service provided to them at the end of the day. In industries where the majority of the temp staff needed are shift workers, a curated marketplace is highly preferred. Hyre is an example of a curated temp staffing marketplace for shift-based industries such as healthcare and hospitality. WRKs is another example in the construction industry.
What Kinds of Workers Can Staffing Agencies Help You Find?
Staffing agencies specialize in different industries. Find a niche agency in your industry to best fill the roles that you are seeking. As a comprehensive workforce management tool, Hyre also partners with a variety of agencies to help employers fill their industry-specific staffing requests. Our goal is to empower employers to manage their staffing, as a whole, as efficiently as possible. Whether it be their own in-house staff, temp labor, and/or staffing agencies. Thus, we’ve created a platform that acts as an internal scheduling platform for employers, with the added bonus of connecting them to a curated staffing marketplace of talent (thoroughly vetted by Hyre) and a curated marketplace of staffing agencies.
Our agency partners range from healthcare agencies to logistics agencies, but one thing remains constant… we thoroughly vet them all as well. The following will give you some insight into the types of workers that you can expect to find when using different staffing agencies.
1. Healthcare Staffing Agency
Healthcare staff is an umbrella term for all staff that work in healthcare, which can range from client care coordinators to cleaners. Although a healthcare staffing agency may include a variety of positions such as Personal Support Workers, nurses, and even doctors, it is often recommended that you develop relationships with a few agencies who are even more focused and only provide specific types of temp workers.
Candidates that interact with patients require strong communication and interpersonal skills. However, all candidates in a healthcare environment must be detail-oriented and reliable in order to maintain a safe experience for patients. For healthcare workers, in particular, it is important that a temp staffing agency or marketplace has a vetting program in place to adequately assess candidates. Not all staffing agencies have a solid process for reviewing candidates so we urge you to be wary of those who promise the world.
2. PSW Staffing Agency / Caregiving Staffing Agency
If you are looking for Personal Support Workers (PSWs), you need candidates that understand basic emergency techniques (standard first aid and CPR-C) and have strong communication and interpersonal skills. They need patience and good fitness levels in order to act as caregivers.
Support workers must demonstrate compassion and have a flexible approach to fulfilling their duties. Depending on the type of care that they are providing, PSWs may plan and prepare meals, provide bedside and personal care, help individuals get dressed and undressed, and much more. If you do not require personal care with physical contact, a Home Support Worker (HSW) could be a more suitable fit. Make sure that the staffing agency intimately understands your needs before entering into a relationship with them.
3. Nurse Staffing Agency / Nursing Agency
Staffing agencies that provide nurses must have a good understanding of the nursing profession. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPN) hold two-year nursing diplomas from accredited colleges. They must complete the national licensing exam before beginning a career in healthcare. Their duties include conducting physical exams, providing counselling, and coordinating with other healthcare professionals.
Nurses must be good listeners in order to analyze the physical and emotional needs of their patients. Nurses typically work 12-hour shifts for three days a week and require stamina, attention to detail, empathy, and problem-solving skills. Since these specifications are very specific to nurses, it is always a good idea to ask the staffing agency if they have an RN or RPN on staff who helps them with recruitment and screening.
4. Hospitality Staffing Agency
Hospitality temp staffing agencies typically service hotels, banquet halls, catering companies, restaurants, etc. They provide their clients with staff in a variety of roles including, but not limited to, chef assistants, bartenders, wait staff, dishwashers, and cleaners. The turnover rate in hospitality is particularly high (around 75%) which significantly increases the demand for temp staff in this industry.
High quality staffing agencies in this industry will assess their candidates’ attitude prior to hiring them. A good candidate requires a high level of customer service skills and formal training from an event venue. The ability to multitask, work well in a team, and adapt to changing circumstances is crucial. Tasks often need to be completed efficiently in order to create a smooth experience for guests.
We find that many hospitality staffing agencies lack insight into their staffs’ on the job performance and so we highly recommend that you ask them how they track staff mishaps as well as positive experiences. At Hyre, we found it vital that all staff are rated on their performance after each shift. Unlike at a staffing agency, staff are accountable for their poor performance on a shift and rewarded for providing a positive experience to guests/clients.
5. Industrial and Warehouse Staffing Agency
The staffing agencies servicing this industry provide their clients with general laborers, order pickers, forklift operators, woodworkers, etc. The requirements for a temp worker in the industrial and warehouse industry vary. The ideal candidate has experience working in a warehouse. For most positions, the ability to work on one’s feet and carry objects weighing up to 80 lbs is necessary. A high school diploma/GED and forklift certifications are typically preferred. There can be a great deal of legal paperwork and qualifications to go over, which, luckily, agencies take care of.
6. Construction Worker Staffing Agencies
Construction workers must pass a series of health, safety, and environmental tests before they begin their careers. There are theory and practical tests to ensure candidates contribute to a safe working environment. Common qualifications and certificates can be found on the Canadian Construction Association website. The best staffing agencies will sort through their candidates’ qualifications and certifications in order to make sure that employers are all set when hiring a construction worker from their talent pool.
Beyond the staffing agencies listed above, there are several niche agencies that exist in the market. For instance, there are agencies that help recruit cabin crew members for different airlines. Some of these agencies focus on specific verticals like Aeronautics, Oil & Gas, Mining, Entertainment. The common denominator is matching the right staff to the right role and organization.
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Checklist of Questions for Vetting a Staffing Agency
Here are questions to ask yourself when considering a new staffing agency. Depending on your business, you may have different values and expectations from an agency. Make sure you find a fit that is right for you.
- Does the staffing agency have the talent your business needs?
- Does the staffing agency have specific experience in your industry?
- What is the agency’s turnaround time?
- What is the timeframe in which this agency can accommodate requests for temp staff?
- How much commission does this specific agency take out of a temp staff’s wage?
Note: They might not tell you this. Consider that, in order to cover operating costs, most traditional agencies take upwards of 40% out of a temp staff’s wage.
- What is the agency’s policy for temp-to-hire situations?
- Are there positive reviews for this agency, both from businesses and temp staff?
If you do source temp staff from an agency, remember to reflect on your experience.
- Does the agency properly screen candidates and ensure that their staffs’ skill sets, workplace attitudes, and interpersonal skills are top-notch?
- How long does it take for this agency to get back to you once you submit a request?
- How accommodating is this agency for specific requests?
- Do you trust that this agency has your best interest at heart?
Doing this research can feel daunting, especially when you don’t want to commit to a single agency, but you also don’t have time to communicate back and forth with multiple ones.
That’s why Hyre offers a free temp staffing marketplace that allows you to engage with different staffing agencies along with Hyre’s own pool of qualified temp workers, without back and forth communication. Temp staff opt-in for shifts that they are eligible for so that you don’t have to wait to get your shifts filled. Temp staff are rated after every work shift and their qualifications are constantly reviewed by Hyre’s administrators.
For an even more enhanced experience with Hyre, try our combo: employee scheduling and staffing platform.
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