Testing the Waters

Nov 07, 2014 at 09:50 am by Staff

A lot of medical facilities and local practices have started getting busier, so they’re using temporary workers as a means to feel out staffing levels, and as they see it’s sustainable, they’re converting those people over to permanent hires.

“Test the Water First” is the old adage for moving forward with caution. With the rising cost of hiring healthcare workers, why would you take the plunge without first testing the waters? Healthcare industry observers say the recent temp hiring upswing could reflect an improving economy. With the popularity and staying power of flexible work arrangements, employers need to stay current with the needs of today’s work force.

While bringing in a new hire on a Temp-to-Perm contract is foreign to a lot of practices, the benefits are numerous. Liability insurance during the term of the contract is covered by the staffing source along with Workers Compensation. This elevates your liability during the training process, while you are still evaluating whether or not you hired a Chatty Kathy or perfect fit. Most Temp-to Perm contracts are thirteen weeks. In thirteen weeks you have an abundance of time to critique personal habits, ability to learn, job performance skills and actual fit into the office environment.

Testing the waters is not nearly as costly as making a poor decision and choosing hastily the wrong candidate because you need to cover a position immediately. The Sink or Swim, Fight or Flight theory can be observed here as well. Every manager has made a poor hiring decision that may have cost the company thousands in wages, benefits and lost productivity.

A well-seasoned employee takes time to generate and train to your needs, but why spend time training someone that may not have the personality that will work with your office dynamics. I’ve always said “give me someone that has great people skills and I will create an excellent employee, but give me someone that has great work skills and lacks in people skills and it will be a struggle.”

Consider your options in building an efficient team. Using a staffing source and a little help from a business professional that only hires highly skilled, tested, trained and drug tested medical professionals should be high on your list of “must do’s.”

Change is always risky and it’s not something we do well under pressure. The current “I got this” seems to dwindle as the healthcare industry changes almost daily. The size of your business does not matter when it comes to staffing needs. Every small company can benefit from an agency’s expertise and ability to do in depth interviewing and critiquing. What this means to you is the ability to make the right hire the first time.

A family-owned business has a lot invested in their company and reputation, too much in fact to risk all of the time it takes to place a bad hire. Using a staffing source gives you that assurance that you have done everything you can to protect your business.

One of the biggest issues that companies face today is that of unemployment claims, which can range in the thousands of dollars for even one employee let go. Another benefit of using a staffing resource is your lack of liability for unemployment until you have had time to thoroughly evaluate.

The common response when discussing Staffing Resourcing within the Medical Industry is “We do that ourselves.” That comment is generally made without the knowledge of the cost it takes to screen and hire someone new. Then pen and pencil method of jotting down the hourly cost of the process, testing, screening and interviewing is never really done by the person that relays that message with a well versed etiquette.

Ask yourself these things; Is the job you need to fill seasonal? Can you provide an exact date of the end of the employment if it is? What if that seasonal person finds full time employment after you have trained them and leaves? Do you have a backup plan? Do you need someone with specialized skills that you won’t need or can’t afford once the project is completed? Is this an emergency caused by someone who is absent unexpectedly and is planning to return? Do you really know when they will return?

There are many reasons to consider local staffing options. Don’t be caught knee deep in the pond unless you have tested the waters first. You have nothing to lose but dry britches.

Dawn M Rivera is Building and Development Specialist at Arbor Medical Staffing. She can be reached at dawn@arborstaff.com.

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