A new year can often bring new challenges in the workplace. Managing a heavy workload with potential staffing losses can be extremely difficult. If you are low on staff but heavy on work, frankly you’re not in a bad spot. But as a manager, you will need to evaluate whether it is time to start looking for additional support and hiring more employees to help you meet the needs of your clients. Recruiting and onboarding can take precious time though. In order to get by in the meantime, should you make existing employees work overtime or hire a temporary worker? We will look at the pros and cons of both strategies and help provide the information you need to make the best decision for your unique situation.
The Pros and Cons of Overtime
Having existing staff work additional hours to complete work they are already familiar with can seem like an obvious answer to this common issue. It’s possible your employees will appreciate the opportunity to earn time and a half for their additional efforts, but that’s not always the case. As an employer, it’s important to be fully aware what the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers pay overtime employees. Additionally, certain states (California, for example) have enacted further overtime laws requiring better overtime rates or wider inclusion of different types of employees. The bottom line is that you should know the true cost of making your staff work overtime. Keep in mind the pay for calculation of overtime wages should include bonuses and any cashing out of leave.
Instituting mandatory overtime with already stretched staff can be a bit risky. You run the risk of reducing the quality of your product or services provided due to increased stress and possible fatigue. You need to truly evaluate whether your staff can handle a higher workload, while still maintaining the quality of their work product, even for a short period of time. Overuse of overtime can result in employee frustration, low morale, decreases in productivity and higher turnover rates. If your team is truly stretched too thin, hiring a temporary worker could be the best option.
The Pros and Cons of Hiring Temporary Staff
Some employers try to avoid hiring temporary staff because of the increased upfront cost and the time it takes to bring a new staff member up to speed. These issues, while real, are generally short term in nature and not an issue compared to the difficulties for companies who overwork their staff. Increasing your headcount, even with temporary staff, can help provide a more talented and diverse staff. Temporary staff are often more flexible in terms of their work schedule and salary. They are often some of the best sources of new regular hires as they are familiar with the work and processes on the job site. Using a temp-to-hire job status is a great way to test out a new staff member to see whether their skills and qualifications fit a position well enough to be brought on full time. Compared to the long-term impact that overtime can have on an employee, bringing on a temporary worker to jump in and help at a moment’s notice really can help ease the workload in the short term as well as in the future.
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