Temporary work can benefit employers and employees.
Event companies and event industry workers can benefit from temporary positions. Here's a quick rundown of what temporary work is and how you can utilize it to further your business or career.
The Benefits of Using Temporary Staff for Event Companies
The way that people view and perform work has changed vastly over the last few years. With a recent recession and the rise of the gig economy, a lot has changed in the way employees and employers view work. Companies are more comfortable hiring temporary employees to supplement their existing workforces and employees are more willing (and sometimes prefer) to take temporary or contract positions.
The event industry has not been unaffected and has a lot to gain by utilizing the influx of talented, diverse workers looking for temporary positions. Whether you're an employer or an employee, here's how you can benefit from the proliferation of temporary work in the event industry.
What are temporary employees?
In the event staffing world, the words “temp” and “contractor” are often used interchangeably. Many companies refer to their temporary employees as “contractors”, especially when they are in more skill-based roles than is traditionally associated with entry-level “temp work”. However, there is a legal difference between the two when classifying employees and while that distinction may seem a bit semantic, it does matter.
Here's a quick overview: Temporary employees are typically workers employed by a staffing agency and placed by recruiters. They are W-2 employees paid by the staffing agency. Independent contractors (IC’s) are self-employed and paid on a 1099. How employees are classified between these two categories is determined by the type of control they have over their work (more on that later).
So why hire temporary employees over an independent contractor?
Event companies are increasingly using both temporary employees and independent contractors to run leaner operations and keep costs down. Which you hire depends entirely on your needs. Is the work you need done a project or an ongoing business need?
If you have a project with clearly defined success metrics and a distinct deliverable, that requires skills not a part of your company’s core employee base, an independent contractor likely would suit your needs. For instance, if your company is re-branding and you need a new brand kit and logo, it probably makes the most sense to hire an independent graphic designer.
However, if you are looking to bolster your staffing roster during busy seasons with shift workers and non-specialized event staff, you could be incurring huge risks going the independent contractor route.
Risk #1: Misclassification and an IRS Audit
Because a contractor is considered self-employed, a company utilizing an IC does not pay the employer share of payroll taxes. This is very appealing for a company looking to save money and cut costs. The problem? The IRS has been cracking down on employers misclassifying employees as independent contractors and they very clearly lay out the criteria for classifying an employee as an IC. If the IRS finds that a worker has been misclassified, your company could end up paying massive amounts of back taxes.
A good rule of thumb: a true 1099 contractor sets their own hours and works relatively independently without interference from the employer. If your worker is required to work on-site, on a set schedule with employer oversight or supervision, they should likely NOT be classified as a 1099 contractor.
Risk #2: Improper Management and Labor Risk
IC’s are responsible for performing the services outlined in their contract and must maintain a certain level of control over their work. It can be surprisingly easy for uninformed managers to accidentally treat a contractor as a regular employee and this could have huge risks for the company. Requiring training, allowing a contractor to use company equipment or attempting to control how the work is done are all common ways improper management opens the company up to the very real risk of a class-action lawsuit.
If your company - even unintentionally - exerts too much control over when and how they work, an IC could become entitled to be classified as an employee and to receive employee benefits like overtime. Beyond the tax implications outlined above, this could also mean a lawsuit from disgruntled contractors. It’s ok to ensure your contractors understand and follow your organization’s policies and procedures, but contractors must maintain a lot of autonomy in their work in order to remain true 1099’s.
Risk #3: Liability for the Business
An independent contractor is not covered by your business’ workers’ compensation policy, which can make you liable for injuries they suffer on the job. Furthermore, if an IC doesn’t have the proper insurance coverages and they harm your company’s property, employees, or customers, the company can’t go after them for negligence.
These risks can be avoided by creating well-written contracts (one that addresses insurance, liability and clearly lays out milestones and expectations) and by following IRS guidelines in classifying employees. Still, if you are looking to fill temporary scheduling gaps, for support for your team during a busy season or need someone to fill in for an employee on leave, you’ll want to tap into the growing pool of temporary employees.
Benefits of Temporary Employees for the Event Company
Temporary workers are a growing part of business in the United States. According to the American Staffing Association, nearly 17 million people worked as temporary or contract employees over the past year. While the last recession and resulting economic uncertainty led to an unexpected increase in temporary workers, the benefits keep them at the forefront of staffing solutions.
Benefit #1: Flexibility and Reducing Labor Waste
In the event industry, business needs fluctuate month-to-month and even event-to-event. Temporary staffing allows you to maintain ideal staffing levels during busy seasons and for high-volume events. This reduces overall labor waste and saves you money.
It’s also a great solution for unexpected shortages if an employee calls in sick. Temp agencies can typically supply pre-screened, qualified workers on short notice, allowing you to quickly fill scheduling gaps and prevent burnout on your regular crew.
In fact, when used effectively, temporary employees give your regular employees much-needed flexibility which is good for your business long-term. In the event industry, getting time for a vacation, family emergency or a sick day can be stressful. Knowing that their manager can tap into a well of temporary workers takes pressure off your regular employees, increases morale, and increases retention of your permanent staff.
The flexibility of temporary hires extends to your budget as well. Temps can fit into your short-term budget with the ability to end the relationship if the budget no longer allows for it.
Benefit #2: Cost-Effective
Outside of your short-term budget, temporary workers allow you to reduce overall staffing costs long-term. Instead of maintaining a team that is larger than you need year-round (and paying all the associated costs), you can retain a smaller team of permanent employees and supplement with temporary workers.
Temp agencies cover any benefits for their temp workers so you’ll save on fixed payroll costs by not paying for health insurance, workers comp, or vacation time. Lastly, you’ll save on training costs - something many companies don’t consider. Temporary workers are typically already pre-screened, skilled, and trained with plenty of previous experience in the industry. With limited training needed, onboarding a temp employee is quicker and cheaper.
Benefit #3: Reduced Hiring Risk
Temporary work can be used as a trial period before committing to hiring a candidate. Many temporary employees are open to more permanent work; two-thirds of temps who were offered permanent positions accepted them last year and staffing employees cited permanent employment as a top priority.
Temporary staffing allows you to fill an immediate staffing need while evaluating if an employee has the personality and skills you need long-term. It allows you to vet potential hires without the associated costs and risks of onboarding a new crew member. Hiring can be expensive, especially if you get it wrong. With temp workers, if an employee is not a good fit you save yourself time and money in hiring and training the wrong person for the job.
Benefits of Temporary Work for the Worker
As mentioned, a temporary crew has become more popular with employers who want an easily scalable workforce that doesn’t require the additional costs of benefits. This means temp jobs are more plentiful than ever before. And the benefits of temporary work are not only on the side of the employer, temporary positions offer a number of distinct advantages to the worker. Temporary work offers more than just a way to get by during your search for a full-time position.
Benefit #1: Vetting the Company
Sometimes temporary work truly is temporary work, but many employers use temp work as a precursor to permanent employment. And just as an employer can use temporary work to reduce hiring risk, workers can employ temp work as a way to evaluate a potential employer. By doing temp work for a company you’ll get way more information than you could in an interview or by online research. Hence, it’s a great way to find out if a company is a good fit before committing to full-time or permanent work.
How do they really treat their employees? Is there an adequate policy for sick-days or vacation? Does the company values match your own? Is there upward mobility? What is management like? A short stint in a temporary position can help you further evaluate if this is a company you’d like to work for long-term.
Benefit #2: Networking and Relationship Building
The employer you're working for may not have an opening when your stint ends, but if you've made personal and professional connections during your time there, you can leave with solid references. The event industry is very much intertwined and temp jobs are a good way to meet new people, grow your job search network and build up valuable references.
As your gig is coming to a close don't hesitate to reach out to supervisors, managers, coworkers and clients to get a reference or for future job leads.
Benefit #3: Gaining skills, experience and improving your resume
The ability to learn new skills and gain industry experience is one huge benefit of temp work. Partnering with an employment agency that specializes in the particular line of work you’re looking to break into can ensure your temporary stint will be relevant to the skills you’re trying to build. Furthermore, temp agencies will often train candidates for a given job - meaning you can get free, relevant training through temp work.
Contrary to persistent myth, employers do recognize and appreciate the value of temporary positions. When adding temp work to your resume (and you certainly should), list the temp agency as your employer to avoid looking like a serial job jumper, then list out each assignment under the agency with relevant duties and skills.
Temporary work can benefit the employer and the employee and should not be ignored as a valid, useful staffing solution for your event company. Whether you are overseeing a crew of permanent or temporary staff, Schedulehead can make managing staffing logistics easier.
Use Schedulehead to manage staff and event scheduling, track employee performance metrics, utilize time tracking reports, and more. Contact a Client Success Engineer for more advice on how we can support your business.