Temporary, Interim or Permanent Staff – Which One Is Right For My Business?

There are three main categories of work, permanent, temporary and contract.

Temporary employees – what are they and why use them? 

Temporary employees work for a specific length of time or until a specific project or workload is completed. They do not require a fixed annual salary, nor do they have the high costs associated with a permanent employee.

Many businesses value the flexibility that temporary employees provide to the business as temporary employees can often be hired quickly and help to fill immediate gaps in staffing levels. Many temporary employees are interviewed one day, and start work the following day.

Temporary employment allows a company to hire employees that they need for a specific task or time, this includes a project that exceeds current business capabilities or to cover an employee who is on leave. Once the need for the temporary employee ends then a company does not need to dismiss or lay off the employee they simply just leave.

Temporary employment can also be a good way to trial new employees to find out if they are a good fit for the business before hiring on a permanent basis.

If companies only used temporary employees, this would have a negative impact on the business as then a lot of time can be spent training new employees which can result in a loss of productivity.

Professionals and contractors – what are they and why use them?

Interim professionals and contractors can also be known as self-employed workers. They work on a freelance or contract basis, their salary may be based on set projects they are assigned to work on, and the contract then ends when the work is completed.

These workers do not have the same rights as permanent employees however they do get to manage their own schedules and negotiate their own terms of business.

Interim workers hourly rates tend to be higher than that of a permanent employee, however their flexibility in working hours means you can alter how many hours they work depending on business requirements.

Bringing in interim professionals can offer the business new inspiration and industry best practice, employees who have worked at a company for a while can have stagnation of ideas. Someone new coming in for a short period of time can allow fresh ideas and new ways of working. It can also allow for the use of specific skills for project-based work where the relevant skills are not available in the department.

Permanent employees – what are they and why use them?

Permanent employees are employees who work for a company and are paid directly by that company. Permanent employees do not have a predetermined end date to their contract of employment. Often permanent employees will receive benefits such as, health care, holiday entitlement, sick pay and a pension in addition to their salary.

The definition of a permanent contract is one that will not expire until either the employer or the employee chooses to end the contract.  Sometimes permanent contracts can also be referred to as open ended contracts.

With permanent employment businesses can save time in training and gain more stability, permanent employees can help businesses to grow as they become more efficient at their jobs and can help out when other employees are off sick or on holiday.

Permanent employees have a better understanding of what is expected of them and should be more committed to meeting those expectations.

However, if you do not have enough work to keep permanent employees busy on a daily basis a company may need to cut back on their hours, which can make it difficult to keep employees needing full-time work.

 A flexible recruitment strategy – The best of all 3 options.

A flexible recruitment strategy allows businesses to be more flexible and respond to the needs to increase or decrease staff levels in the business depending on the demands and workloads. An effective flexible staffing plan involves a mixture of permanent employees and highly skilled professionals.

For most businesses, the best approach would be to have all three types of employees in the business. It will allow a company to be flexible and helps to decide when a new project arises, whether it is best completed with the existing permanent workforce or whether new talent needs to be sought. Companies also can look at a mix of permanent employees and interim/temporary employees depending on what the project is, and resources and timescales needed.

If your business works on a variety of projects with different needs temporary employment can allow the flexibility to hire the right people for each job required, businesses do not always have specific skills required in house so need to look for a temporary or fixed term solution.

Businesses should consider balancing temporary employees with a small team of permanent employees who can train the new hires and keep things running smoothly, if you start with a new team for each project things will not run smoothly as time will need to be spent training all the new employees therefore resulting in lost production time.

Contracts of employment

 There are different types of contracts that businesses can consider using, these include:

  • Open-Ended contracts (previously known as permanent);
  • Fixed Term Contracts;
  • Annualised hours contracts;
  • Zero hours contracts;
  • Casual Workers;
  • Agency Workers;
  • Contractors.

If you would like further guidance on employee contracts or any other HR topic please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk


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