Saturday, July 21, 2012

Permanent or contract to start with?

I provide recruitment services for SMEs around the country that don't have the time or the people to work through the recruitment process. I have noticed an increasing trend where small employers tend to offer work on a contract or casual basis to start with.

When employees are on a contract, they generally get paid on a per hour basis and there are no benefits attached such as sick leave, holiday leave, carers leave etc. Employers can either have contractors on their books or employers can hire a contractor through a recruiter. Hiring a contractor through a recruiter costs the employer more per hour but the contractor is effectively an employee of the recruitment firm so the employer has the flexibility to engage or disengage the contractor quickly without having to perform the recruitment process.

Hiring someone as a contractor or temp to start with can be a smart move to ensure that the new recruit can not only do the job, but also fits with the culture of the workplace. It also allows employers to test a flexible work arrangement before creating a more permanent position. Most of the time, candidates will work with a contract role as long as there is a view to the role becoming permanent. Keep in mind that some candidates prefer contract roles because they are short term so don’t be surprised if they move onto another opportunity.

Many employers are also happy to hire someone upfront in a permanent position. Most candidates are naturally attracted to permanent roles because it provides a sense of job security. If your business is established, there is sufficient work, and you require someone with skills that your business doesn’t have, permanent roles provide the opportunity for someone to come into the business with a medium to long term outlook.

If you decide to take someone on in a permanent role, make sure you are up to speed on the National Employment Standards. You will need to provide a letter of offer, an employment agreement, and a job description. Once you start hiring staff, you will also need to create workplace policies (e.g. travel policy, expenses policy, flexible work policy, telecommuting policy) and have a performance measurement system to measure their work performance on a regular basis.

Make sure you and review the ten National Employment Standards that govern our workplace.