Why Temporary Workers Quit Assignments (And What You Can Do About It)

Staffing Industry Analysts recently reported in its Temporary Worker Survey 2017 that about 31 percent of temporary workers quit an assignment early. What’s more, we’ve found that up to 10 percent of consultants leave an assignment before they even start!

SIA’s survey found that 25 percent of temporary associates who left early did so because they were offered a better job. Yet another 15 percent left because of miscommunication (the job wasn’t what they were told it would be) and another 3 percent left because they felt “ostracized” and that “no one paid much attention to me.”

How much is this early quit rate costing your staffing firm? Plenty!

Take a look at the link to our webinar on improving consultant engagement, above (the second link). Download the webinar’s PDF and you’ll see that we believe that if staffing and consultant agencies reduced their attrition and early-quit rates by just 20 percent, they’d enjoy an increase in gross revenue by 12 percent.

The Dissatisfaction of Your Temporary Employees

Let’s face it: mention “staffing agency” and many people will tell you their own “horror stories” of when they worked as a temporary or contingent worker via a staffing service:

  • Once registered with the staffing service, the recruiter told the candidate to call each week, but he never received an assignment even when he did so.
  • She replied to a job posting and even interviewed at the service for it, only to find out that the advertised job had been filled three days ago, but the recruiter didn’t call the candidate to tell her.
  • He was pushed – and pushed hard – to accept an assignment for which he knew he was unqualified.
  • Having a recruiter call her at odd hours expecting her to drop everything for an immediate interview.

In a nutshell, the staffing industry’s poor reputation has come about due to a penchant over the years to over promise and under deliver to its temporary talent and to focus predominantly on the bottom line, resulting in candidates who feel commodified and unappreciated.

To its great credit, the industry is working hard to change bad practices and improve temporary worker satisfaction, but when the job market is a candidate’s market (as it is today), it’s not much of a surprise that a temporary worker leaves mid-assignment when a “better offer” comes along, particularly when that offer is for a more permanent position.  

You Can’t Turn Today into an Employer’s Market, But You CAN Improve Your Relationship with Your Temporary Workers

C-suite occupants and human resources managers have known for years how important employee engagement is when it comes to retaining their workers. So much so that Monster.com reported earlier this year that employee engagement is one of 2017’s “top HR trends.”

The fact that 2017 pretty much is a candidate’s market could have something to do with the intense interest in employee engagement. After all, with such statistics as those below, it’s no wonder that interest in creating engaged employees is so high today:

  • Disengaged workers cost businesses between $450 and $550 billion each year.
  • Thirty-four percent of workers say they plan to leave their current position in the next 12 months (Mercer), while Gallup says the number is 51 percent.
  • Even engaged employees are looking to leave (34 percent) but 73 percent of disengaged employees plan to do so.

This goes for temporary staff, as well.

Your Temporary Employees WANT to Trust You

How is trust built? By open, honest and regular communication. From the get-go. By explaining the temporary hiring process and what to expect in the days and weeks ahead when hiring; to describing in as much detail as possible the details of a new assignment or direct-hire opportunity; to giving the consultant her assignment manager’s name, title and duties; to stating the assignment’s projected length; to reaching out to the worker within days of the assignment’s end date to discuss updating his/her resume and/or potential new assignments; and so on.

Communication is absolutely critical. Lack of honest communication arguably is temporary workers’ main beef when it comes to staffing services. They actually want communication more than they want more pay!

Your Talent Also Want Second and Third and Fourth Assignments!

Another way to keep your temporary workforce working for you is to give them their next assignment while they are working on their first. Yes, this can be difficult, but even if you’ve no assignment in the offing, reaching out to an employee a few days before his assignment’s end date in order to talk to him about – for example – updating his resume or checking his availability, can go a long way toward raising the trust factor, his gratitude for your work on his behalf and his loyalty.

More Communication: A Healthier Bottom Line

Engage in honest back-and-forth with your temporary team members and watch attrition decline rapidly. It’s our one goal here at Sense to help staffing firms decrease no-show and quit rates and increase redeployment rates, seeing their revenues grow as a result.

Contact us today to learn more.

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