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Temp help very valuable: Businesses save time, money and stress with temp help

Chad Webb works on a grain cart that is being assembled on the production floor at Buhler Industries Inc. in Willmar. Last spring, the Buhler Industries plant in Willmar had a large order of new grain carts that needed to be completed by the end of September. Temporary employees helped Buhler meet the deadline, and some employees were able to continue working on other projects, making it a win-win situation. Tribune photo by Ron Adams1 / 2
Workers apply and smooth a new layer of asphalt Oct. 7 on the inside, northbound lane of U.S. Highway 71 near Eagle Lake, north of Willmar. While many employees are fulltime, Duininck Inc. hires up to 12 temp workers a day in the spring, summer and fall. Many of those temp workers continue to be hired by Duininck year after year. Tribune photo by Gary Miller2 / 2

The receptionist at your office just had her baby. Congratulations! But who will cover her job responsibilities during maternity leave? 

Your business has been asked to undertake a huge project for a high-profile client, but you know you don’t have enough staff to complete the job. Can you afford to turn it down?

Fall is always the busiest season for your company, and each year, you wonder whether you can finish everything by winter without asking your full-time employees to work overtime. What are your options?

More and more, businesses are turning to temp workers in these situations, working with an employment agency to find anyone from clerical workers to welders to IT technicians.

A temp worker could be with a business for four hours or until their retirement, according to Mary Warszynski, general manager of Employment Plus in Willmar. 

“A temp is very valuable for many different companies,” Warszynski said. “For some companies, it’s the immediacy, knowing that someone can go to work that day. For others, it’s almost a trial period before employment.”

Last spring, the Buhler Industries plant in Willmar had a large order of new grain carts that needed to be completed by the end of September. The company needed two shifts of employees to work around-the-clock to finish the project, but didn’t have enough full-time staff to cover both shifts.

“We’re a seasonal-type producer, so we knew right away that temp help would be our best bet,” said Buhler’s HR director Stacy Gray. “It was more of a short-term project, and it wasn’t necessary to bring on additional staff.”

Buhler worked directly with Employment Plus, explaining what type of workers they needed — welders, assemblers and painters — and how long the project would take. Employment Plus sent over some applications a few days later, and Buhler narrowed those down to about 25, ultimately hiring 15 temporary workers for the project.

“(Employment Plus) saved us, truly, days of work,” Gray said. “We were interviewing 25 applicants versus 100. That really saved us days’ worth of time and frustration by itself.”

It worked out well for the temp workers, too: After the project was completed in Septem-ber, six of them decided to stay at Buhler and continue working on other projects.

This situation, where a temp worker is offered employment beyond the initial agreement, is called “temp to hire,” said Sandy Nielsen, president and owner of G&S Staffing Services in Willmar. It’s become the most common way of hiring through employment agencies, she said.

“It’s an opportunity to try someone out first,” Nielsen said. “Employers can pay by the week, rather than putting them directly on their payroll. They also don’t have to pay benefits immediately.”

It may not sound like an ideal situation for the temp worker, but most are just grateful to find work in any capacity, Nielsen said.

“To them, it’s better than not being employed,” Nielsen said. “Some of these people have been looking for jobs for years and haven’t found anything before coming here. There are so many wonderful people out there who are trained. It’s just a matter of matching them with the right employer.”

Often, employers will even train temp workers into a new job. At Duininck Inc., which hires up to 12 temp workers a day in the spring, summer and fall, all temp workers receive on-the-job training, according to Jason Duininck, partner and vice president of asphalt operations.

That training pays off in the long run, because many of those temp workers continue to be hired by Duininck through G&S Staffing year after year.

“In the beginning, we both struggled in finding the right people to fit our industry,” Duininck said. “But over time, G&S has been able to identify those people and keep a return of people who have learned and enjoyed working in the construction industry.”

Most of the temp workers at Duininck do flagging during the busy construction season. Flexibility is a key part of why Duininck has chosen to hire temp workers rather than full-time employees. One week, temp workers may need to work three days, and the next, they may need to work five days.

“We’re a seasonal business. We have needs for short-term employees, and it’s easier to hire temps than bring somebody on full-time,” Duininck said. “Having a temp agency fill those gaps for us works well. We can ask for those workers as we need them.”

Most of those workers, Nielsen said, are people who have an eagerness to work and will give the job 100 percent.

“It’s really a win-win for everyone,” Nielsen said. “Temp workers are willing to do the job today, and they’ll go somewhere else tomorrow. Ninety-nine percent of them go to work and work hard. Employers can always benefit from people who want to work.”

That type of arrangement works well for both employer and employee.

“We try hard to make everyone happy,” Warszynski said. “We know that no company can be successful unless they have the right people.”

Ashley White

Ashley White is the community content coordinator for the West Central Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.

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