Measure, Then Improve Turnover of Temporary Employees in 8 Steps

People are an organization’s most important asset. It’s said all the time, but do companies actually do anything about it? Is it ever really looked at, paid attention to, reviewed, or measured? Can people be any more essential than the temporary employees of a staffing firm? They are “the” service is provided to the staffing agency’s clients. Nothing is more important for a staffing company. Even though businesses in any industry know that their long-term advantage resides in their people, the majority don’t measure employee retention or turnover.

But, to play devil’s advocate, here’s why: it’s not easy to figure out how to measure the impact employee retention has on your company. People tend to optimize what they can measure, so it’s definitely necessary, but it seems there are many different ways to calculate turnover. And if it’s complicated for a typical company with full-time employees, imagine the task for staffing firms with employees working temporary assignments that vary from one day to years. According to Statista, the average employment tenure of contract and temporary employees in the United States during 2019 was 10.1 weeks.

“Fundamentally, temporary assignments are not permanent, and don’t lend themselves to a meaningful annual-based calculation metric that will help a company manage and continually improve its operations.” Barton Staffing Solutions notes a better measure for staffing firms where employees work short term assignments, is to measure the “average number of employees who leave before their assignment ends.”

I completely agree. If an employee starts and successfully ends an assignment, why should that be counted as turnover? That is what the staffing industry offers, employment of individuals to work assignments that are temporary. The goal is to have employees work more than one assignment or work long-term assignments to benefit all parties as well as possible permanent hire for those who are seeking regular work. But in the meantime, turnover in the staffing industry and how it’s typically measured is abhorrent.

Barton Staffing created a turnover formula that is much more exacting to determine “regrettable” turnover rather than including assignments that were completed as ordered. With good front and back-office software, any temporary staffing firm should be able to calculate this:

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David Wilson