What Are the Disadvantages to Hiring Temporary Workers?

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Woman working in front of a computer.
Woman working in front of a computer. (Image: Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Businesses may hire temporary workers to fill a short-term need, replace an ill or absent full-time staffer or as a way to reduce payroll costs in general. While the occasional use of such help can be beneficial to a business, there are some downsides to the approach that can impact productivity, damage morale and even have a negative impact on customer service and client relations.

Learning Curve

Depending on the type of position you’re filling with the temporary worker, it can take some time to get the staffer up-to-speed as a productive and contributing team member. For example, getting acquainted with the company and learning how to safely operate a particular piece of machinery or utilize a new software program can come with a learning curve. If someone else in the organization has to invest time to continually bring temp workers up to speed and make them productive, it may not be a cost-effective measure for the company.

Client Relations

Some customers prefer personalized levels of service, including dealing with the same account representative, sales person or staff member on a regular basis. If new faces are continually popping up at the company, it can damage customer service levels as well as create the impression that your business has a high turnover. This can lead to a negative perception of your company as a whole.

Workplace Morale

If you use temporary workers in place of full-time staffers as a way to reduce costs or to avoid paying benefits, it can create an environment in which employees feel undervalued in general. In particular, full-time staffers may wonder if they’ll eventually be replaced by temp help, which can lead to lower productivity and poor morale. If you have a revolving door of temp workers through your organization, you also may find it difficult for team members to establish bonds that are necessary for collaborative and productive work efforts.

Loss of Longevity

The longer an employee is with your company, the more familiar that individual becomes with your products, services, operations and client base. Staffers with an investment in your company are more likely to be good spokespeople and positive representatives of your organization than people who are short-timers. Theoretically, staffers employed for longer periods of time become more loyal, more efficient at their tasks and responsibilities, and have the potential to grow with your company and offer a continually increasing value.

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