Finding new talent, training employees and managing a talented workforce is one of the largest expenses of a startup, but you can save cash by forgoing traditional employment arrangements. Instead, try one of these three staffing methods and learn the benefits and drawbacks of each.
1. Hiring Interns
Hiring college students, or recent grads, as interns can save you big bucks on salary, and you’ll have the opportunity to test them out without spending a lot of money at the outset.
Benefits of Hiring an Intern
Interns are typically young and enthusiastic. They’re apt to take direction and bring a fresh perspective to their work. Don’t just shove interns into cubicles and leave them there doing grunt work; instead, involve them in daily operations as much as possible. You’ll find that interns can offer unique, creative solutions you might have never considered.
Mentor, nurture and guide interns, then offer perks or payment so they’ll stick around once they’ve gained valuable skills that make them truly marketable. With careful hiring, a time investment and a little bit of luck, you’ll end up with dedicated, talented professionals to add to your team.
Drawbacks of Hiring an Intern
While college interns can be a benefit when it comes to creativity and enthusiasm, it can also be a drawback. To get the greatest return on your investment, you need people who show up energized and ready to work—not bleary-eyed and hung over. If your intern is a flaky partier, get a new one.
Interns demand lower (or no) pay, but unless you’re just looking for someone to do automated tasks, they can require a lot of supervision. After all, you’re hiring people with few real-world skills—that’s why they’re interns in the first place. Plan to spend time training and mentoring them.
2. Temporary Employees
Another way to appraise potential employees for a trial period is to use a temp agency. While this won’t be the best strategy for finding highly-skilled professionals, it works particularly well for administrative, data entry, or customer service positions.
Benefits of Hiring Temporary Workers
You pay the agency directly; they’ll issue paychecks to the employee and take care of payroll issues, which saves you a lot of hassle. The agency pre-screens people for the skills you request and often conducts drug tests and background checks.
In addition to skipping the interview process and payroll headaches, you get to see firsthand how the person fits in the company without making a commitment. If he or she is working well with the team and has the right skills, then you offer the job; if not, you request that the agency send you someone else.
Drawbacks of Hiring Temporary Workers:
Paying a temp agency may cost you more than hiring directly. The hourly wage you’ll pay will be as much as 40% higher than the going rate—you’re paying for convenience. If you have the time to conduct interviews and thoroughly vet candidates, you’ll probably save some cash.
Your contract with the agency will include a clause that stipulates a contractual time frame before you can hire the employee directly. You’ll need to either wait or negotiate to buy out your contract early.
Additionally, when you hire a temp agency, you are at their mercy to send you skilled, reliable people. Check the agency’s referrals; if they send you people that don’t fit your needs, you’ll spend lots of time on the phone, requesting new workers.