Temporary staffing is a common step in business growth. At a certain point, a store owner can no longer do everything themselves.
Hiring part-time and/or temporary employees can, however, be an administrative burden. In the US alone, retailers hire more than 418,000 temporary employees for the holiday season.
Temporary staffing agencies exist to take the hassle out of hiring temporary workers. This guide shares how to use a temporary staffing agency when recruiting temporary employees for your store.
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What are temporary staffing agencies?
A temporary staffing agency is a recruitment service that helps companies hire temporary employees. If you’re hiring seasonal staff for the Christmas rush, for example, you could use a temporary staffing agency to quickly source, interview, and hire temporary workers.
Why hire temporary staff?
Temporary employment is often used to fill gaps in staffing needs or to help manage workloads during busy periods. It allows companies to quickly and easily access qualified individuals to fill short-term roles, such as during busy seasons or when permanent staff are unavailable.
Advantages of hiring temporary staff
The advantages of hiring temporary staff include:
- Fill gaps in the workforce. Hire temporary staff with specialist skills, such as store managers or retail buyers, without investing the time or money needed to bring a new staff member up to speed.
- Increase productivity. More hands on deck usually means more tasks can get done. When using a temporary staffing agency to find seasonal employees, your existing workforce doesn’t get disrupted throughout the hiring process.
- Save money on recruitment costs. Instead of paying to post on job boards, time interviewing, and skills testing, a temp staffing agency can absorb those costs for a flat or percentage fee.
- Flexibility to scale up or down. From short-term demand increases to pop-up shops, temporary staff allow you to hire and lay off temporary staff when needed.
“Temporary employment is an excellent solution to the problem of finding qualified workers in times of labor shortage. Maximum output is achieved when all available positions are filled to capacity. You can have a fully staffed team for longer if you use temporary workers.”
—Raine Gui, founder and creative director at Model Chic
Disadvantages of hiring temporary staff
While temporary staff have their advantages, you should also be aware of some of the disadvantages. These include:
- Onboarding new employees is expensive. It costs $4,100, on average, to onboard a new employee. A temporary staffing agency, however, is typically more cost effective than starting the recruitment process yourself.
- Team morale can be affected. Since temporary staff know they won’t be at your workplace for the long term, they might struggle to find their place within the team.
- Training issues. While most temporary staffing services specialize in finding talent with particular skills, you still need to invest time into health and safety, inductions, and company-specific training.
What do you need temporary staffing agencies for?
Hiring temporary staff comes with its advantages and disadvantages, but when might you need to use temporary staffing agencies? Here are some of the things an agency can help you with.
- Event sales: Headed to a craft fair, music festival, or pop-up shop? If you don’t have enough staff on hand to run the store and attend the event, temporary staff could work for you. This is also helpful if you’re heading outside of your market—you can find temporary employees local to your destination.
- Hiring brand ambassadors: Brand ambassadors can help spread the word about your retail business. They can hand out free samples or coupons while building relationships and telling local people about your store.
- Hiring seasonal staff: During the holidays or any other busy season, your existing staff might not be big enough to handle the extra demand. Faced with this situation, many retailers hire temporary staff. Target, for example, hired 100,000 seasonal employees during the 2022 holiday season.
- In-store events: If you’re hosting a large event, such as a grand opening or anniversary party, you might need extra workers to stock shelves or serve customers.
- Company retreats: If you’re taking your team on a retreat or a mandatory all-day training session, your shop’s not going to run itself. A temp staffing agency can help you keep the wheels turning on your business, and build a stronger team in the process.
- Making changes to existing staff: Any individual’s circumstances can change. Whether it’s an employee going on maternity/paternity leave or someone headed out of town for an extended vacation, temporary staffing services help fill gaps with regular employees.
Top 7 temporary staffing agencies in the US for 2023
Randstad is a temporary staffing agency with more than 60 years of experience in recruitment and staffing. Its goal is to help retailers hire staff across a variety of roles, from interim sales managers to merchandising experts.
The company pairs retailers with two consultants, each of whom have local market knowledge, to help expand your team. It promises flexible access to millions of qualified candidates, with video interviews and automated reference checks as standard.
Indeed rating: 3.7 out of 5.
Adecco is a temporary staffing agency with more than 450 US locations. It has 1.4 billion candidate profiles designed to help nationwide retailers hire temporary staff for their store.
The process for hiring temporary staffing through Adecco starts with pre-screening, where each applicant is reviewed to confirm they meet the job requirements. Temporary staff are skill-tested and background checks are conducted before the final applicant is hired.
Indeed rating: 3.7 out of 5.
3. Robert Half
Robert Half’s temporary staffing agency specializes in hiring employees across marketing, creative, accounting, and customer support roles.
To use its services to hire temporary staff, submit a form on its website and its team will find skilled professionals to shortlist. It also offers on-the-job trials for shortlisted candidates before committing to a temporary position. If you’re still unsatisfied within the first eight hours, they’ll find a new candidate for free.
Indeed rating: 3.9 out of 5.
4. Kelly Services
Kelly Services is a global agency that specializes in hiring temporary employees for professional, financial, industrial, and office support roles. It was ranked as the second-best temporary staffing firm by Forbes and helps retailers hire between one and 1,000 temporary employees.
Indeed rating: 3.8 out of 5.
TrueBlue’s staffing agency connects companies with specialist mini-agencies.
Its PeopleScout service helps companies hire temporary employees across the retail and hospitality industries, while its staff management team specializes in manufacturing, distribution, and fulfillment roles.
Indeed rating: 3.5 out of 5.
ManpowerGroup specializes in helping retailers fill temporary hospitality roles like cashiers, front desk assistants, and administrative assistants. It works with 14,000 small- to medium-sized companies each month and runs background checks on every candidate, verifying their references and driving record.
Indeed rating: 3.8 out of 5.
7. Integrity Staffing Solutions
Integrity Staffing specializes in hiring a high volume of temporary employees. It starts with on-the-job site visits to help craft job descriptions that attract the right candidates. From there, the agency conducts exploratory interviews and tests job candidates on behavioral, psychographic, and fundamental skills.
Indeed rating: 3.7 out of 5.
Things to consider when choosing temporary staffing agencies
Not all temporary staffing agencies are created equal. To find the right agency for your retail store, important things to consider when shortlisting agencies include:
- The recruitment process. Does the staffing agency pull candidates from a range of sources, or just an internal database? Do they run background checks before interviewing job seekers on your shortlist? Ask your shortlisted agencies to detail their hiring process to help make your decision.
- Legalities. Brush up on your knowledge regarding conditions for your employees. Some countries require breaks at specific increments, and there could also be age-specific guidelines that you need to navigate.
- Pay. Do your research and understand what your competitors are paying for similar roles. Usually, these employees will be paid hourly, so you’ll need to understand what the baseline is for the hourly rate. From there, determine additional perks you offer that your competitors don’t—things like public transportation passes, gym memberships, snacks on the job, or the opportunity to earn bonuses.
- Retail training. Everyone on your team needs an understanding of your products, your brand, and your ideal customer. Documented training guides, branding materials, and product resources are always essential to train new retail employees—especially if they’re off-site.
- Fees. It’s typically more cost effective to hire temporary staff through an agency. However, they do charge a flat fee or percentage of the candidate’s annual salary, which ranges between 15% and 25%.
Temporary staffing agencies: your next steps
If you’re hiring temporary employees for your retail store, a temporary staffing agency can absorb some of the fees and alleviate disruption for your existing team.
Use the agencies we’ve shortlisted here to explore your options. Evaluate each agency’s recruitment process, fees, and candidate sourcing capabilities. It’s likely quicker and easier than sourcing temporary employees yourself.
Temporary staffing agency FAQ
What is the best temp agency?
- Robert Half
- Kelly Services
- Integrity Staffing Solutions
What is the best online employment agency?
Randstad, Adecco, Robert Half, and TrueBlue are amongst the best online agencies to hire employees for your team.
What is the difference between a recruiter and a staffing agency?
A recruitment agency specializes in long-term employment, whereas a staffing agency helps companies fill short-term roles. The latter is the best option for retailers looking for seasonal staff.
How do you know if a staffing agency is legit?
- They provide references from previous employers.
- They don’t ask for money upfront.
- They conduct background checks on candidates.
- They have positive employee reviews on sites like Indeed or Glassdoor.