Do you need more staff to grow your business, but lack the budget for full-time employees? There are many ways to get the help you need without breaking the bank. Here are 10 tips from California’s Office of Small Business Development Center for effectively using interns, part-timers, temps and contractors:
- Assess your needs. Write a job description, then figure out who could fill it. Must the worker be physically present, such as a retail clerk or receptionist? Or can the job be handled by someone off-site?
- Find a temporary agency that fits your industry. Temporary agencies aren’t just for administrative positions anymore. There are agencies specializing in niches from health-care and accounting to information technology and law.
- Know what to expect. What kind of training does the agency give its temporary workers? How are they recruited? If a temporary worker doesn’t work out, how quickly can the agency provide a replacement?
- Contact colleges and universities. Looking for interns? Find out which schools in your area have internship programs or placement offices. You may also be able to find interns by targeting a particular department, such as a business school’s marketing program.
- Consider seniors and moms. In today’s economy, many seniors are seeking part-time work. And lots of moms are looking for ways to ease back into the work force after having children, or seeking part-time jobs while their children are in school.
- Put time into training. To get the most from a part-timer or intern, you must give them the same kind of training, feedback and support you’d give any full-time employee.
- Check out contractors carefully. Ask independent contractors for samples of their work. Get references and check them. Ask how responsive the contractor was, how fast they turn projects around and how much direction they require.
- Communicate. Communication is key to working successfully with independent contractors. Use online meeting tools like GoToMeeting.com, online collaboration tools like BasecampHQ.com and Box.net, and instant messaging to keep everyone on the same page.
- Keep it legal. State and federal laws regarding treatment of interns and part-timers vary. For instance, in some states interns must be paid; in others, they can work for free. There may also be restrictions as to the number of hours a person can work without receiving benefits. Your accountant or attorney can help you stay on top of the rules.
- Treat independent contractors right. Misclassifying someone as an independent contractor can expose your business to tax liability and fines. Visit the IRS Web site (www.irs.gov) for more information on the distinctions between independent contractors and employees.
For more help from the California SBDC, visit http://www.smc.edu/sbdc/.