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Implementing Temp to Perm successfully

Utilizing a temp to perm hiring opportunity is resourceful.

Temporary or contract workers are a valuable source of talent for law firms and hiring from temp to permanent position can be resourceful. A temporary or contract worker can fill in short term vacancies, such as when an associate or paralegal is off on maternity or medical leave, they can bring in expertise on a particular practice area, and they can be hired to handle volume increases related to new casework. Lawyers, in particular, are uniquely suited to temporary or contract work because they are trained to quickly analyze a situation and act accordingly.

In contrast to temporary or contract workers,  a “temp to perm” employee is brought on to work for a predetermined period, during which time the firm decides whether to offer a permanent position to the employee. With the failure risk as high as 50% for new hires, temp to perm has gained popularity among hiring managers as a way to reduce the risk of a bad hire. Benefits to law firms include:

  • Enables partners time to observe attorneys and legal support staff to see if they are a fit for the firm’s workload and culture.
  • Avoids wrongful termination and unemployment costs – With a temp to perm arrangement, there’s not a guarantee that the position will become permanent. Therefore, the employee is not eligible to claim wrongful termination or file an unemployment claim against the law firm.
  • Reduces the cost of administration and benefits, since these are all covered by the staffing agency until the worker becomes a full-time employee of the law firm.

Here are some things law firms should consider when implementing a temp to perm hiring strategy:

  • Pick a reasonable timeframe for a temp to perm trial period. Too long and the candidate may pass up your firm. Too short and you won’t get a good idea of the fit. Confirm the time period with the staffing service and have them explain this to the employee prior to their start, so everyone is clear of the guidelines.
  • Treat temp to perm workers just as you would a permanent employee, providing them with the support, training or resources they may need to perform their duties.
  • Introduce them to the partners, associates and support staff that they will be working with.
  • Include temp to perm workers in firm-wide initiatives such as training and team building. This will give them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and align with the firm’s culture.
  • Have a transparent process in place to ensure that the firm is being fair. If the firm exhibits a constant cycle of letting workers go before they reach permanent status, the firm’s reputation will suffer, and it will be increasingly difficult to attract quality candidates.
  • If there are any issues, ask the staffing service in to deliver the information. Until the worker becomes a permanent employee of the firm, the staffing service can manage the temporary employee for you.

Full-Service Legal Staffing You Can Depend On

Collier Legal Search is a full-service legal staffing company that specializes in placing well-credentialed partners, associates and legal professionals at every level in law firms and corporations. Our experience in the industry and our unique approach to building our candidate database consistently delivers results that clients can depend on. We are committed to maximizing success for our clients and our candidates.  Contact us at 832-239-5253 to give us the opportunity to work with you.

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