Flexible Staffing Arrangements Essay

2110 words - 8 pages

Flexible Staffing Arrangements

Options for flexible work schedules--once nonexistent--have become a reality, with benefits for workers and employees alike. Job sharing, compressed work weeks, reduced hours, work at home, and flextime have provided employees with the means to realize a better balance between work and family and an opportunity to engage simultaneously in more than one endeavor, e.g., school and work, two careers, and work and leisure. They can also lead to economic and emotional stress and to limited opportunities for professional growth. This Digest examines flexible work options, including the characteristics of workers who select them, the organizations that offer them, and the influence they have on worker satisfaction, performance, productivity, and career progression.

Flexible Staffing Arrangements

Over the years, employers have established employment arrangements with workers that include working in shifts, on "temporary" assignments, in a part-time capacity, and through independent contract work. The impetus for these arrangements is the organizations desire to realize its short-term service and production goals and to reap the low-cost benefits of a contingent work force.

Today, with businesses facing increasingly competitive markets and unprecedented customer demands for services, the employment of workers in shifts to cover a 24-hour day is increasing. In fact, one in five workers is hired to work outside the typical 9-to-5 time slot ("No More Nine-to-Five" 1998). Manufacturing companies have traditionally operated day and night, often to capitalize on equipment usage. However, many other types of companies are now offering their services around the clock, e.g., financial services, 24-hour banking services, computer-related services, retail catalog sales, and supermarkets. Unfortunately, those working the least attractive shifts (night) are typically the least skilled and have the lowest incomes (ibid.).

Temporary workers, those hired for a specific, usually short-term, assignment, are also increasing in numbers.Businesses that have cyclical staffing needs, e.g., retailers, construction companies, and those that have unpredictable demands, e.g., high tech companies, are frequent users of temporary workers. About 10-12 percent of Hewlett Packards workers, for example, are temps (Galvin 1998). Some companies have such extensive needs for temporary workers that they employ temporary agencies to hire, train, and manage these workers. One such company, American Precision Plastics in Colorado, reports that "90 percent of their 180 plant workers are temporary" (Lief 1997, p. 86). The results of a survey conducted by the W. E. Upjohn Institute showed the following configuration of temporary workers used by the 550 establishments surveyed for the study (Houseman 1997, p. 6): 46% use workers from temporary help agencies; 38% use short-term hires; 72% use regular part-time workers; 27% use on-call workers; and...

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