When looking at budgets and expenditure for the year, there are two things which will nearly always come to mind: operational costs and salaries. However, temporary, contractor and interim spend can often be something that is overlooked retrospectively and not considered when budgeting for the coming year; yet is something that should go hand-in-hand with the “usual” areas for consideration. 

With more and more businesses utilising an interim workforce across their organisation, including both blue and white collar workers, effectively managing the spend and use of this kind of workforce is integral, in order to ensure costs do not spiral out of control and operational productivity is not affected. 

But how do you start bringing control to this area of your business? Firstly, you need to exercise the Five W’s and ask some key questions.

The Five W’s in Temporary Labour


The job roles that you are predominantly turning to your agencies to fill, along with the rates, will more than likely be the most eye-opening and important parts of your contractor spend insight. Understanding these two things will enable you to see if you are managing your interim and permanent workforce effectively. 


Who are you working with? Are your agencies compliant and are you getting quality staff from them? Are your agencies ensuring that the workers they are supplying have the correct training and qualifications for the job? It is essential these questions are asked to make sure you are working with the best agencies within your area, but also, that you are getting the quality of staff you deserve. After all, an interim workforce is just as important as their permanent counterparts; temporary/contractor workers’ value goes far beyond filling short-term gaps.


Where are you utilising a contractor and interim workforce? Across your organisation, are you flexing a contingent workforce in one department more than another? Or is your temporary spend higher in a particular geographical area? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you to identify any trends and plan accordingly.


Can you identify any trends when you use a temporary workforce? Does seasonality have a part to play? Understanding peak times within your industry sector but also in your business trading activity can help you to prepare and plan for any busier times within the year. The importance of this being, planning ahead can reduce the risk of limited productivity, pressures on your current workforce, and minimise the impact on service to your customers and supply chain. 


Do you know the reasons why you are using an interim workforce? Is it to fill gaps in skills? Is to meet the demands of peak periods or do you use this workforce to cover illness and holidays? Much like knowing when you use this interim workforce, knowing why can help planning usage and forecasting budgets.

Understanding all of these areas that make up your interim workforce usage is invaluable for any business wishing to gain a tighter control of their temporary agency spend. As in any area of business, only when you have full knowledge and visibility of a situation can control really be achieved. 

The key to being able to gain all of this insight is visibility of your temporary workers. By having a robust and secure software solution that is reliable and responsive to legislative changes will allow you to track your interim workforce across all of your locations across the UK. Consequentially, you will benefit by having a suite of management information at your fingertips. 

Many organisations are already experiencing this heightened visibility and control using e-tips®; a web-based software solution available through GRI in the UK that enables you to track and manage your temporary workforce. As a result, these organisations are able to plan their entire workforce more effectively and forecast more accurately. Ultimately, this ensures that productivity and service to their customers is not affected.  

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