How to select a temporary staffing service


How to select a temporary staffing service



How to select a temporary staffing service

by Ronald G. Cameron, R.Ph.

Every pharmacy at some time experiences a staffing shortage. There are lots of temporary staffing companies to choose from—but are they all the same? The answer is, Definitely not!

Procuring temporary staffing services is not the same as buying a commodity, when the only consideration may be the price. When you are engaging a temporary service company to fill your staffing needs, price may be the least important aspect. If you don't investigate thoroughly beforehand, but leave everything to chance, you'll find that you might regret it later on.

The following is a list of "thinking points" to ask temporary staffing services. Remember, you have a right to these facts.

1. Does the temp company misclassify its employees as "independent contractors"?

• I.R.S. Revenue Ruling 87-41 suggests that a pharmacist working in a pharmacy be classified as an employee.

2. What type of insurance does the company carry to protect you, the client? Does it carry the following?

• Comprehensive general liability insurance?

• Professional liability insurance?

• Worker's compensation insurance?

• Bonding insurance?

• Automobile liability insurance for both hired and non-owned autos?

• Primary or excess insurance?

• Can it name your company as "additional insured" on its policy?

• Can it provide you with an ACORD certificate of liability insurance from its insurance carrier?

• What are the limits of liability on each of the above?

3. Does the company hire people over the phone? Or does it conduct an in-depth personal interview in its office to screen candidates? How does it qualify and credential its candidates? Does the company:

• Screen employees through the state board of pharmacy?

• Screen employees through the Drug Enforcement Administration?

• Screen employees through former employers?

• Screen employees for I-9 compliance for the Immigration and Naturalization Service?

• Require employees to pass a "voluntary drug testing program"?

• Run continuous employee evaluations?

• Provide clients with computerized "work order confirmations" in the mail?

4. Are employees trained and certified to comply with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)?

5. Do the pharmacists have Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations qualifications for hospital inpatient assignments?

If the answer is No to any of the questions listed above, you are paying for services that are not being provided.

Investigate how the firm recruits and retains its workers. You may be able to judge the quality of its workforce by what type of benefits package it offers its workers. A more complete package often attracts a better-quality worker. Ask to see the company's recruitment ads—would you want a worker who responded to these types of ads? Also, do a little investigation of your own; check the classified ads to see what types of ads are running in your local newspaper.

Here are some additional factors to take into consideration:

• Make sure the company fully understands your needs so it may assign the most appropriate person for your position. It is important for you to understand your needs in order to communicate them to the company. Also, make sure the firm has an extensive profile of workers on hand to meet your needs. This will help you get the right person for the job in a timely manner.

• Do the firm's employees usually complete assignments? What is the typical turnover rate?

• Can you rely on the company to fill last-minute emergencies? Is there an extra fee? What about after-hours emergencies? Find out how to reach the company after regular business hours. Get assurances that you will receive the same professional, attentive service.

The critical element in your working relationship with the company is the quality of staffing help you receive. That's a hard thing to judge, but here are a few hints. When you first contact a firm, do you receive full staff attention? This first impression will say a lot about the service you are likely to receive. If possible, visit the company's office in person. Do you see a professional, comfortable atmosphere conducive to modern personnel practices? Is the staff professional, friendly, and attentive to your needs? How do the staff members treat the temporary employees? Request a list of references, and ask questions about quality.

Reliance on a reputable and capable temporary staffing service can be an important management tool for your business. A little investigation and observation beforehand can save you time and money and produce a longer-lasting business relationship.

The author is CEO of Cameron and Company Inc., a temporary staffing service firm headquartered in Las Vegas. Accessible through , the company serves chains, hospitals, and other pharmacies from Florida to Hawaii.


Ron Cameron. How to select a temporary staffing service.

Drug Topics

May 19, 2003;147:HSE41.

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