Employers are relying more and more on employees who work on a temporary status before becoming permanent. The HR industry calls this "temp to perm" or "temp to hire" and says its a way to "try before you buy." The arrangement benefits employers who are uncertain about the skills of a potential employee or who have concerns about future funding. Employees who may not seem like ideal candidate or who are uncertain about a particular job find the arrangement a good way to work into a permanent position. Although data are hard to come by, anecdotal evidence suggests that the numbers of temp-to-perm employees are growing and increasingly include mid-level managers, professionals and executives. Although the practice had its start while the economy was healthy, the trend may accelerate during this recession.
For many temp-to-perm employees, the arrangement has significant drawbacks. One study found that higher psychological morbidity among temporary workers compared with permanent employees. There was also an indication that temporary workers have a higher risk of occupational injuries but use less sick time. Ombuds are accustomed to seeing employees with psychological disorders so this portends higher numbers of temp-to-perm visitors.
In addition, Ombuds are uniquely positioned as a resource for temp-to-perm workers. A significant concern for temporary employees is unavailability of formal safeguards available to permanent employees. Temp-to-perm employees generally can be released at any time without notice or right to grieve the decision. As such, they are especially interested in the informal remedies offered by Ombuds. For these reasons, Ombuds should expect to see growing numbers of temp-to-perm employees. (Boston.com; NY Times; Temporary Employment and Health: a Review; Yahoo Answers; New Yorker Cartoons.)
Prior Trendspotting posts: Ombuds Not Exempt From Influence of Internet; Online Bullying an Emerging Issue for Ombuds.