Human Resource project on temporary workers expanded as officials ‘revisit’ issue

Yonah Bromberg Gaber | Graphics Editor

Officials expanded a project designed to improve the process for hiring temporary workers.

For the last year and a half, there have been three different projects from the Human Resources department with the goal of creating a more standardized system for hiring temporary workers and reducing the costs of external agencies, which experts said will improve the hiring process at the University. The initial project, which began in the summer of 2016, was expanded this academic year in an effort to “revisit and improve” processes, the leader of the HR office said.

Dale McLeod, the interim vice president of human resources, said the most recent project aims to provide services for faculty, staff and students, and support teaching and research at the University with a diverse workforce.

The Human Resources website states that the goal of the project is to boost hiring efficiency, reduce spending on external staffing agencies and create a paperless hiring process. McLeod said the original project was extended to expand the impact of those original goals.

“We have the opportunity to create better, more interoperable, and more automated processes to replace current and former processes,” he said in an email.

He said the ColonialTemps program, the University’s in-house temp agency, provides University departments with an efficient way to fill temporary positions and that the projects are designed to cut redundancies between external temp agencies and the ColonialTemps program. He declined to say how much was currently spent on outside vendors.

The Human Resources division can help University President Thomas LeBlanc’s goal of improving institutional culture with projects like this that increase the level of employee engagement, McLeod added.

“The division will focus particularly on those changes that relate to an enhanced level of service and employee engagement and satisfaction,” he said.

Cheryl Marquis, the CEO of the temp agency Choice, said her employment agency helped supply GW with temporary workers until 2015, when she decided the agency wasn’t getting enough business from the University. The preferred vendors were allowed to advertise to departments across campus, allowing the agency to help fill more positions, she said.

But Marquis said the organization was asked to stop advertising and wasn’t getting enough business to justify the lower market rates.

The ColonialTemps program seemed like it wasn’t particularly effective because of how small the pool of temporary workers was within the network compared to the size of the University, Marquis said.

“GW is big and sprawling, and I think it’s hard,” she said. “The ColonialTemps program didn’t seem to have a sufficient number of people in their pool.”

Nina Martin, the CEO of Graham Staff Company, a firm that helps organizations hire permanent and temporary positions, said creating a standardized, paperless process for hiring temporary workers would help the office increase efficiency in getting the right candidate for the job.

“Anyone involved in that hiring process can go through it the same way and check off the list, make sure you haven’t missed anything along the way,” she said.

She said it’s typical for organizations to have electronic hiring processes, which allow HR to ensure that an applicant has the necessary paperwork more quickly.

“Companies and businesses operating under a paper-based system are struggling,” Martin said. “Hard copy is burdensome.”

But creating a paperless, standardized system can be expensive – costing several thousands of dollars a year – and it’s best to shop around for different programs, a process that is challenging without a permanent leader in HR, she said.

The former vice president of the Human Resources department left the position two years ago, and a permanent replacement has not been named.

Victoria Mack, a recruiter at the temp agency City Staff, said cutting down on the use of external temp agencies like hers might have a negative impact on the diversity of employees’ backgrounds coming in to the University, because external agencies can find qualified staff from throughout the area.

“It might be beneficial to go to an agency like mine just because you might get some more diversity,” she said.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.