Over the last month, Locum People has been asked to consult at 4 different businesses (one was actually a not-for-profit), all with major cultural issues (toxic workplaces). All had large cohorts of casual employees.
The common denominator across all 4 businesses was the poor quality of middle management - low EI, micromanagement, communications issues, laziness. Senior management was unaware as they hadn't had that feedback from the largely casual workforces that reported into the middle managers.
Why hadn't that feedback been made? Because most of the employees were casuals - under the current record low unemployment dissatisfied casuals just left and found jobs elsewhere - leading to chronic staff shortages that in 2 of the cases were threatening the businesses' very survivals.
Those casuals who stayed didn't complain, because they worked in a climate of fear - if they spoke out, they wouldn't be offered shifts. They rightly feared for their livelihoods.
All 4 businesses have since taken positive steps to address their issues, but the lesson here is that large casual workforces may benefit businesses in times of relatively high unemployment - but it is a largely unsuitable business model in the current climate.
It is also a myth (promulgated largely by the business community itself) that employees "like" casual employment as it gives them flexibility. Our work suggests the exact opposite. Employees are only taking casual roles because that's all that's on offer. Most will jump ship for a permanent role in a heartbeat.
If you are struggling to recruit and retain staff in the current environment - perhaps think about changing your employment model. It may reap huge dividends.
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