Interactive entertainment seems to be one of the last industries to take advantage of temporary workers. While corporate America uses 25% or more, the game development industry has yet to discover the benefits of this type of worker. With the future of gaming a dynamic picture yet to be written, perhaps it’s time to stop fearing the temp.
Maybe some of the hesitancy is that the industry feels workers will take game secrets or information to other studios. The reality is that temporary workers have been in business and industry for more than 70 years, including working at government installations on top secret projects. They have successfully worked at all the top technology companies (a huge part of Microsoft’s workforce is contingent), and you can even find them credited on top games like Halo 4 (look for Yoh Services LLC after a name).
All workers, whether permanent or temporary, move from job to job and company to company. There are processes in place that help prevent them from divulging information or using proprietary information. And in the end, we all know that blatantly copying something is easily discovered and many new ideas are derivatives of other ideas and diverse experiences. So what’s the worry?
Today, there are several reasons many organizations rely on contract, or temporary workers to fill gaps, augment core staff, or provide expertise in specific areas. These workers are fully qualified, screened and recruited specifically for their positions. Here are a few of the benefits of using this type of non-employee worker.
Flexibility – Contract workers can be quickly staffed up and staffed down without undue burden on the organization. They can supplement core staff or fill high volume or specialty needs in specific areas such as QA and testing during certain phases of development.
Timing – Hiring can vary greatly during different phases of development and production. Contractors can be sourced and brought on only during the phases they are needed. This can fill gaps or provide additional, qualified manpower when needed.
Scalability – Most organizations struggle with large hiring drives and do not have adequate recruiting staff to keep up with peak needs. A contract recruiting partner can provide an additional resource for times when projects or phases are ramping up.
Prioritization and Focus – There are certain areas that lend themselves to contract employees, especially during certain phases. By using contract resources in these areas, the organization is free to focus on other priority positions. Conversely, some organizations have very good generalist recruiters who can hire for many low- to mid-level positions, but struggle with other mid- to high-level positions. Contract recruiting partners can focus on specific areas or provide coverage to many areas.
Accountability – A recruiting partner’s success is based on their ability to understand your business, your culture and your goals. They are paid with the successful placement of the right candidates. This provides outside accountability for filling jobs, rather than internal resources that may have multiple responsibilities and multiple priorities for hiring.
Cost – There are many soft and hard costs related to recruiting and employing direct employees. Hard costs include labor related expenses such as benefits, required unemployment insurance and payroll costs (taxes/withholding/reporting), and the costs of HR/recruiting staff and systems. Soft costs include hiring manager time, on-boarding time, and delays in filling positions (lost project time). Contract workers are provided at a single, hourly rate that is less than hard costs for recruiting and avoids many soft costs.
Administration – Many smaller studios do not have full Human Resources staffs, and many larger studios have HR departments that are concerned with supporting employee engagement, permanent hiring and other initiatives. With contract employees, the staffing provider is responsible for all paperwork and administratively managing the contractor while on assignment, relieving the HR department and hiring managers or leads from this burden.
So don’t fear the possibility that someone will take secrets or use information against you. If you hire the right talent, permanent or temporary, they will be too busy working on your stuff to think about their last job and might bring a diverse range of experiences and talent that helps take your game or studio to the next level.