General or Specialist Temps, Which Way do You Go?


There’s a misconception around temps and temporary staffing. These colleagues are often thought of as generalists and perhaps not the best quality colleagues. Some employers look at temps as the people left behind, those who were not deemed good enough for a permanent role.

Not only is this a gross oversight, but it’s an outlook that could be damaging to your membership business.

Temporary and interim staff are a huge part of the UK economy, fulfilling vital roles at all levels and across all industries. In fact, over 1.7 million temporary workers* were estimated to be out in force at the end of last year.

That’s 1.7 million people helping fill the gaps, jumping in to do jobs at short notice, often with little training about the organisation in question. In short, these temporary roles have helped keep the country moving over the last few years, especially when confidence in hiring for permanent roles was low.

Carving a Temp Career

Temporary staffing goes beyond a few weeks of holiday cover. Whilst that can still be crucial in a fast-moving organisation, temporary work is a broad term also covering interim and project-based work. Many temporary staff and interim contractors have carved a career from their niche. They are often specialists in their sector and represent excellent value for money for the skill level and knowledge you’ll receive.

Think about Project Managers who might take a year-long assignment to roll out new software across a company or Finance Directors who specifically take an organisation through a strategic growth period or buy out.

Not just temps, but Membership Specialist Temps

Temporary staff can indeed be generalists with a broad range of skills gathered from working in a range of environments. There are pluses to using generalist temps, of course, but if you can find a specialist who understands the intricacies of your organisation, then the plus points become even greater.

Pros of Generalist Temps

Working with temporary staff who have a broad range of experience, including from beyond the Membership sector, can bring a diversity of ideas. We wouldn’t dare say that some membership organisations can be a little staid or slow to adapt to change (we know some of you are exciting and diverse places to work!), but outside experience can bring in fresh ideas and skills.

Generalist temps are often adaptable, and since they have worked in multiple roles in multiple companies, they are often incredibly flexible and resilient. When change is the norm, having people around who can dive in quickly is incredibly useful.

Plus, using a generalist might work better with your budget. However, there is that old adage that you can have things done quickly, done cheaply or done well – but you can only pick two.

Pros of Specialist temps

Specialist Membership sector temps understand the nuances of your organisation. Regardless of whether you are a political party, a trade association or a professional or regulatory body, hiring someone on a temporary or interim basis who can hit the ground running on Day one makes all the difference.

Specialists will typically require less training. You’ll have to introduce them to key members of staff, go through company procedures and run through the usual onboarding information, of course. But these colleagues have the skills and expertise to jump straight in. Plus, they can often complete projects more quickly and either train other members of the team or start on the next project.

Using specialist temps can be the difference between your Memberships events running seamlessly or your renewals getting out the door on time versus dealing with the headaches that the opposite can bring.

You will also find that specialist interim staff can often help increase your staff retention rates. Having colleagues in your team who are there to specifically deliver a project or help ease the pressure on your existing team has knock-on positive effects. Your existing team has the breathing space to focus on their role and will appreciate the extra support – ultimately saving you time and investment in recruitment costs in the long term.

Specialist Temp Case Study

At Membership Bespoke, we work with a tried and trusted bank of temporary and interim candidates. We recently worked with a Healthcare Membership body to appoint a temporary Membership Renewal Executive. For three months, this colleague supported the team with delivering 15,000 member renewals, ensuring payments were completed, enquiries were fielded, and the retention rates of members remained consistent.

What could a Membership Specialist temp do for your organisation?

Contact the Membership Bespoke team today for a no-obligation discussion.

*source Statista