Per Diem Your Employee Pipeline in Business and at Work


I can trace my entrepreneur roots back to 1989, when I replaced my friend Deb in her Director of Publications job for an Association Management firm. Deb left the job to start her own boutique public relations and advertising firm. And since Deb’s old job paid $27,000 a year and I had student loans to repay, I appreciated that Deb subsequently and periodically used me as a copy writer on a per project / per diem basis.

I started my HR career at GE at the end of 1989, however over the years I periodically worked as a copy writer for Deb until I reached a level in my HR career and my family life (e.g., the birth of our son Noah), when we were making enough money at our day jobs and we needed the spare time for our family. That extra money definitely helped with the down payment on our first (and current) house. The most significant aspect of my experience as a per diem copy writer was the opportunity to work on writing projects for Deb that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience.  I wrote press releases, magazine articles and brochures for a wide variety of clients in a wide variety of industries in the evenings and weekends outside of my primary job’s work hours. It gave me an equally varied and substantial work sample portfolio. In return, Deb was able to expand the copy writing capabilities of her firm without taking on a full-time (or even part-time)  employee. As time went on, we got to know each other well enough that I could deliver copy product without too much work direction. We contemplated at one point having me join her firm as a partner or an employee; however, the timing was never right for either of us.

While not all organizations in all work functions are ideally structured to work with per diem / project-based employees who are available to take on project work in the evenings and/or weekends after their full-time primary jobs, the upside benefits are clear and multiple:

  • It’s a win-win scenario that is so much more data-laden than a traditional interview process. Your company pays to get company work accomplished via an adjunct team mate, while you get to know them, the quality of their work and how well they fit in (or not) with the rest of your team;
  • Your project-based employee gets to evaluate you and your company along the same data points;
  • If there isn’t a long-term fit, your company gets key work accomplished in the short-term, and the project-based employee gains key experience and earns some money in the process;
  • If there is a long-term fit (skills, cultural, work that supports company stratetgic goals, etc.), everyone involved (you, the company and your project-based employee) will have gained that first-hand knowledge together;
  • With multiple projects / business needs, it allows you and your organization to build a candidate / employee pipeline in multiple meaningful / relationship-building ways – which is also great branding / co-branding.

How will you per diem your employee pipeline to support the success of all involved, in business and at work?

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