Temporary employees have long played an important role in the American workplace. Whether filling in for someone on medical leave, picking up slack during a particularly busy time, or bringing special expertise to a long-term assignment, “temps” definitely have a place in today’s business world.
With no promise of long-term employment and no benefits, temps are often not motivated to give an assignment their all. As a result, they may not provide the same level of customer service, attention to detail, or commitment as a permanent employee.
While it may be easy to brush aside such concerns, confident that it doesn’t matter whether a temporary employee is truly engaged, there is one unavoidable reason why it’s important to strive for a motivated temp: the potential impact on the rest of the workforce. When one person is unhappy, you run the risk that everyone who comes into contact with them will become unhappy. When the overall productivity of your workforce is affected, you may start having problems.
Fortunately, there are several ways to motivate your temporary workers to be more productive and efficient on the job:
1) Plan Your Temp Hire Carefully – You may not plan on bringing someone onboard for the long haul, but that’s no reason to make hiring decisions carelessly. Before you hire anyone, determine what skills will be needed and then work with an experienced staffing agency to establish a suitable salary and identify potential candidates.
2) Treat Them Like An Employee, Not a Second Class Citizen – Set aside the fact that this person is likely to be onsite for just one day, one week, one month, one whatever. Properly orient them to the workplace and show them where they can find the lunch room, the bathroom, the copier, just as you would any other employee. Refrain from referring to them as “the temp” when introducing them to their new colleagues. Introduce them by name and briefly describe the duties they will be handling.
3) Make Them Feel Like Part of the Team – Whenever possible, include temporary workers in staff and departmental meetings. You don’t want to give them access to sensitive or confidential information, but you should incorporate them into the overall goings-on of the organization. Include them in workplace celebrations and encourage co-workers to invite them to participate in after work activities.
4) Provide Feedback – Just because someone is only going to be with you for a short time doesn’t mean you can avoid giving them performance reviews. Temporary workers, in particular, may need additional feedback because they are perpetually the new guy (or gal). Without an honest and open assessment of how they are doing, they may feel uncomfortable and ill-at-ease. Worse yet, they may continue performing a particular duty the wrong way, not knowing any better. Give frequent feedback with regard to every aspect of their performance and be sure to recognize any outstanding achievements.
Even as the economy recovers, temp workers are here to stay. Whether filling in for a worker on leave or part of a greater strategic staffing plan, temps are a permanent fixture in the American workplace. If you need assistance finding qualified temporary workers or would like to secure a temp position for yourself, contact Peoplelink. We have the expertise to help you with all your staffing needs.