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8/16/2016 11:16:39 AM

Getting the most from your temporary worker

Got a project that needs someone’s sole attention? Perhaps you just need to alleviate pressure on your team during a busy time? Hiring a temporary worker could be your solution.

Increasingly, temporary staff are making up a vital part of the workforce - plugging skills gaps, covering long-term absences, even helping organisations grow and expand - and with over 2.7 million individuals opting for temporary work over permanent employment, businesses are also beginning to see the benefits of utilising this transient but highly-skilled workforce in a jobs market woefully lacking in suitable permanent candidates.

If you’ve used ‘temps’ in the past or are considering using them for the first time, your primary concern will be getting the most out of them during their sojourn with your business. If you’re concerned about the loyalty, productivity or adaptability of your temp, don’t be. There are certain steps you as an employer can take to ensure your organisation gets the most from any temporary worker, regardless of whether the contract lasts days, months or even years.

Pave the way for your temp

Permanent employees can feel threatened by the introduction of temporary or contract workers if they’re unsure why the decision has been made to take someone on. This can lead to a decrease in morale and productivity plus it can make employees feel very uncomfortable in the workplace. Before your temporary worker commences their assignment, inform existing staff about their arrival and explain how, why and where they will be used.

Encourage your employees to greet temporary workers warmly, treating them with respect at all times. Ask them to respond to any enquiries or requests made by the temporary worker promptly. Even if it’s just for a short time, you and your employees can make it worth every moment.

Put out the Welcome Mat 

This seems like common sense and common courtesy, but many temporary workers report never actually having met their line manager during a contract! Introduce your temp to their line manager and team, show them around the workplace and ensure they receive any H&S or Fire Safety Training as required.

If you start your working relationship on a good footing, your temp is more likely to want to do a good job for you.

Tell them where they stand

Much of the time, temporary staff are brought into ‘pick up the slack’, taking on any and every job that’s been neglected or left overdue. This tactic isn’t necessarily the most effective, though. It often leads to temporary staff quickly finishing small tasks and twiddling their thumbs. Having to constantly ask “what can I do now?” gets tiresome and a little awkward, plus they will soon become demotivated.

It’s perfectly alright to expect a temporary worker to support your existing team as and when, but ensure they are allocated a particular role or set of responsibilities that can be reverted to. The last thing you want is a breeding resentment with your existing team if they see someone sat down being paid for doing, well, not very much.

Invite them in

Many temporary workers report feelings of isolation or a sense of being a 'second-class citizen' in their roles. Feelings such as these will encourage neither loyalty nor productivity!

Introduce temps to co-workers and supervisors, pair them up with a ‘buddy’, or create teams of permanent and temporary workers for events or tasks. This helps temps feel like valued members of the team plus it cultivates camaraderie between staff at all levels.

You never know, in the none too distant future you may find yourself in need of a new member permanent member of staff and having someone who already fits the bill is such an asset!

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