How to get the best out of your temporary workers
By: Claire, redwigwam
You've decided to take on temporary workers.
Whatever the reason, you have temporary staff on your team and you need to make sure you are getting the best out of this work situation.
Below are some things to think about, especially when temporary staff first join, that will help to get the best out of your workers.
Treat them with respect
This is the most vital thing you can do when a temporary worker starts with your company. People do temporary work for many different reasons, so comments like “They're just the temp” should not be allowed in your office.
Everyone who works for your company is there to work. You should treat all members of staff with respect; whoever they are and whatever their work background.
I worked for several companies as a temporary staff member where temps were treated as a second class citizen. As you can imagine, I took my useful skills elsewhere, as they obviously didn’t want them enough if they couldn’t even treat us fairly.
Don’t underestimate their skills
Leading on from the last paragraph, make sure you do not underestimate your temps. When people hear “Temporary Staff member”, some people seem to draw the conclusion that all these staff are inexperienced.
On the contrary, there are some people that temp when they have just come straight out of education and with very few office skills. However, you have quite a few temps who are highly experienced in their fields of interest and are merely looking for a little bit of extra work or a change of scene.
If you are unsure of your temps' full range of skills, why not offer them a cup of tea and have a chat with them about what else they have done. You may find there are skills you wish to utilise, that you were unaware anyone in the current team had experience in.
Don’t shy away from eagerness
When new staff start, temporary or otherwise, some people can be very eager to get stuck into their new role.
Do not squash this.
Some managers or long-term staff, who maybe do not love their jobs as much as they used to, can feel quite alien to this eagerness that new staff have. Eagerness is a great thing for people to have and can help bring new life into a team. These are staff that are desperate to learn and gain something from this job, however long their contract may be, so make use of this.
If you haven’t already, think of various things that the temporary staff member can assist with or small projects you can set them up on going forward.
The more you work with them and are attentive to their drive, the more you will get out of this working relationship.
Make them feel part of the team
I've worked in temporary offices where people have been forgotten about, cut out of team gatherings or sat with other temps in a corner out of the way of everyone else: There are some awful things that go on.
Make your temporary staff member part of the team and welcome: No one works well when they don’t feel wanted. Invite them to after-work drinks with the team or get them involved when a departmental celebration that’s coming up. Why would you want to continue working somewhere, if you never felt part of the team you were working with?
Care about their career progression
Some people that temp, are doing it to push their experience in a certain area and to move on up.
Give them the support and have progress meetings regularly with them, like you would with anyone else. These meetings will keep you up to date on what they are working on, what work you will be giving them next, whilst showing that you care about their work and well-being. These meetings also give you the chance to talk to them about what they want to do going forward and you should work on ways in which you can support their career goals: Training, tasks you can give them, advice of things they can be doing themselves.
I hope this has given you an idea of why it is so important to look after your temporary staff.
Asides from what the temp and the company get out of this in the short-term, on the long-term, you may find temporary staff that you wish to keep on as permanent staff, so you need to have treated them right from the outset or they might not stay.