Managing temporary staff alongside a conventional workforce is becoming common practice in the prevailing economy. With seasonal markets bringing a rush of customers to serve and services to render, occasional projects requiring specialist or additional hands, and skills shortages afflicting certain industries, businesses of all kinds may need to employ temporary staff, at one time or another.
The globalisation of the enterprise – including the recruitment market – means that businesses now have a wider scope than ever, when it comes to sourcing talented professionals or eager newcomers for short-term employment contracts.
But taking on temporary workers creates specific concerns for business owners, who may find themselves having to act as ad hoc managers and occasional mentors for these short-term hires.
In this article, we’ll be offering seven tips for businesses having to come to terms with managing temporary staff.
1. Have A Plan – And Communicate It
As a manager or business owner, you’re best placed to know the human resource needs and skill-set requirements of your organisation over a given period. And one of the first things that you’ll need to do before taking on additional staff is determining:
- How many new people you need
- What skills they should have
- What their duties and responsibilities will be with regard to your ongoing operations or any new projects they’ll be involved with
- What equipment or resources they’ll be given access to
- How much they’ll be paid
- What kind of hours they’ll be working
These all need to be established before the recruitment and hiring process – and the conditions relevant to your temporary staff’s terms of service will need to be spelled out to them, preferably in writing.
2. Make Them Welcome
Even if they’ll only be with you for a few days or weeks, take the time to make your temporary hires feel welcome. Have a formal introduction and orientation day, where they can meet the people they’ll be working with, familiarise themselves with your business environment, absorb its culture and get used to the work space and materials that they’ll be using.
3. Give Them the Tools They Need
When managing temporary staff, it’s important to provide all the materials and information that they will need to get started, straight away – and instructions or guidance on how to get more when they need it.
On the digital front, have your IT division supervise the allocation of the hardware, software and access rights they’ll need to do their jobs effectively.
For communication purposes, you need not issue temporary workers with a company-owned phone as there are other options available – such as a virtual business phone system like Swytch, which enables companies to acquire registered business telephone numbers that are allocated and provisioned from the cloud, and can be assigned to a worker’s personal device.
4. Keep Them in the Loop
As work progresses and conditions change, you’ll need to keep your temporary employees appraised of new developments as much as your long-term staff. So don’t forget to include temps in your mailing lists for time-table adjustments, changing job specifications, or whatever else might be relevant.
Your general office “grapevine” should not exclude temporary staff from vital memos and communications, either. And involving your short-term hires in the life of the enterprise should extend beyond the office or factory floor. If there are social events, training programmes, or meetings that temporary staff may attend without compromising corporate security, they should be invited to these, as well.
5. Benefit from Their Fresh Perspective
In addition to the specific skill-sets or personal qualities that induced you to hire them in the first place, temporary workers (especially those with some experience of having served in various positions and/or at various establishments) can bring a fresh set of eyes and a unique viewpoint to the perception of your enterprise.
This may include not only their perspectives on the job they have at hand, but their “outsider’s” view of your situation with regard to working practices, corporate culture and the marketplace in general. So it’s worth soliciting their opinions, and creating channels to receive their input on various issues.
6. Make Repeat Business a Possibility
Not all temporary workers will be a good “fit” for your organisation – or necessarily be ideal performers in the job that they’ve been hired for. But for those who are (and may not be prepared to take on a permanent position with you), offering the possibility of a repeat engagement somewhere down the line is a wise investment in the future.
You should also be prepared to provide testimonials or references for workers who ask for them – or to make recommendations to partners or affiliate organisations you feel would benefit from their services.
7. Make Permanence an Option
If the workers are amenable to the idea, and you’re of the view that they would make a valuable permanent addition to your enterprise, then the prospect of a full-time job with your organisation should be put on the table.
Problems of physical/geographical distance have historically been a factor in hindering permanent moves – but with the globalised workforces of today, this need no longer be an issue. With online communications and phenomena such as the allocation of business phone numbers, email and voicemail accounts from the cloud (as seen with services like virtual numbers from Swytch), the expansion of your workforce can take place both in terms of numbers and geographical spread.
With these recommendations in mind, monitoring and managing temporary staff at your organisation should prove to be a stress-free and rewarding experience for all concerned.