Managing Employees

Get More From Temps, Your Company's Most Undervalued Asset

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Regina hired temps in the past and is considering bringing more into her company. Some were terrible while others turned into awesome full-time employees.

Regina never got to know the previous temps. Why talk to someone who is going to be gone in a few months? she thought. But Regina didn’t consider the benefits temporary employees bring to businesses:

The need for temp employees is expected to grow: A 2015 trends report from Deloitte University Press found 51 percent of respondents say their need for contingent workers will continue to grow over the next three to five years.

Temping prepares people for full-time employment: Nine out of 10 temporary employees surveyed stated temping made them more employable, according to an August 2014 report by the American Staffing Association.

Related: The Next Generation of Temp Agencies

Find your next all-star employee through temping: The American Staffing Association also discovered 35 percent of temp employees are offered full-time positions at the company they were temping for.

Ability to hire without fully committing: Hiring a new employee is a necessary but expensive risk. It costs a business 35 percent of an entry-level employee’s salary to replace them, based on Sage’s 2013 Return On Employment Investment Report.

Knowing these benefits, here’s how to get the most out of temporary employees:

1. Set clear performance expectations from the beginning.

Temp employees benefit from managers setting performance goals. Have a meeting with the temp to discuss all their responsibilities on their first day. Provide specific, attainable benchmarks.

Let temps know if there are opportunities for full-time employment. Set long-term goals for temps being considered for permanent positions.

Related: Hiring Temporary Employees

2. Assign buddies.

Temps often feel isolated. Assign full-time staff members to every new temp so they feel like a member of the team.

Regular staff members should show the temp around the office, offer to eat lunch with them and help get the temp acquainted with everyone. This will help regular employees get to know the temp just like they would any new staff member.    

3. Get an outsider’s perspective.

Full-time employees learn what the boss wants to hear rather than thinking outside the box. They grow accustomed to how things are usually done. Temp workers do not have these same restraints and can expand beyond traditional ideas.

Talk to them. Ask for their ideas on a regular basis, like any other member of the team. Have a large company? Use an app like Lunchpath, which makes it easy to schedule lunches with co-workers outside the immediate team.

Related: 3 Unorthodox Paths to Becoming a Better Boss

4. Present new learning opportunities.

No matter how long a temp works for the organization, they need the same training and learning opportunities as full-time employees.

Offer the basic training required for temps to perform their job, but also provide advanced training and responsibilities once they prove they can handle more. The right training may result in finding the next invaluable full-time employee.

5. Provide regular feedback.

Managers need to provide the same feedback to their temps as their full-time employees. Check in with temp workers to ensure they are completing their job correctly.

With regular feedback, temps are given the chance to correct their own mistakes and save a company’s time and money. Waiting to evaluate a temp’s work until the end of their position benefits no one.

6. Offer cash bonuses for outstanding performance.

Let temps know that if they reach all performance goals, they will receive a bonus. Many temps may won't have their next temp assignment lined up, so the extra money is the motivation they need to perform well.

Since the temp has likely been hired to cover for a regular staff member’s extended absence, additional bonuses could be for perfect attendance.

Related: Hiring and Orienting a New Employee