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Temporary employees – maximizing the productivity of your temps


Temporary employees - maximizing the productivity of your tempsTemporary employees have a huge influence on the success of a company. In today’s fast-paced business environment, hiring temps – temporary project professionals – is an integral part of a company’s ability to remain competitive. By hiring temporary employees, you can staff strategically to accommodate workload peaks and valleys, turning your biggest fixed cost – labour – into a variable expense. And, by bringing in temporary professionals on an as-needed basis, you also maintain productivity and avoid burnout among your full-time staff.

Get more from your temporary employees

However, as you can with any new hire, you can maximize a project employee’s contributions with a little extra effort on your part. Here’s how you can make sure your temporary professional hits the ground running:

• Know what you want.
It’s critical that a temporary professional has the skills and experience necessary to complete assigned projects. Hiring someone who is not qualified for the job will cost you time and money, so provide your staffing firm with a clear description of what is required. If necessary, request background information about the person’s industry-specific knowledge and familiarity with certain software applications.

• Provide an orientation.
Make sure the project professional feels welcome on his first day. Prepare a workspace and set up a computer before he arrives. Provide him with an overview about such details as security procedures, parking and lunch hours. Alert your staff members ahead of time that the new employee will be joining the team, and ask each person to introduce themselves. Review the job description and goals of the assignment with the project professional and ensure that he knows to whom to report and how his work will be evaluated.

• Communicate frequently.
Check in with the temporary employee regularly to make sure she has a clear sense of direction on her projects, and to offer feedback on what she’s doing right or wrong. Just as you would praise an internal employee, let the project worker know when she is doing a good job. She’ll respond to the same motivational methods as your full-time employees and will be encouraged to do the best work possible. If a problem area emerges, offer thoughtful and diplomatic suggestions on how she might improve or change her approach.

• Create a team-oriented culture.
Invite temporary staff members to regular team meetings, parties and events to ensure they feel included. It’s also beneficial to let project employees know how their jobs relate to the overall goals of the department. Maintain an open-door policy and tell them that you’re available to discuss their questions and concerns.

• Assign an advisor.
Consider pairing a project professional with a mentor, an experienced employee who can answer specific questions and provide guidance. Offer training where needed, and encourage the temporary employee to take initiative and think creatively with his projects.

• Offer feedback.
Let the staffing service know about the temporary employee’s job performance, good or bad. If he is doing an outstanding job, tell the agency. You might want to request him for future assignments. Similarly, if his performance is below your expectations, you should notify the firm and ask for a replacement.

• Conduct an exit interview.
You can learn valuable information by interviewing a project professional before she leaves. In an exit interview, ask her what worked well on the job and what could be improved upon — this will help you the next time you bring in a temporary employee. And, because she’s working with your full-time staff each day, she may be able to provide some insight into their morale. For example, she could let you know if a team member she worked with seemed overwhelmed by the number of projects she was handling.

Temporary professionals are an essential part of a company’s staffing strategy. By maximizing their potential, your company keeps the productivity and dedication high among your full-time employees — while maintaining the flexibility to respond to the ups and downs of business cycles.

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