Temporary employees – or temps as they’re commonly known – come in a number of different forms that include on-hired workers (labour hire workers), contract workers, and direct-hire temps. Once you’ve decided to add temporary workers to your workforce, you will need to manage them effectively to ensure that you get the most out of them.

Managing temporary workers can be quite challenging as the rules and expectations differ significantly from those for managing permanent employees. With temps, you will need to figure out how to keep employees who will be working for you for a short duration of time interested, motivated, and excited about their job.

Because of the short tenures of temporary employees, many managers assume that they do not need to tend to them as they would their permanent employees. And while there’s some degree of truth to this notion, it does not mean that you should go completely hands-free with your temps. You will still need to actively and thoughtfully manage these workers to ensure that you get the best output from them and their experience working for you is pleasant – especially if you’d like to work with them again in the future.

So how do you manage your temporary workers to make sure they deliver the calibre and volume of work you hired them to do?

Here’re some tips to guide you:

1. Create a clear action plan.

Before you bring in temporary workers, make sure you address the following questions:

  • How long will the temp be working for you?
  • What is the scope of their responsibilities?
  • How can you convey this information (from the second question) accurately and succinctly to a person who’s unfamiliar with your company?

Temporary work requires individuals to be able to move as smoothly as possible from one role to another and quickly learn what’s expected of them. To facilitate this smooth transition, make sure you provide your temps with all the information regarding the job you are assigning them to.

While you wouldn’t want to overwhelm your temps with information, you’d want them to be armed for success. As such, you need to clearly articulate your expectations to your temps. Don’t just say it to them, put it down on paper as well so that they can review the processes, parameters, and responsibilities related to their job whenever they need to.

2. Treat your temps like you do your employees.

Some years back, “temps” might have been thought of as mindless drones clocking in and out, or viewed as young people in search of money who are not invested in their day job. This is, however, no longer the case. A lot of intelligent and engaged individuals are choosing temporary work for the variety and flexibility it offers, to enhance their networking prospects, and/or to get exposure to new ideas and industries.

For this reason, it’s important that you make it rewarding for the temps to work in your company as their contributions are important. This means including them in correspondences and meetings that are related to their jobs – instead of limiting the conversation to your full-time employees. Keep in mind that temps are especially reliant on the information provided to them as they lack prior history of your company that they can base decisions on while conducting their work.

Additionally, you should also include your temps in any activities and events undertaken in the workplace. Simple things like asking them to sign a birthday card for a co-worker or inviting them to a team lunch can really help them feel part of the group. Even if they decline the offer, the gesture still helps them feel included which could see them putting more effort into their assigned tasks.

3. Solicit input from your temps

Because temps are constantly moving from company to company and from project to project, they tend to amass quite a significant amount of diverse skills and experience. Temps could possess other useful skills (apart from what you hired them for) and ideas that could be of benefit to your business.

To tap into these additional skillsets and information, you will need to talk to your temporary workers. Ask them about their previous work experiences and dig deeper on things that correlate with what your company is involved in.

You can also ask for the temps’ input when appropriate to get fresh ideas as well as to have a new perspective on things. In doing this, your temps can act as your own in-house focus group that helps you make better decisions. It will also make your temps feel valued – something that will help boost their morale.

4. Provide mentorship.

Your temporary employees, similar to your full-time staffers, are eager to develop their careers. So instead of keeping them at arm’s length, you should engage with them and act as their mentor.

Provide guidance relevant to the business, give constructive feedback, answer their questions and assist them in trying out new things – even at the risk of failure. You’ll find that this kind of interaction makes your temporary employees more satisfied with their job, engaged and more productive – which are all pluses for you.

5. Build a relationship.

Although your engagement with a temporary worker will be naturally limited to a short period of time, it doesn’t mean that all your interactions with them should be purely transactional. Get to know a little bit about your temporary employees. Inquire about their out-of-work interests, their families as well as their career ambitions. This shows your temps that you actually care about them which can increase their dedication.

In conclusion

Managing temporary workers might be quite different to what you are used to, but that doesn’t mean you deny them the same direction and attention you accord your full-time staffers. After all, for temps to actually help achieve your company’s goals, they need to be just as productive as your regular staff – if not more.

Other than the temporary nature of their engagement, temporary employees are very similar to your full-time employees in that they need proper management to ensure that they’re productive. So, to get the most out of your temporary employees, provide effective management of them to ensure both the business and the temps benefit from the arrangement.

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