Treat Your Temps Like Part of the Team


by David Gee, Staffing Talk

temp picRegardless of who we are, what we do and how much we make when we’re making stuff at work, everyone wants to feel valued, right? So whether we’re talking temps, perms, consultants, or anything and everything in-between, it’s essential for employers to recognize the connection between the well-being of its workers and their performance.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), feeling valued is, not surprisingly, a  key indicator of job performance.  Workers who feel valued are more likely to be engaged in their work and feel satisfied and motivated.

Workers who feel valued by their employers are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work.

Brian Kopp, managing director in the human resources practice at the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), a research and advisory services firm, says when it comes to the way temps are treated organizations need to rethink their approach. “If you treat them as ‘hired help,’ then they will behave as ‘hired help.’”

A friend of mine who owns a contract manufacturing firm specializing in precision plastics, takes care to tell his temps as much about what they are working on as possible.

“Even if all they are doing is grinding and polishing single sheets of material all day long, I’ll have the shop foreman show them the finished product, say a make-up display, and explain how and where it might be used,” says my friend. “It always amazes how much more valued workers feel, temps included, if you give them the context of the tasks you set out for them so they can understand the bigger picture.”

“Workers feel more valued if you give them the context of their tasks so they can understand the bigger picture.”

So what else can you do? Jeffrey A. Jolton, Ph.D., is the Director of Consulting at Kenexa, overseeing the development and thought leadership for many of Kenexa’s largest global survey and organization research projects. He has some tips in this piece called “Valuing vs. Recognizing Employees:”

  • Encourage involvement—actively solicit people’s thoughts

  • Recognize real contributions—when someone does something exceptional, let them know

  • Allow open expression—let people feel free and safe to express their opinions

  • Show respect—treat people as you want to be treated

  • Empower decision making—give people input into the decisions that affect their work

  • Discuss expectations and responsibility—let people know how to add value to their job

  • Encourage growth and development—actively work to help strengthen workers’ skill sets

  • Be fair—have transparent and clear performance evaluation

Clearly setting out the objectives of what your temps are to achieve can also allow them to monitor their own progress and create shared accountability for their performance. This may be of particular value with younger workers.

Clearly set out the objectives of what your temps are to achieve.

As far as regularly communicating with workers, temps included, there are software solutions available to make it easier for employers to do that.

TempWorks WebCenter employee portals for example lets workers view company announcements and messages from a personalized homepage, perform searches for open job positions, etc.

Staying with the topic of communication, temps who may be going through a series of short-term engagements may also begin to suffer from an inherent engagement deficit, so offering feedback can help put some more productivity back into their performance.

Whether you are hiring someone for a day, a week, a year, or longer, employers typically get what they give. By making your workers feel more valued, you’re very likely to see that reflected back in higher levels of performance on the job.


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