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Building a Successful Work Culture with Temporary Employees

Gig workers. Independent contractors and consultants. Freelancers. Has your business employed the services of one of these? If you haven’t yet, it is likely that you will in the future. According to a study conducted by Intuit, by 2020 over 40% of American workers will be contingent employees.

During our 25 years of working in the staffing industry, we’ve seen many companies successfully integrate the temporary hire into their workforce. We’ve also witnessed colossal failures. So, what do you need to do to ensure your experience is a win-win for your organization and the temporary (contingent) employee?

Treat them as your own.

The actions you take will either build a cohesive team or drive a wedge between temporary and permanent employees. Engage your contingent employee in the same manner as you would your full-timers. This means including them in:

  • Team Building Programs
  • Training – Leadership & Job Related
  • Incentives – Bonuses, Increases, PTO & other benefits
  • Parties – Invite them to company events, cookouts, and holiday parties

If you are concerned about co-employment issues and responsibilities, you needn’t be. The general rule is if a temporary employee works under your roof and takes direction from you, they are co-employed.

Unlike your product, your labor force isn’t a commodity and shouldn’t be treated as such. Remember, we are talking about people, so treat everyone with equal respect.  Consider this:

  • It will help if you can balance your labor needs throughout the year
  • If you do need to let people go because of production declines, make certain you tell them they are wanted back when business picks up again
  • Your reputation as a company suffers – and can haunt you in future hiring – if you treat temporary employees as expendable.

Keep in mind; this is the age of social media sharing and online reviews on employment sites such as Glassdoor.

Pay competitive wages.

Is it a challenge to find – and then keep – people? Is productivity suffering because of this turnover? Perhaps, you need to look at your pay scale.

The old mentality is that you hire a worker (temporary or permanent) at a lower wage and monitor their performance. A higher pay rate is only available if they earn it. This angle may sound fair to you as an employer. However…

  • This doesn’t work in the new labor force
  • Today’s job seeker, even in general labor, has the leverage
  • Thirty-one percent of temporary workers have quit a job early – the top reason being they were offered a better job that paid more (Source: North America Temporary Workers Survey 2017 by Staffing Industry Analysts)

To combat the trend of job-hopping, employers are finding success by:

  • Paying a competitive wage up front
  • Setting expectations at the beginning
  • Holding the employees accountable through consistent supervision, structured training and a review program that is communicated clearly

By communicating expectations and letting employees know that there will be someone else filling their spot if they don’t fulfill the requirements, the employer regains their leverage.

Diversify the workplace.

More than a fad or a buzzword, diversity in the workplace communicates a more welcoming environment. A diverse workplace will promote and be accepting of a healthy mix of race, gender, and sexual orientation of employees. With a mixture of full-time and temporary workers, management needs to facilitate and encourage teamwork between everyone.

The result?

This type of diverse workforce will be more likely to welcome new employees to their ranks, another important step to reduce turnover. Workforce engagement means engaging all workers. When you successfully accomplish this, employee turnover diminishes and productivity increases. This is the scenario to strive for, and one in which we can all prosper.
We have other suggestions, for you, too. Call us at 630.377.1001 to learn more.