If you’ve decided to go the route of hiring interim workers, you probably know there can be pluses and minuses to such staffers. On the positive side, these temporary employees can be more affordable than permanent staffers—and can also fill some personnel gaps quite adeptly while you continue to seek out the ideal long-term professional. Negatives can occasionally include a lack of commitment to your long-term goals and perhaps not being quite as motivated to succeed beyond the minimum requirements you’re paying them for on a weekly or hourly basis.
How can you get around these issues and others to get the most out of your temporary staffers? Here are a few quick tips for optimizing their efficiency.
TREAT THEM LIKE ONE OF THE TEAM
While they may never end up being permanent staff members, try to treat your temp workers just like part of the team. Include them in meetings (unless there is good reason not to), ask them how their weekend was, give them lots of constructive feedback, and so forth. Ideally, you’d like to have your interim staffers bringing the same kind of commitment and effort to the table as your regular staff; that won’t happen if you treat them more like substitute fill-ins than real employees.
Communication with your employees is always crucial, and probably even more so with your interim workers. By definition they haven’t been as immersed in company policy, work philosophy, and just the general way things work as your long-time workers. The idea isn’t so much as ‘micromanaging’ them—which no one really appreciates—but to provide ongoing support, clarification and whatever tools they need to succeed.
SET CLEAR SHORT-TERM GOALS
No employee can hit the target if they’re not sure what the bulls-eye is, and setting clear goals for temp staffers should be done on a regular basis. Unlike permanent staff, which might have quarterly/annual goals they need to reach, interim workers should be provided with much more immediate targets to work towards. If there are daily or weekly expectations you have in mind, make sure to inform them. If time allows, hold a short Monday morning meet every week to clarify exactly what you need done.
By bringing in temp workers and offering them the possibility of growing into a permanent role, you’ll provide them with added motivation, make them feel more like a part of the team, and likely see more commitment to your company’s culture and vision. It’s also a good, relatively risk-free way to give someone a ‘try-out’ for the team.
REWARD HARD WORK
Companies typically have some kind of rewards and/or incentives for their regular employees because they are effective in spurring better production and cultivating satisfied workers. Why not reward your best interim workers in similar fashion, even if it’s just a pared-down or less-formal version of your regular bonus system? Even small rewards can pay off big, as it shows workers you care and gives them extra goals to shoot for.
GIVE THEM THE TOOLS TO SUCCEED
When working under the pressure of immediate goals, there is nothing more frustrating than ultra-slow PCs, printers that don’t cooperate, faulty phone lines or whatever other resources on hand which are actually intended to boost production. Spend the necessary time and money to ensure that your tech and tools are up to speed, or it’s easy for workers to feel like they’re being asked to run while their shoes are nailed to the floor.
CREATE STAFF SYNERGY
Temporary workers are often brought onboard to assist and support permanent staff. If that’s the case with your organization, hold some pre-emptive meetings to see exactly what your regular employees want most from their interim colleagues. What specific skills do they see as being most-critical to these support roles, and what kind of work style will match the permanent worker’s approach best? This is just a simple example, but bringing in someone with a haphazard approach to support another somewhat unorganized individual might result in some serious chaos.
The bottom line is that there innumerable interim staffers out there with the skills and experience to succeed. But even the very best of them will perform even better when provided with clear goals, the tools to thrive, and the incentive and encouragement to shoot for the sky.