A Temp is not Just a Temp
by Pamela Poole – Director – Workforce Planning & Development, SRG
In today’s labour market, most companies would agree that hiring on their own can be a daunting and difficult task. Many use staffing services, often filling their workforce gaps with contingent/temporary workers. In fact, nearly 4000 businesses in Canada use staffing services to supplement their current workforce.
Using temporary workers can be a strategic advantage, with millions of baby boomers continuing to retire and leaving the workforce. For those businesses that have changing production needs, seasonal fluctuations and peak periods, the flexibility of temporary workers can be a huge benefit. These are just a few of the potential advantages of integrating temporary workers into the workplace. Despite many positives, sometimes it can be a very negative experience for a temporary worker if the company is not properly prepared to embrace them.
In considering the use of a staffing service and temporary workers, the following guidelines can help you to turn a negative experience into a positive and make sure that your workers don’t feel like ‘just a temp’:
- Take the time to develop a proper orientation process for all temporary workers starting at your company. Who will meet them upon arrival and make them feel welcome? Who will provide them with a detailed tour of the facility and their work station area? Always remember that the first impression can be a lasting one for the temporary worker.
- Consider the title and how you address a temporary worker. At SRG, we don’t refer to temporary workers as ‘Temps’; rather we use the words ‘Team Member’. Why does a temporary worker have to be labelled as a temp when they are often expected to do the same work as a full-time employee at the company? Starting a new position can be a nerve wracking experience on its own, let alone having a stigma attached to the position as well. How would you feel if that was you? Would you want to be referred to as ‘just a temp’?
- Assign mentors/role models to work with your temporary workers. Those responsible for onboarding the temporary workers should identify tenured, role model employees to train and mentor them. They are deserving of the same training that any full-time employee would receive. Pairing a strong mentor with a temporary worker also ensures that they are integrated properly into the workplace. It is critical that all employees of the company respect the temporary workers and understand their importance and contributions to the company.
- Create an environment that fosters inclusivity. If there is an employee event, group luncheon or company meeting, be sure to include all workers, rather than excluding those that are temporary. It is demotivating to see those around you participating in special events that you are not a part of even though you are doing the very same work as they are.
- Your workers are your best referrals. Remember that every employee, whether they are full-time or temporary, are a great referral source for other employees. Keep in mind that if they have a good experience, they’ll tell others, but if they have a poor experience, they’ll tell everyone! Foster a positive company culture – always.
- Promote internal postings. Be sure to showcase growth opportunities within the company and share internal postings. Your temporary workers may have specialized skillsets that are needed to fill employee gaps or permanent positions. Don’t underestimate their capabilities.
- Engage your temporary employees. Those that feel trusted, respected and appreciated are usually more engaged, happier and productive. Let temporary workers know that they matter and are valued for what they bring to the table.
Many temporary workers have the opportunity to be hired on at their assignments. Year-to-date SRG has had 596 Team Members hired on at our clients’ facilities, confirming they were the ‘right fit’ for the responsibilities of the role. We’ve also witnessed many success stories of Team Members starting in entry level positions and growing within the company into Team Leaders, Plant Supervisors, Office Administrators, Health and Safety Representatives and many more. By removing the obstacles, these individuals have succeeded to become productive members of organizations.
All workers should be treated with equality. A temp is not ‘just a temp’. They are a contributing team member and employee and will excel if only given the opportunity.