Maximize Performance of Temporary Help

Many firms hire temporary employees in the summer, or at other times of the year when the workload is heavier than usual. Time and resources for training temporary help are at a premium. Employers want to see productivity from temporary workers and temporary workers want to learn as much as possible - all in a relatively short amount of time. So how can you best take advantage of the time available?

Here are some guidelines that will help everyone benefit from a temporary working experience:

  • Make the Experience Efficient. Provide temporary employees with written instructions for every task and a phone list of company employees who are available to help with particular questions. Not only will the employee have instructions to refer to, the employer will have taken the time to crystallize expectations so that everyone knows the job requirements. Also provide a detailed list of things the temporary employee is not to do. This will ensure that the temporary employee doesn't waste time attempting tasks for which training is not to be provided.
  • Protect Information Systems. If the temporary employee will be using office computers, instructions should be provided regarding where company documents can be found, and where newly created files are to be stored. Also provide a list of rules regarding appropriate computer and Internet use, and be sure to disclose any e-mail monitoring policies that are in place.
  • Protect Client Relationships. If temporary employees will have contact with clients, make sure the employees understand expectations regarding manners, demeanor, dress code, and so on.
  • Protect Business Interests. Don't put your company at risk by taking shortcuts when it comes to rules for hiring. Resist the temptation to treat temporary employees as independent contractors. Withhold taxes, pay appropriate unemployment insurance, and file all required tax forms with state and federal authorities.
  • Provide Adequate Supervision. Remember that a temporary employee does not have the in-depth knowledge of the company shared by regular full-time workers. Nor will the temporary employee necessarily have the company loyalty one can expect from full-time staff. Employers should continuously remember to make certain that temporary employees are aware of expectations regarding their performance and that they are meeting those expectations.
  • Say "Thank you!" Just because a temporary employee will soon be gone is no reason not to appropriately reward desired performance. Employers should take the time to let temporary employees know how much they are appreciated. Such recognition will generally result in higher productivity. Temporary employees should remember to thank employers for the opportunity to work and learn. Contacts built in temporary situations frequently result in long-term relationships that can be beneficial to both parties in the future.

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