Utilizing the services of a Temporary employee can be incredibly beneficial to your team’s productivity and success. Finding the right resource, in this job market, is pretty easy. Getting a new person acclimated and up to speed is the challenge.
Some employers believe that when a Temp comes on board, it should be plug-and-play. The Temp should show up in the right place at the right time, get right to work, contribute exactly what is needed to the team or project, and that’s that. No support necessary. Let’s rethink this idea. For a few seconds, imagine how it feels when you come into a new environment and want to feel welcome, be acclimated quickly, find and embrace your niche. You’re the new kid here. Do you want to be left to your own devices, or would some help make it easier on you (and everyone around you)?
In our experience, our clients’ state of preparation when contracting a Temp has a strong influence on the assignment’s success. If a client has not prepared for a Temp’s arrival, it can result in an awkward, unproductive and disheartening experience for everyone involved. Think back, doesn’t it make sense that we all come up to speed a little quicker with some support? Set your Temp – and team – up for success by putting the tips below into action.
- Ready the existing staff. Make sure that your current staff knows when a Temp will be coming in. Tell your team why you are bringing in outside help, what you expect that help to do for the team and convey your expectations of your team’s behavior and relationship with the Temp. Will certain staff members be responsible for orienting the Temp? What about when the Temp needs training or oversight? Let your team know your expectations ahead of time, so they can think through their role in the process, adjust their workload, and be ready when the Temp arrives. You can bolster your team’s faith in the help you are bringing in by qualifying the value of the Temp. Let your team know the history, skills or industry experience the Temp is bringing to the table. Remember to encourage your team to come at the experience with a good attitude, no matter how heavy the current workload, or how tense (or loose!) the work environment. Ask your team to refrain from complaints or derogatory statements about the workload, or other staff to allow the Temp to come into a positive workplace.
- Host a meet and greet. On the first day, assign an employee to introduce the Temp to key team members and any employees with which they will interact. Since you have already advised the staff that a Temp will be coming in, your existing team should be prepared to take a minute to acknowledge and introduce themselves to the Temp. Anyone involved in, or affected by, the work the Temp will do should be included in the meet and greet.
- Take a tour. Giving your Temp a tour will help them survey the new environment and feel more comfortable with their place in it. Assign an employee to take the Temp around the facility. Show them where the lunchroom, coffee area and restrooms are, where the copy machine is (and how it works, if applicable), and where they will get supplies like pens and paper. The tour might include the meet and greet, or might be separate, but it should land the Temp at their workstation for an introduction to the equipment and supplies they will be using.
- Help the Temp feel welcome. You know how busy your team is – and it’s probably why you’re bringing in help. Don’t let the flurry of normal daily activity stop key players from slowing down to help your Temp feel welcome and acclimated. Be helpful and encouraging while the Temp comes up to speed. The Temp is now part of your team – and will become productive faster if, in the first days of the assignment, they are properly oriented to their role in the organization and feel welcome.
- Get out the organizational chart. In certain positions, it is vital that a Temp identifies the major stakeholders in their work product. If appropriate, take a minute to review the organizational chart and highlight any hierarchies of which the Temp needs to be aware.
- Communicate your expectations. Every Temp comes into an assignment aware that there will be unique rules and requirements. The beauty of a qualified Temp is their adaptability and willingness to do exactly what’s needed. If you convey the rules and expectations early on, you are more likely to get what you want out of the Temp. Make sure you go over exactly what you expect of them in the role, what specific duties they are to perform, point out important deadlines and timelines, and connect them to an employee who will provide training or answer questions. Tell the Temp the do’s and don’ts of company policy – like eating or drinking at their desk, taking breaks, personal phone calls, emails and social media rules.
- Check in. Check in with the Temp a few times during the day, and at closing, to see how they are fitting into the culture. Ask how they are feeling about the workload, their level of understanding about expectations, and identify any difficulties they might be having performing their job. Also, check in with staff members to learn how they feel about the Temp. Get your team’s perspective on how well the Temp is performing in the position and fitting into the culture. Check in again weekly, to make sure you do not miss any changes in attitude or interpersonal issues that come up among the team. Once you’ve seen the Temp demonstrate they are a good fit and know what they’re doing, you can rest easy. Until then, check in regularly.
As an employer, you should prepare for a Temp just as you would prepare for a new staff member. Make sure the stage is set to support the success of the Temp, and your team, by readying a dedicated work space, all necessary equipment, passwords, access badges and training resources. If, from the start, you do the work of preparing for, orienting and training your new Temp, you save yourself (and the Temp) the time, trouble and headache of dealing with performance problems, access issues and workplace disruption.
If you consider the tips above, and prepare yourself for the specific, intentional work of bringing a Temp on to your existing team, it can be a smooth and rewarding process for everyone involved.