Managing Temporary Workers: The dos and don’ts

Earlier this year The Recruitment & Employment Confederation reported that 79% of employers were using temporary workers to provide short-term access to strategic skills. On top of that, in September 2014 40% of employers were planning to increase their temp staff in the next four to 12 months. You can read the full report here.

With those trends in mind, it’s essential that employers are confident in managing temporary workers. Firstly, if you want to access those strategic skills you’ve got to provide your temporary workers with an enjoyable working environment. Secondly, if you’re planning on upping your temporary staff recruitment you’ll find it a much smoother process if you’ve got a management plan in place.

Before we dive into the nitty gritty of managing temporary workers, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why temporary workers may (or may not) be a good solution to your needs…

Temporary Workers: The Advantages and Disadvantages

We’re big champions of recruiting temporary workers here at ACR, but of course it’s definitely not the only or always the best solution. Consider all your options and discuss your needs with your recruitment agency – they’ll be able to help advise on the human resources you need.

The advantages of temporary workers:

  • They’ll help your business adjust quickly to workflow demands and fluctuations
  • You’ll be able to tap into a workforce who want, and need, the flexibility of temporary work
  • A lot of employers find temp recruitment an effective way of evaluating a candidate’s suitability. That, or you may realise a temporary worker’s potential and decide to snap them up as a permanent employee! It’s a great way of discovering talent.
  • Temporary workers are an option for all industries – and not only for lower skilled positions.

The disadvantages of temporary workers:

  • You need to show commitment to suitably training your temporary workers, as you would your more permanent members of staff. If you want your temp team to be efficient and productive then they’ll need to know the ropes. This is a particularly important issue if the role is a high-risk one – remember that temporary workers need the same safety training.
  • Some employers encounter morale issues with their permanent employees working alongside temps. The team bonding can feel disjointed and temps not receiving the same benefits as permanent employees can be a sticking point.

These advantages and disadvantages are key to the effective management of temporary workers, so keep them in mind as you go through these next five tips:

  1. Get your current team on board

As mentioned before, morale issues can be a challenge when temporary workers join a team. Always provide an intensive day or two of training and induction activities, to ensure your temp workers are aware of the company culture and able to get straight into productive work. Without proper training the team members temporary staff work alongside may feel burdened with the responsibility of ongoing training – and they may be overwhelmed with questions!

Invest in recruiting temporary staff that will fit well with your current, permanent team. Always provide temporary workers with a go-to contact to ask any queries they may have, whether that’s a line manager or the HR department. You’ll reap the benefits of a cohesive team: permanent team members will feel valued as you invest in easing their workload and create a more productive environment.


  1. Manage expectations

Provide clear guidelines on responsibilities and expectations for you temporary workers. Clearly lay out (with an induction meeting or document) your expectations with regards to arrival and departure times, dress code or uniform guidelines, who they should report to and general code of conduct.


  1. Embrace the fresh perspective of temp workers

One of the big benefits of temporary workers is that they bring a new perspective on your workplace. Many temp workers are actually highly qualified individuals looking for flexibility in a job role or simply in a unique circumstance that suits temp work. Make the most of their experience and ask for feedback on their placement and time working in your business.


  1. Know your objectives

Before you begin recruiting temporary workers lay out your objectives clearly. Whether the recruitment drive is a part of your strategic resource planning or in response to a last-minute skills gap that you need to fill urgently, it’s essential that you understand exactly why you’re recruiting temporary staff.

This will help you lay out the responsibilities mentioned in point three, whilst also helping you to achieve your business goals.


  1. Make the most of flexibility

One of the primary objectives for recruiting temporary workers is because they’re flexible. Many are willing to work on rolling contracts, so you can keep them on board for as long as is absolutely necessary. In addition, if you find a fantastic worker in one of your temps then you have the opportunity to offer them a permanent position.


About the Author

Anne Corder

Anne Corder


Whilst still actively handling recruitment assignments, Anne specialises in Human Resources with many years of experience in that sector. She blogs on wider recruitment issues affecting both candidates and clients, commenting and offering tips and advice to help achieve the right outcomes.