Everyone wants a great temp. When it happens, it’s wonderful. When it doesn’t happen, let’s just say it’s less than wonderful. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat a hit or miss. This happens for several reasons: 1) the product you are requesting from your staffing service is people. People are subject to an endless array of behaviors and qualities, and 2) quite often requests for temps are highly automated. Because you are requesting a people product, complete automation of the entire process may not be yielding the results you want.
But, that’s not to say you can’t take steps to shore up your chances at consistently securing high performing temps. It’s going to start with having an empowering conversation with your staffing service to plan and educate them on what you need under what I call the “AARFF Method”. It covers 5 key traits that every temp should possess, along with incorporating your specifics in each area. Use these as your basic roadmap with your staffing service, so they are clear on your criteria in order to deliver. It is well worth a discussion to set a bar of excellence to enhance your temp strategy.
Ability: Probably the most obvious and one of the more straightforward aspects of hiring a temp will be their abilities to meet the requirements for the job. They must have the experience and skill levels you need. Without this, there’s no need to proceed.
Adaptability: The very nature of temping entails working temporarily, which means temps often move from assignment to assignment. They will need to be adaptable to each environment and culture whether it’s from company to company or inside the same company covering different positions. Temp adaptability focuses more on the big picture of the company where each assignment takes them. Timing of a temp's adaptability is also a critical piece. It must come quickly on assignments to get into the flow and lessen the time to productivity.
Reliability: As important as ability and adaptability are, so is reliability. If a temp can’t be counted on consistently to show up for work, deliver results, and work well with others, it’s going to put a dent in the success of the assignment or even end it. This is an area where there will not be a big window of tolerance, not only because it impacts getting work done, but it impacts the employees surrounding this temp position when they have to fill in the gap left by an unreliable temp.
Flexibility: This is not the same as adaptability. The difference is that temp flexibility looks at what it takes to be successful doing the actual job vs. temp adaptability relating to the company environment. Being flexible means the temp is ready to change gears as needed while on assignment. Whether that means, tackle a new work task that becomes urgent, working with new teammates or being reassigned. Temps need to own their work and be responsible, yet be totally open to changing company needs while on their assignments. They must possess maturity and cannot get possessive over their work or the assignment, since things may change.
Feedback: I’ve always wanted some level of background from the staffing service on each temp before their arrival so I know what to expect. This does not mean anything extensive. It will depend on the position's responsibilities. Some of the things I like to know are: a) has the temp worked as a temp before, b) if so, what kind of assignments, and in what industry, c) does this temp get requested back again, or d) what qualities of this temp lead you to place them on my assignment. This information helps you to learn more about the temp and provides some information you can share to your team prior to the temp’s arrival.
You can develop an easy scoring system from 1 to 5 (1 being very unsatisfactory and 5 being highly satisfied) for each of these traits and grade your temps. Give this score to the staffing service once an assignment has finished. This way they can repeat such good performance, or if things are not as expected with a temp, you will have something more concrete to go back to the staffing service with versus being vague by “The temp isn’t working out.” If you know exactly why a temp worked well, or not, and the staffing services does too, you’ll see this take shape as their guideline for better outcomes next time.
Invest in a conversation with your staffing service and put these strategies in place. It outlines your basic criteria, gives a means to measure and helps your staffing service get on the same page as you.
Every time a new temp walks through your door, they are an unrealized asset until they learn the essentials. Let us show you how Onboardia can consistently, thoroughly and quickly get your temps up and running. Call us at 800-771-8610 or Schedule a Demo today.
Cathy A. Reilly is the author of “The Temp Factor: The Complete Guide to Temporary Employment” and Founder/CEO of Onboardia, Inc., HR software.