According to the American Staffing Association, there are nearly 15 million temporary and contract workers being hired across the U.S. each year working in all jobs in all industries. If you think these are only low-paying or for unskilled positions, think again. Many professionals are working as temps such as attorneys, doctors, nurses, accountants, managers and IT specialists, just to name a few. In fact, there are scores of staffing services that cater to the new genres of temps.
With such a vast number of temporary workers, much can be gleaned from them. Aside from the wealth of knowledge and experience they bring, temps bring several unexpected gains to companies and those in human resources in very valuable ways. Here are three:
- Reputation building
Temps talk. When they have a great experience working at your company, they are naturally going to relay it. They'll share their experience with the staffing service who placed them, and also with friends and family. It’s just human nature to talk about your day at work.
Realize too, that if temps have a bad experience, that’s going to also get mentioned. And, you never know the reach a temp may have through their own contacts. I’ve worked with temps who have families or friends that own companies, have amazing social networks, or have had other careers and know influential business people. They all have an inner circle who may hear about what it was like working at your company. Dare I say they become part of your marketing? Their words and opinions can travel, so be sure they’ll be polishing your company’s reputation and not tarnishing it.
- Learning opportunities
Temporary employees often move from company to company, position to position, and they are exposed to a variety of workplaces and methodologies. They become a great source. Respecting privacy of the companies where they have worked, I have often asked temps about the corporate cultures they have experienced and what they have enjoyed most. What management styles, if any, have been inspirational? How are they being engaged? Learn about what technologies they have seen, used or liked elsewhere. Inquire as to best in class practices or innovations they have experienced while on temp assignments.
Temps have first-hand involvement in so many diverse work situations. They can help you become more aware of a broader range of business practices you normally would not hear about. They have a bird's eye view and what they share may spark new ideas you can adapt at your own company.
- Improving onboarding
Since the nature of temps is moving about on assignments, I’d readily ask, “Who has experienced the onboarding process more than a temp?” While temps do not go through an extensive process like a new hires does, there is still an onboarding procedure they must go through in order to be properly implemented into a company and get to work. What is quite interesting is that when it comes to temps, the need for speed to productivity is very high. This adds another level to their onboarding.
As you speak to temps, it’s worth asking them to share their experiences. What has onboarding looked like to them? What were the positives/negatives? What have they liked or disliked and why? What was the most effective and engaging process they have gone through? What they can tell you is up to date in the business place. Consider their feedback as you look at your own onboarding program. Is there anything you can add or adapt for your own full time staff or temps?
No matter the employee type, permanent or temp, all employees need effective onboarding. Without it, your newest company assets are less engaged, less productive and less satisfied. Let us help you build a modern, consistent and employee-supportive onboarding program with Onboardia. Call us today at 800-771-8610, visit us at http://www.onboardia.com 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.