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Common Mistakes when Managing Contingent Workers

Common Mistakes when Managing Contingent Workers


By: Emily Bennington

We all know temporary staff can be a huge blessing when you’re busy — but not busy enough to take on full-time hires.

The problem is — temps are different — so you have to manage them differently and that’s where a lot of companies get it wrong.

The number one mistake by far is hiring off the street.

As we all know, when you have the right people in place, a big chunk of your management issues are already solved.

So the notion of, “we just need help so let’s get somebody in here right now …” is disastrous especially in a small business where there’s no such thing as flying under the radar and everybody’s job is critical.

So you really want to use the same care throughout the hiring process that you would for your full-time people.

This means a complete job description, knowing the competencies that you’re looking for and maybe even more than one interview – yes, even for a temp.

The second mistake when it comes to managing temporary staff is full blast fire hose training.

Maybe you’re like other small businesses and you don’t really take the time to onboard temps because you’re thinking, “why bother?”  Right?

But there’s a good chance that what is obvious to you about your clients and your business isn’t going to be quite so crystal clear to your temp. So when you give them task, they may nod their head but have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about and it will show in their work.

A good rule of thumb is a half-day of training for every month that you expect to have your temp on staff. So if it’s a six months engagement, they get 3 full days of onboarding.

Now obviously, you don’t expect them to be able to, you know, recite your policy manual, but they do need to know exactly what you expect from them.

They need to know what your core values are and how to live those values everyday, if you expect them to really merge into the fast lane with all the rest of your people. 

The final mistake is treating or allowing your staff to treat your temp like a temp. This is just good manners but more than that, your customers have no idea which of your staff are temporary versus full-time hires and frankly they don’t even care. 

Same thing if your temps are working only with your internal people — they don’t care either — because they just want the same thing that your customers want – which is a seamless experience and solutions to their problems.

So every employee you have, whether they’re with you for 3 months or 3 years, needs to know how to provide that.

You want your temp to feel like real partners in your business because who knows, they can end up being your next great hire — or even your next great customer.

More from Emily Bennington:

Monster Video: Best Practices for Today's Recruiting Landscape

Monster Video: How to Conduct an Interview

Monster Video: New Employee Orientation