3 ways to keep temporary employees productive

productive temporary employees

The season of temporary workers is here. And, if recent research is any indication, it might last a lot longer than the holidays. The “blended workforce,” an ongoing combination of permanent and temporary employees, is fast becoming a norm in the modern workplace.

Short-term hires can be a huge advantage to small businesses looking to stay flexible during peak periods. But they can also bring new challenges to the team – especially if a company is working with them for the first time.

Danny NelmsLast week, Work Institute president Danny Nelms offered expert tips on integrating temporary employees with your permanent staff.

This week, for our final post in the Seasonal Workers Series, Nelms is back to discuss how to ensure your short-term hires are productive from day one.

Here are 3 ways to keep your temporary workers productive.

1. Don’t forgo the onboarding

Nelms touched on this last week, but the importance of an onboarding program for temporary staff can’t be overstated. Usually, short-term hires are trained to do their specific job or task, and are then left to do it. However, this can lead to more turnover – something that is especially unwanted during peak periods.

You don’t need to put every temporary hire through your full onboarding program – just going over the main points can result in a faster integration into the existing team.

“Understanding just a mini-version of the company’s mission, vision, and values and sharing the cultural and social norms in the organization could pay significant dividends in higher productivity due to higher engagement and lower turnover,” says Nelms.

If you expect to be using temporary employees on an ongoing basis – as many companies are – consider creating a shorter version of your onboarding program specifically geared toward your short-term hires – the time investment will be worthwhile in the long run.

2. Review your training process

Another thing to consider is the training itself. “Often, very little time is spent really considering how to train someone to do a job and how to get them productive quickly,” says Nelms.

Go over seemingly-simple details like where shared files are kept, how key team members usually communicate, and when leadership will be checking in – the things that a permanent staff member might pick up over time, but a temporary staff member needs to learn much quicker.

A manual or booklet with key info and step-by-step instructions can help streamline the process, and avoid confusion later. It’s also important to go over dates: daily and weekly schedules and key deadlines that are important to their project or tasks.

Looking at the training can also help you to decide whether a job is right for a temporary hire. According to Nelms, jobs that involve a lot of intense training specific to your company might not be the best fit for a short-term hire. “Having simpler jobs that can be trained easily is important,” he says.

3. Work with your managers

Added staff can help a company in peak periods, but if they’re not used properly, they are a drain to company resources. Your managers should be involved with every step of the temporary hiring process to ensure that their teams are being properly supplemented.

Team leaders should also be trained to work with short-term hires so that they’re getting the most out of them from the start. Help them to set clear and measurable objectives with their temporary staff, and track performance accordingly.

“It is important that managers that are going to be overseeing temporary or seasonal staff are in full support of the effort and are held accountable to productivity and retention metrics,” says Nelms. “Managers often place blame for poor productivity and performance on the quality of the temporary or seasonal staff and seldom are held accountable to utilizing them effectively.”

As is it increasingly common to augment the workforce with short-term staff, it becomes more and more important to keep temporary workers productive. Keeping your onboarding and training as streamlined as possible – with your managers involved every step of the way – will ensure you’re getting the most out of your temporary hires from the start.

See also:
7 best interview questions to hire temporary employees
5 benefits of hiring temporary workers
How to integrate temporary employees with permanent staff


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