How to Manage Temporary Employees: Five Tips from Chicago 's Temp Staffing Pros

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In today's job market, more companies are turning to temporary staffing firms for flexibility to mange projects, fill gaps, or cover for full-time employees on leave. Tim Flood, President of Chicago staffing companies Smart Resources Administrative Staffing and Accountable Search, offers some proven tips to maximize this flexible resource, and keep your own staff and your temporary employees happy, helpful and motivated.

In today's job market, more companies are turning to temporary staffing firms for the flexibility temp employees offer to mange projects, fill gaps, or cover for full-time employees on leave.

With budgets tight in this economy, it makes sense to spend a little time upfront preparing for a 'project' or temporary employee, to maximize the productivity you receive for your dollar.

Supervising regular employees already poses many challenges, such as motivation, morale, and productivity, to name just a few. Add to that the additional demands of including temporary employees on your team, and the dynamic within your department, as well as your management workload, can shift significantly.

The following tips can help you to increase the commitment level from this contingent workforce.

1) Customize the Job
Give thought to the specific jobs you assign to temporary employees. Determine how much time will be required to train the temporary associate to complete the job successfully. For short-term temporary employees, select jobs that require little training. Although temporary employees may have specialized related work experience, there will always be a need to spend time teaching them how to do things "your way." Not every job should be customized for temporary employees, particularly those related to final quality analysis.

2) Recruit Specifically
To be successful in your recruitment, be detailed and specific in your initial request. Describe the environment where the temporary employee will be working, the nature of the work, and the pace at which the employee will be expected to produce. If tools, equipment, or specific software programs will be used, describe in detail what you will be requiring of the temporary employee. Temporary agencies agree that the more specific you are in the initial request, the greater their success level in providing the best qualified employee.

3) Interviewing Temporary Candidates
Many supervisors have learned that making the time to interview potential temporary employees, particularly those who will be employed for longer projects, is time well spent. The more the temporary employee knows about your expectations, and the more you know about the temp's previous work experience, the greater the likelihood that there will be a good match. One manager (whose entire team consists of temporary employees hired to complete a short-term project) knows from experience that she will interview twice as many temps as she ultimately selects. She feels that this step saves her time later, however, in that those employees she selects are far more likely to be successful, reducing the need for further recruiting later in the process.

4) Orientation for Temporary Employess
Give careful advance thought as to what needs to be explained in order for the temporary employee to be successful. Determine what you will cover in training, and who will be responsible for completing the training. Ensure that the person conducting the training is both thorough and patient. If safety is an issue, make sure that the temporary employee is briefed and understands potential safety hazards.

5) Welcoming Your Temp
Think back to the day you first started your job and you'll agree that first impressions are extremely important. They can't be erased. Plan accordingly. The start of any day, or shift, can be hectic. When appropriate, have the temporary associate start later, allowing you more time to begin the orientation and introduce the regular employees to the temporary employee. Whether it be a production or professional environment, make time for introductions. If appropriate, assign a regular employee to be a mentor for the temp. Knowing whom to go to with questions increases a temporary associate's confidence and comfort level. Don't forget the obvious. Ensure that the temporary associate knows where to park and where the lunchroom and bathroom facilities are located. These are small items, but they make a big difference in helping this person, a new addition to your workforce, feel welcome. They help the temporary associate to feel valued as a person, not just as a commodity needed to fill a short-term need.

If the temporary employee isn't working out right, look to the recruiter you are working with to coach, counsel, or train the person. Or, cut your losses quickly! The only thing worse than a bad employee is a bad temporary associate; just make sure to be specific in where the first associate did not meet expectations.

As long as the cost of employee benefits continues to escalate and organizations experience continual market fluctuations, the need for a contingent workforce will exist. Successful managers value the contributions of their temporary employees and know how to create an environment leading to optimal performance from all employees, both the regular staff and the temporary employees.

For more information and temporary staffing solutions visit or call Tim Flood at 312-696-5306

About Smart Resources:
Smart Resources was founded in 1994 to offer the Chicago market a superior experience for temporary and temp-to-hire staffing. By treating candidates and temporary staff remarkably better than typical staffing firms, the company can offer a higher quality candidate. Smart Resources staffs a variety of office positions for temporary administrative staffing needs in Chicago and specializes in placing full-time executive assistants; their Accountable Search division specializes in Accounting and Finance staffing. The company has developed a unique process for screening candidates, building relationships with their work force, and for getting to know companies they work with, in order to consistently provide a successful match to everyone involved.


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