More businesses are turning to contract and temporary workers, but employers need to properly nurture this flexible workforce if they are to gain the most value from it, advises recruiting expert Hays in Singapore.

The use of temporary assignments is rising as they allow employers to overcome current skills gaps, fill a short-term staffing need or assist with special projects without the commitment of a permanent hire. For candidates, such assignments are a more flexible option as they can choose what they work on and when.

But if you are to get the most out of your temps, you need to build good relations with them. By treating your temps as part of your team rather than as outsiders and providing the appropriate induction, they will feel connected and be able to quickly access the appropriate resources, policies and processes.

Ultimately, they will be more productive and produce higher quality results.

Working with temps

According to Hays, this includes first explaining each team member’s role and his or her specialities. Do the same for your temp — tell the team what the temp’s role will be and his previous experience.

The faster everyone in the team gets to know each other, the quicker trust builds and communication barriers come down — making everyone work more effectively.

Second, you need to impart the necessary internal knowledge. This includes explaining to your temp when and how people should communicate and with which tools.

It also includes identifying the knowledge the temp is required to perform his assignment, from where to find the information he needs on shared drives and websites as well as the relevant processes and policies.

Also, give him the context of the tasks you set out for him so he can understand the bigger picture. If another team member is required to deliver this knowledge, set an appointment for your temp’s first hour or two. 

You should also clearly set out the objectives of what your temp is to achieve. This allows your temp to monitor his own progress and creates shared accountability for his performance.

Temps, by their very nature, hit the ground running, but these simple steps can help ensure their productivity is maximised from their first hour in your workplace.

It also builds confidence and competence at the commencement of the assignment, which ultimately ensures that you gain the best value from your temp.

By treating your temps as part of the team and imparting the appropriate knowledge, you may also encourage them to stay around if a permanent position arises or if another temporary assignment comes up in the future. This has obvious productivity benefits.