Most companies have a formal onboarding process for their traditional employees, whether full-time or part-time. Many, though, fail to formally onboard their temporary or contract workers. Somehow some companies have blind spots when it comes to ensuring that temporary workers are welcomed on board and provided with the information and resources they need as part of the company team.
But temp workers are part of the team, so it’s important that steps are taken to introduce and acclimate them to the company and help them navigate their first days and weeks on the job.
“Effective onboarding of temp workers starts with the company leadership,” says Paul French, managing director of Intrinsic Search, an executive recruiting firm for e-commerce companies. Temp workers should be onboarded in the same way as permanent employees, French says, “ensuring that they are fully immersed in your company’s culture, employer brand, and day-to-day life in your workplace.”
Doing that, French says, makes them feel that they’re valued and that they are equal members of the team. “Applying equal onboarding practices conveys a strong message of equity and inclusion right from the get-go,” he says.
Too often, temp workers--especially in blue collar settings--are sometimes considered “lesser than” traditional employees, especially among the ranks of C-suite executives. That’s an oversight that can be costly and can cause businesses to miss out on important opportunities.
Matt Erhard is managing partner of Summit Search Group, a recruiting firm working with companies across Canada to meet their staffing needs, including temporary and contract staff needs. Just like other employees, temp staff members “need to be told the workplace policies and standards they’re expected to follow,” Erhard says. “Onboarding is also a great time to clarify logistical aspects of the job, like exactly what tasks they’ll be performing, the length of their employment contract, and the specific equipment, systems, and preferred communication methods you use within your company.”
Erhard also recommends ensuring that temp workers have an assigned supervisor or manager who they can go to with questions and who check in with them frequently to provide both positive and constructive feedback.
“I hear company leaders complaining that temporary workers simply don’t provide the same work quality as full-time staff,” Erhard says. But, he notes: “Those same people often have no feedback system in place for temp workers, and often don’t see how these two factors are related. You’re never going to get the full potential from an employee if they don’t know what they’re doing well and where they need to improve, so you don’t want to neglect this aspect of management for temp workers.”
Effective onboarding makes a difference.
It’s important for companies to encourage collaboration between all employees, French stresses. “A mistake some employers make is allowing silos to form between temp and permanent employees,” he says. “Create opportunities for temp and permanent employees to work together, for example, by encouraging team leads to pair up team members on projects, and recognizing and rewarding teamwork.”
Tom Monson, owner of Monson Lawn & Landscaping, says he hires temp workers from time to time when members of his crews “have moved away, gotten hurt, or simply when we’ve gotten a big job that requires a few more hands.”
It’s always hard, Monson says, to overcome the mindset of not spending too much time getting to know these temp workers with the importance of doing so. “If you treat them differently, it’s almost guaranteed that they won’t perform up to the level they’re capable of,” he says. “I do my best to treat all my employees the same whether they’ve been with me for three years or three days.”
Technology can be a godsend when it comes to onboarding employees, including temp staff. Many companies learned this under duress when the pandemic struck. Suddenly they needed a way to ensure that employees working remotely had the same access to onboarding information and support as those on site.
But Gojob has been using technology to drive the onboarding process—and more—for quite some time now. It’s an effective and efficient way to ensure consistency and on-demand access to critical information on a 24/7/365 basis.
Onboarding materials can take a variety of forms—from written policy information, to quick training videos, to audio, interaction and more. These materials provide the foundational support and knowledge employees need to do their jobs.
Gojob makes the onboarding process seamless through automation and a digital experience. Your new temp workers have easy access to everything they need to know, including just-in-time training and information to help them do their jobs.