Although hiring temp workers can be a great way to improve the overall productivity of your workforce, employers need to be aware of — and proactively address — the potential for tension between the permanent and temporary workers on their staff when integrating temp workers into their workforce. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take when bringing temp workers onboard at your organization that can help to smooth the transition and make both types of employees see one another as allies in a shared mission rather than competitors or even enemies in a struggle for resources. The following 5 steps should go a long way toward integrating temp workers into your team and making sure that all of your employees work together efficiently and successfully toward a common goal.
#1: Talk with Permanent Staff Beforehand
Springing a new temporary staff member or team of new temp workers on your permanent workforce without a “heads-up” beforehand is almost always a big mistake. It is human nature to be uncomfortable with and suspicious of sudden changes, and the sudden introduction of temporary workers to a group of permanent workers is no exception to this general rule. Without a clear explanation as to the role and purpose of the new temp employee(s), your permanent workers may view the temp(s) as a threat to their job security, an implicit judgement on their productivity or the quality of their work, or competition for overtime hours or promotion opportunities. Management needs to allay these fears and clearly communicate the specific roles that the temp workers will fill and the specific ways that these new employees will help alleviate stress and workload for your existing staff. This will help to create a more welcoming atmosphere for the new temp workers and cut down on the swirling rumors that can accompany any sudden change in the workplace. 
#2: Onboard Temp Workers Properly
While, depending on the type of temp worker and length of their contract, it may not be necessary or even productive to give temporary workers the full “onboarding experience” that permanent workers receive at your company — even an “onboarding-lite” program can be enormously helpful in integrating temp workers into your company’s culture. All too often, temp workers are hired and thrown right into a specific project or task with little to no introduction to the company’s mission, vision, or values. This can lead to a number of problems down the road when these temp workers interact with your permanent staff members. By giving your temp workers a short version of the onboarding that their fellow permanent employees receive, it should help them to fit into your work culture more seamlessly and avoid any friction or misunderstandings between them and the rest of your team. 
The 5 Cs of Temp Worker Onboarding
Covering compliance-related issues is an essential part of the onboarding process for temporary employees. A non-compliant temp worker can create just as many legal and regulatory issues for your company as a permanent employee; make sure they complete all required documentation and are familiar with company-specific compliance policies. 
It is critical to clarify all aspects of a temp worker’s role in your organization as extensively as possible. Even if the first few days of employment are dedicated to clarifying their role and responsibilities, this is time well spent to avoid confusion or misunderstood expectations down the road. 
In addition to making sure that temp workers understand their specific job-related role in your organization, it’s important to share your company’s overall mission, values and culture with them as well. If your company has a unique work culture, don’t spring it on your temp workers without any preparation. 
Because temporary employees are, by definition, short-term team members, they may often feel like they aren’t truly a part of your staff – and the “stand-offish” attitudes of perm employees may reinforce this belief. It’s important to go out of your way (and encourage your perm workers to do so as well) to make them feel that they are valued performers. 
Communication with temp workers during onboarding needs to be a two-way street, enabling temp employees to give you valuable feedback on each step along the way. This also helps to make temp workers feel like their input is considered and appreciated from day one. 
#3: Treat All Workers Fairly and Consistently
To ensure you avoid an “us vs. them” dynamic between permanent and temporary staff members, it is critical that management treats all workers in a fair and consistent manner, whether they are temporary or permanent staff. As management, your workers will follow your example; if you treat your temporary employees with less respect or hold them to different standards, your permanent employees will follow suit, creating an unproductive work environment for everyone involved. It is crucial for company leaders to set the example they want their staff to follow — and to encourage positive interactions between permanent and temporary employees whenever possible. Fostering this kind of positive engagement among employees as they work toward a common goal is the best way to make sure that you are integrating temp employees into your overall workforce in the most productive and efficient way possible. 
Temp Workers Don’t Always Give Accurate Feedback in Person
Temp workers can often be hesitant or intimidated to give honest feedback about negative experiences they may have had integrating into your company’s work culture. However, they may turn to employer review websites like Glassdoor.com to vent their frustrations and share their negative experiences. That’s why it’s important for employers to regularly review these sites to make sure they are aware of any issues involving their temporary employees that they may not have shared with management in-person. A key piece of advice when browsing these sites is to not take any individual negative review too personally, but to always pay close attention to any patterns of behavior or treatment that seem to emerge. This can help you to “get out in front of” any tensions between permanent and temporary employees that you wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise. 
#4: Nip Gossip and Bullying in the Bud
Regardless of the proactive steps you take at seamlessly integrating temp employees into your workforce, you may still encounter situations where permanent staff members engage in gossip about or attempt to belittle or bully the temporary workers on your team. In these cases it is critical that you address this issue quickly and emphatically to ensure that it does not spread and become an ongoing issue of concern. This process should include directly addressing the employees involved to correct the immediate behavior, as well as proactively talking with both permanent and temporary staff members to make sure that this kind of behavior is not going on without your knowledge.
#5: Turn to Experts for Help
If you are new to the process of integrating temp workers into your company’s staff — or have had some negative experiences in the past — you shouldn’t hesitate to tap into the expertise of experienced staffing professionals like those that TPG Staffing has at your disposal. Our team has worked with many companies and helped them to not only recruit the best talent (both temporary and permanent) for their needs, but also to make sure that these new employees mesh seamlessly with our clients’ existing staff. We are here to help in any way that you need us to; you just need to ask, and we’ll put our skills to work to ensure that you get the most productive output from every segment of your workforce.
Ignore these Steps at your own Risk
Now that you have read about the 5 Steps for Integrating Temp Workers Into Your Team, how you react is up to you. You are, of course, free to completely disregard some or all of these steps and hope that your workforce doesn’t suffer any ill effects. However, that ill-advised choice will almost certainly put you at a strategic disadvantage versus your competitors who make a more concerted effort at integrating temporary employees into their workforce teams. And, since the efficiency and productivity of a company’s workforce is such a critical driver of success in today’s ultra-competitive business climate, ignoring these steps will severely handicap your company’s odds to succeed. If you thought that temp employees were important enough to your organization’s success to make the effort to hire them in the first place, why would you want them to start their work ill-prepared to thrive, potentially damaging the productivity and morale of your entire workforce in the process?
Each Player Brings Their Own Strengths
When you successfully integrate temp workers into your team, you’ll be able to truly realize the potential they bring to your workforce. Any sort of team, from a company’s workforce to a sports franchise’s roster, can only achieve success if all of its members are pulling in the same direction. Is a player “on the bench” as important to a team’s success as a starting “superstar?” The answer is no. But, every member can bring something to the table that may turn out to be essential at a certain critical moment. Temp employees may not be your company’s profit-generating “Hall of Famers” today, but they may be in the future. Or, they may simply provide that extra ounce of effort or specific area of knowledge that you didn’t even realize you were missing. And, in today’s hyper-competitive business world where timing and responsiveness might make the difference between success and failure on any given project – even a temporary “bench player” can contribute that extra something that transforms an “almost” effort into a stunning win.
How TPG Staffing Can Help
When you partner with the experienced team at TPG Staffing, you get our help in recruiting the best temporary talent to fill out your squad, as well as our assistance in helping to integrate them with your existing star players. Let us help you assemble the best possible team for your company’s needs by staffing temporary workers who will thrive within your organization and mesh well with the permanent professionals on your staff. The temporary employees we recruit for you understand the importance of teamwork and appreciate the nature of their role in supporting your team. Don’t let a minor “hole in your roster” torpedo your company’s efforts to compete; tap into the power of temporary employees to put you over the top.
If you’re looking for help ensuring that your temporary and permanent employees work together as part of a frictionless and well-oiled machine, just call TPG Staffing today at 732-246-7100 to get the ball rolling.