Temporary Labor

How To Get The Most Out Of A Temporary Laborer


 Training can be key to getting the most out of your temp labor dollars. Many People spend about five minutes explaining the job to a temp laborer, which makes it alot harder for the temporary worker to understand exactly what the expectations are for the tasks at hand.It make take hours or days, but make sure the individual understands what’s expected of them and how to correctly do the job. Give them the opportunity to succeed and have a positive benefit to the company.

Bottom line, it’s about communication, a clear understanding of the job requirements and what you expect from the agency. You’re paying  for the convenience of temp labor. Working with the agency is critical in order to get the most bang for your buck.

Clear expectation of schedules:

Next on the list is providing the agency with an approximate schedule of what the temp worker should be expecting. Will this be a one-time event or a daily project for a particular period of time? In business, schedules will always be approximate, but it’s only fair to provide a specific start time and an idea of how long the work day is and when it should wrap up. Temp workers are no different than you or I. They have lives and commitments and will be better workers when they have structure.

Finish times are dependent on how quickly everyone completes the job at hand, any mechanical delays and unscheduled issues you may have. These can sway the shift by an hour or more. While we all do what’s necessary to get the job done, we generally have a fair idea of when we’ll complete our shift. Be sure to  communicate an accurate start-time to all employees and an approximate time you will cut them loose. 

Working with the Agency

While I certainly understand the importance of providing the agency enough time to adequately fill a large order (i.e. four or give temp helpers), it’s not always possible to give a lot of advance notice. If you’re out ahead of things such as employees going on scheduled vacation or upcoming increases in preprints, etc., you can often provide adequate advance notice to the agency, but more often than not this isn’t the case. Employees may call in sick, a client may surprise you with additional last minute work, or advertising may hit you with a surprise insert order. It’s truly not a perfect science. It’s important to have a good working relationship with the temp agency and develop a solid understanding as to what lead time is necessary based on the amount of workers needed.

Transitioning a Temp Worker

In all fairness, not all temp workers are there just for the pay. Many of them are between jobs, eager to work hard and put food on the table; they’re looking for their next opportunity. They’re good, qualified, hardworking individuals who can transition into your employment, and if you’re lucky, you could end up with a solid addition to your team.

Busineses are always looking for great quality, qualified employees, and temp labor can be a breeding ground for them. As I’ve previously eluded to, and with no disrespect meant, you get to “test drive” the individual, check out their qualifications, their qualities, their work habits, their work ethic, etc. before you have to sign on the dotted line of hiring them. It’s a great deal.

This is where you need to have a clear understanding with the agency for when you can transfer an employee to your payroll. You might expect that the temp agency may be reluctant to give up a good employee, but this is where you may be surprised. Many temp agencies actually use the prospect of “gainful future employment” as a marketing tool to the temp worker. This can be to everyone’s benefit. The agency can recruit better qualified workers with the possibility of future employment rather than just a day labor job, the employee can certainly benefit by getting their foot in the door and getting to show their abilities to the potential employer, and the organization can benefit through the “test drive” period allowing them to avoid a bad hire.

 If you decide to practice some of the ideas presented here, I firmly believe they will pay benefits to both you and the organization. Above all else, meet with your temp agency face to face to discuss your needs and clearly establish expectations.  It’s well worth the investment.