Temp workers often play an invaluable role in businesses, particularly businesses that see intense seasonal spikes. Retail and package delivery businesses often need temp workers late in the year around the holidays. Construction, on the other hand, spikes in the summer months. While temp workers can ease the strain on other workers, their integration into your existing team often goes poorly. Fortunately, you can do a lot to make it run a lot more smoothly. Keep reading for some basic strategies you can deploy to improve that integration process.
If you want your permanent employees to see and treat temp workers as anything other than a naked threat to their jobs, you must communicate with them. Explain the reasons why you’re bringing on temp workers and how long you expect to keep them. Also, make it clear that no permanent workers will get displaced by temporary workers. As long as your permanent workers understand they won’t find themselves suddenly jobless courtesy of a temp worker, they’ll typically treat the new employees with basic courtesy and friendliness.
Nothing will drive a wedge between your permanent and temporary workers faster than different standards. If you let things slide for temp workers that you call out for permanent workers, it will cause resentment for the temp workers. If you praise permanent workers regularly but rarely praise temp workers, the temp workers will resent you and the permanent workers. Unfair treatment of any kind acts like an engine for a destructive us-and-them mentality. Wherever it’s practical, pair up temp workers with permanent workers and dole out praise or criticism to both as a matter of course.
While some level of gossip is par for the course in any work environment, it often lurches into high gear when temp workers get hired on. The problem with gossip is that it can become its own form of bullying. Put a stop to any gossip or backbiting you encounter immediately. If necessary, punish the offenders within your company’s policies, such as verbal warnings, written warnings, or sending them home early. You can help avert gossip by enlisting a well-liked employee to make an effort to befriend temp workers. If a well-liked employee “vouches” for the temp workers, it can help soften attitudes toward them.
Integrating temp workers doesn’t need to become a bitter social situation, as long as you handle it properly. Make a point to communicate to your permanent employees that their jobs are safe and the temp workers are temporary. Keep things fair for everyone involved when doling out praise and criticism. Put a stop to any backbiting or gossip you encounter with firm reprimands or formal warnings if necessary.
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