You have full time employees and at the same time, employees outsourced through a Temp Agency for certain roles. This strategy of combining full-time roles with temp roles is critical for your long-term sustainability. You stay agile to match the peaks and troughs of business demands; exercise the possibility to hire the best among the temp workforce onto full-time roles; draw upon the expertise and scale of operation of the Temp agency for all the aspects of HR for the Temp employees right from hiring till exit.
The strategy of outsourcing or Temp Staffing works well when the Temp employees are cared for, mainstreamed and aligned with the purpose of the organization. Not only the business sees results in terms of productivity but also builds a sustainable future for itself.
Setting Expectations Right
Most often, the new joiner comes in with a set of expectations about the job, the organization and her days ahead so that the time beyond the contract period becomes brighter. She looks forward to training inputs, careful orientation on the job, freedom to operate, opportunity to learn, transparent practices of performance evaluation, fair targets, rewards and recognition, and many more.
On the other hand, the rank and file in the organization are not clear why some roles are outsourced. They do not know how to onboard the person. They are not sure how to communicate the temporariness of the job and what objectives to set. One is not sure what training is to be provided to the new Temp employee. Many a times, the employee is simply put on the job with a set of tasks. Managers believe, the best way to use Temp Employees is to push them into the water so that they can learn swimming. This approach hurts productivity in the short-term and raises questions on various long-term aspects such as employer brand.
The leaders on the top have to communicate clearly the purpose of temp staffing as a component of their talent strategy and ask upon the leaders at various levels down the line to interact with the temp employees as their own. This is the first and foremost step to engage the Temp Employee.
Dealing with the Dichotomy
Temp employees are on the payrolls of the Temp Agency and not employed by the organization where they are working. They receive instructions from managers and work with colleagues who may be full-time employees to service customers of the organization. The HR policies that govern them are different from those on the full-time roles. They choose to work on a temp role because they value the experience on their resume. They are a cog in the large wheel of the organization in a way similar to a full-time employee is and at the same time, they do not belong to the organization’s payroll. This dichotomy needs to be dealt with appropriately.
Though a Temp employee comes in for a short period of time, plays a role in turning the organizational wheel. It is important that the first-line supervisors provide special care to make the person feel valued and cared for. The person must understand the purpose of organization, its values, the rules of the game, the targets, evaluation process, examples of best performance and potential rewards.
We have seen a handful of organizations deal with the dichotomy very well. They have been able to attract top quality talent for Temp jobs there and retain them for long. Not only their employer brand has emerged strong, they have also been able to create value in the short term.
Temp Agency has a Role to play in Engaging the Temp Employee
Many agencies restrict their role to process payroll, pay employees, remit the statutories and answer queries. They may be doing a fine job as far as the contractual obligation is concerned. However, the organization needs its provider to play its role in executing its talent strategy.
Engaging a Temp Employee is not the exclusive responsibility of the organization. The Agency has a role right from the time recruitment starts. The first step is how the Agency conveys the promise of the employer brand and the employee value proposition to a potential candidate. Failure to make a meaningful pitch denies you the opportunity of getting the best and engaging them. Hence, you need an agency who understands this and has the ability to deliver well on attracting the best talent for you.
Secondly, until the person starts work, there are multiple interfaces that he or she has with the agency. In each interaction, the agency unknowingly sets expectations of certain kind. Since the assignment is short, one doesn’t get an opportunity to clarify and reset these expectations. These expectations when are different from the reality, could create unpleasant surprises and disenchantment leading to low levels of engagement. There is very limited option at the hand of the employee after one starts work. Hence, you need an agency who has the capability of communicating responsibly to the future employees.
Last but not the least, the agency plays a role during the life cycle of the employee working with you. They play the role of HR department for the employee. Are they capable of engaging the employee meaningfully? Do their engagements reflect how you as an organization deal with employees?
We need to think if we are doing a good job in choosing the right agency and engaging them the right way to make sure that the best talent is attracted and retained well. We have to make sure that the Temp employees not only enjoy their stint with us but also advocate us as an employer brand. Talent is indeed a competitive advantage. We must leverage on it. Returns are manifold!