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Temp Problems to Avoid

Here are seven deadly sins organizations commit when integrating temps in the workforce.

This article accompanies Contingency Plans

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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HR leaders should stay clear of these attitudes and behaviors -- and train their organizations' managers to do the same:

Treating today's temporary employees like your "mother's or father's temps."

There are a variety of reasons why many individuals work on a temporary basis today. Research from the Kelly Global Workforce Index, (an annual survey by Kelly Services that reveals opinions about work and the workplace from a generational viewpoint), clearly shows a significant growth in the number of employees who prefer "free agency" to conventional employment relationships.

This type of employee is here to stay, and companies that want to leverage this available expertise must change how they approach these individuals.

These are seven attitudes and behaviors organizations should avoid at all costs:

Not appreciating the skill level and/or educational background of the temporary employee.

Sometimes clients/hiring managers (even full-time employees) believe that a temporary employee's skills, experience or knowledge base is inferior to their own.

At Kelly, we hear statements such as "Why would anyone with quality skills want to work as a temp?"

In reality, there are many reasons why people choose to work in the contingent-labor market including flexibility, assignment duration, opportunities to expand experience and skill sets, and higher pay rates, among other reasons.

Not including temporary or contract employees in business-related meetings.

In all companies, there are operational or staff meetings where business objectives are discussed and vision for the team or department is determined. Including your contingent employees in these meetings ensures clarity of messaging, brings fresh views and ideas, and sends the message to everyone that the contingent employee is part of the "team."

Not fully understanding the onboarding requirements for temporary employees.

The needs of a temporary employee differ from a full-time employee, including, but not limited to: e-mail access; building access (including evenings and weekends); software-system access; and security rights/limitations.

Organizations must be certain that these employees receive the same levels of communication that any other employee receives.

Not maintaining appropriate boundaries of contact.

While you want to have your contingent employees closely integrated into your workforce, there are some differences you must remember to watch out for.

Allow the staffing company to manage such responsibilities as wage/benefit negotiation, paycheck distribution, testing and training, performance reviews and disciplinary actions. Employers will discuss specific work duties directly, but work with the staffing provider to ensure that roles/responsibilities are clear.

Not understanding wage/pay issues.

The client and staffing company should openly discuss pay rates, including overtime and bonus structures, with temporary employees. Be certain that you are clear on hourly costs, when and if overtime could be incurred, how to avoid co-employment issues, responsibility/availability of benefits, etc.

The staffing firm should be familiar with both the benefits and pitfalls of co-employment issues. The client should work with the staffing company to put procedures and processes in place that ensure these strategies are used to the fullest.

Client company keeping a positive attitude about temporary employees.

The temporary employee should not be treated as a "second-class" citizen, but rather as an important resource that fills a need. "This person is critical in helping us meet our goals."

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Companies frequently forget that the reason they have a contingent employee is because of a specific project workload, a gap in specific skill sets or an absence of a skilled employee.

Lance J. Richards, GPHR, SPHR, is senior director and global practice leader of the Human Resources Consulting practice of Kelly Outsourcing and Consulting Group. The group is part of Kelly Services Inc., a leader in providing workforce solutions with global headquarters in Troy, Mich. Previously, he was senior director of international human resources for Kelly Services; managing director and co-founder of Suddenly Global LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based international human resources consultancy; and director of global human resources for Teleglobe, the global networking, internet and data services arm of Bell Canada Enterprises. Richards is on the talent-strategy board for the Human Capital Institute, and serves as an instructor for the Society for Human Resource Management global human resources certification preparation course, and has served on the board of directors for SHRM's global forum and its global expertise panel.

 

See also:

Contingency Plans

The Legal Quagmire

Employer Obligations to Temporary Workers

Legal Risks of Temps

Ranking Staffing Companies

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