Every company wants high employee engagement. What if a significant portion of your employee base is comprised of contingent talent? Does employee engagement still matter?
We certainly think so. As one of the nation’s leading staffing agencies, we place thousands of talented professionals in temporary roles that are customer facing and high impact.We know, first hand, that engaged employees lead to higher customer satisfaction, which leads to higher revenue and profits. If your company is increasing your usage of flexible talent, you need to consider how you can engage that talent to drive performance.
Here are eight ideas for how to make it happen:
To get more perspective on this topic, check out our last blog where we explored employee engagement at the intersection of temporary staffing. We highlighted two human capital dynamics facing organizations today: 1) the ever-increasing importance of employee engagement, and 2) the growing use of temporary or flexible employees as part of your overall workforce strategy.
1. Choose your staffing agency carefully. Employee engagement happens at many stages throughout the candidate life cycle and what happens pre-hire is just as important as what happens post-hire. The best staffing agencies focus on creating exceptional candidate experiences at each step in the recruitment process. They have certified and trained recruiters who act as consultants and advisors. They recognize the importance of employee engagement with their own staff. Whether you’re exploring a new staffing relationship or you have an existing partnership, explore the degree to which the staffing agency focuses on employee engagement and candidate satisfaction.
2. Be descriptive and clear about the job. One of the biggest dissatisfiers for temporary or contract employees is when their skills and knowledge are not matched well to the role. This mismatch can often be prevented as long as the staffing firm thoroughly understands your requirements and can communicate that to job candidates. Temporary employees want to make a difference and just like your full-time staff, when an employee knows they are meeting and exceeding goals and impacting company results, engagement will be high.
3. Communicate! Give temporary employees the big picture. Help them connect their work to the team’s goals. Give them feedback, give them praise. Communicate with the staffing agency, too. The best agencies will be seeking your feedback on the temporary employee’s performance and how well things are progressing. Take the time to share your thoughts. Things going great? Temporary employees love to hear that. Things need to be tweaked a bit? They want to know that, too. Communication is the lifeblood for employee engagement. Don’t forget that good communication is a two-way street, so make sure you’ve opened up the lines for communication from your temporary staff as well. It builds trust and shows that you value their input. A best practice is to be proactive about seeking feedback from your temporary employees. If you don’t ask for input or invite them to participate in the feedback loop, you’ll be missing a key opportunity.
4. Recognize achievements. Recognition builds engagement. Highlight positive outcomes, whether they’re big or small. Recognition motivates people and it gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment in their work. This is especially true for temporary employees.
5. Prepare your staff. Picture yourself as a temporary employee on your first day of work. You don’t know anyone else on the team (let alone where the bathroom is!). Yet, you’re expected to know what you’re doing and to be productive quickly. Sounds a little intimidating, right? Pave the way by informing your own staff about the new member of the team, their background, and what they’ll be expected to do. This knowledge will help a temporary employee feel more welcome on their all-important first day.
6. Start off on the right foot. Speaking of preparation, provide a solid orientation for your temporary employees. Make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. Give them a tour and introduce them to as many people as possible. The more comfortable they feel, the more productive and engaged they will be.
7. Bring them back! The ultimate validation for a temporary employee's good work is to be asked back for another assignment with the same company. If a temporary employee excelled within your organization, let your staffing agency know and tell them you’d love to have that employee back. If another assignment comes up, don’t hesitate to ask a proven performer to return. Not only will they feel valuable, they’re already oriented to your company and they’ll fit right back in.
8. Consider the possibilities. On the other hand if a temporary employee does a great job, maybe you shouldn’t let them go at all! Most staffing agencies offer agreements where you’re able to hire a temporary employee onto your own staff. Remember to communicate this through your staffing agency for two important reasons:
- The agency might be considering them for another role at another client when they’re done working for you. If they know you’re considering hiring a temporary employee, that helps them manage their resources.
- The staffing agency can help both you and the temporary employee with negotiating and navigating the offer/hiring process.
Creating employee engagement with your temporary workforce can be challenging but with these eight steps, it’s achievable. One consideration to remember is to work closely with your staffing agency to avoid the risk of co-employment. Temporary employees need to know that their agency is their employer-of-record and there are steps you can take to keep that distinction clear while still building high employee engagement with your flexible talent.
Wishing isn't a strategy... Learn to build an effective employee engagement strategy that's backed by research and experience. Click to download your free guide Building Employee Engagement: Three Elements to Include in Your Employee Engagement Strategy.