Getting the most out of your contract and temp workers

by Saba Software | Posted | Performance Management

Getting the most out of your contract and temp workers

This guest post comes from Megan Webb-Morgan, a writer for, who shares key steps on how to manage temporary workers.

Your business may hire temporary workers for a variety of reasons. You may regularly hire extra help during the holidays or other peak seasons, as well as for special projects or to temporarily replace a permanent staff member.

A contract worker is an individual who works under contract for an employer for a set term. Contract workers are hired for a specific job at a specific rate of pay. They do not become a regular addition to the staff and are not considered permanent employees. confirms this trend, "U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.95 million temporary and contract workers per business day during the third quarter of 2012."

No matter how they're involved in your company, you need to manage your temp workers appropriately in order to get the most out of their presence. From time tracking, to open communication and proper onboarding, there are a variety of new aspects to consider when managing your temporary help.

Hiring and training

Hiring a temporary employee is different from normal HR procedures for permanent workers. Your temps might be on loan from a staffing agency or independent contractors, and thus will occupy a unique place in your HR system.

  • The tax forms and other paperwork you need for hiring a temp varies by state and industry. Check with for a complete list of necessary paperwork for temporary staff. Check with your lawyer to make sure you follow all employment regulations for benefits, workers' compensation and liability insurance.
  • Be sure you're clear on who will be paying the employee - you, the agency, etc. This will be critical in determining your time and attendance tracking requirements.
  • Some temp positions lead into permanent employment. Be sure you are clear with job candidates about their future potential within your company.
  • Although your temps may only work for your company for a short time, they will still need proper training in order to fulfill their job requirements. Make sure each employee knows their job responsibilities, proper procedures, and the chain of command within your company.

Company onboarding

Mixing temporary and permanent staff can cause culture clash and other problems, especially if a temp is there to replace a former permanent employee. Preclude the possibility of social complications by communicating with your permanent staff and encouraging them to make your new employees feel comfortable.

  • Be sure your temps know enough about the company and its culture that they feel comfortable at work. Everyone wants to feel like they fit in; your temps will be more effective and productive if you make the effort to integrate them into your company.
  • You should always treat your temporary and permanent workers the same. However, you shouldn't feel obligated to include temps in internal meetings where they aren't needed, or where their presence puts confidential company information at risk.

Task management

Your temporary workers have been hired with a specific purpose in mind. In order for them to complete the goals of their job, they need to stay on-task and not get distracted.

  • Create a clear job description and keep to it. This will help you hire the right person for the job and help you manage them from the beginning to the end of their employment tenure.
  • Don't ask your temps to fulfill a task they were not hired for. Overloading them with extra work will keep them from doing what they've been hired to do.

The use of temporary and contract workers is a growing trend. According to the 2011 McKinsey Global Institute US Jobs Survey, 34% of businesses in all sectors expect to hire more temporary workers over the next five years. If you are one of those 34%, you can get the most out of your temporary workers through effective hiring and management.

Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as human resources software. Follow Resource Nation on Facebook, too!

For more tips on creating a high-performance team, read how to effectively manage part-time staff.

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