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Get the most from your temps

Show interest and ask for their input

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in Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

Some managers hire temps and then pray that the newcomers don’t get too far behind or make too many mistakes. But there’s a better way.

By setting realistic expectations and motivating temps so that they produce more and better work, you can increase their contribution and make them feel more welcome. Here’s how:

Plan ahead. Rather than waiting for a crisis to erupt and then rushing to hire temps, contact your favorite employment agency now and discuss your needs later. Tell them when you’ll want to beef up your staff (based on seasonal surges in activity or anticipated leaves or sabbaticals for your current employees). Also specify the skills that you’ll require. This gives the agency a head start in lining up the kind of quality candidates who can help you in a crunch.

Build rapport. When a temp arrives, don’t just find them a desk and pile on the work. Take five minutes to break the ice. Ask them about their career goals. Gently question them about their experience, professional strengths or abilities. Without being too nosy, find out why they’re temping.

By engaging in a short get-to-know-you discussion, you’ll make them feel special. You’ll also instill a bit more accountability, and they’ll bring additional effort and energy to the job when they actually like you and appreciate your interest in them.

Offer choices. From the moment they show up, temps expect to be given orders. While you’ll have to instruct them on what to do, you can empower them by allowing them to exercise their judgment or express their preferences whenever possible. For example, give them a choice about where to sit or which task they want to start first. Also work with them to establish goals. If you’re weighing different approaches to tackling a project that you’ve assigned to them, invite their input.

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