Research shows that only a fourth of the people starting new jobs consider their company’s orientation to be very effective. And those numbers would no doubt shrink even further if you asked newcomers brought in for short-term assignments.

The truth is, though, that all workers will prove more valuable if, instead of just turning them loose upon arrival, you offer a different sort of experience. Your best bet? Use an onboarding checklist.

“Temporary professionals are used to jumping into new situations, but they can benefit from a well-thought-out onboarding, just as full-time new hires do,” says Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps.

A recent Accountemps survey shows that nearly all workers experienced some sort of onboarding process at their companies, but more than half (56%) said there had been mishaps when they started, from technology issues to a lack of necessary supplies to inadequate introductions to new coworkers.

With that in mind, as you welcome your interim workforce, follow this onboarding checklist, making sure everyone gets the right start and a positive experience.

Onboarding checklist — before they arrive

  • Make a plan — An onboarding procedure that addresses the needs of interim staff should include workplace safety, company policies and procedures, and guidelines for performance and accountability.
  • Create a supportive environment — Alert the receptionist when temporary workers will be arriving and make sure in advance that they have security access and a work station with a phone, necessary supplies and a computer with instructions for network access.
  • Tell your staff who’s coming — Make sure your full-time employees understand what it is that the temporary workers will do and, in turn, what guidance they will be expected to provide. Consider assigning a staff member to be a workplace buddy for informal support

Onboarding checklist — after they arrive

  • Make introductions — Give the newcomers a warm welcome and introduce them to key colleagues. Provide an overview of relevant policies and processes. Give them a tour of the office.
  • Discuss duties and expectations — Take some time to talk in greater depth about the temporary position and its responsibilities.
  • Communicate your company goals — As you take contingent workers around your office, make sure to share your organizational culture.

Ongoing efforts

For more onboarding tips, consider this: Don’t stop after the first day. Onboarding should continue through the second week and beyond.

  • Include them in activities — Show your temporary workers they’re part of the team by including them in meetings and events when appropriate.
  • Praise their accomplishments — Temps benefit from a show of appreciation, too. Highlight how they are helping your group by taking on the duties they’re assigned.
  • Stay in touch — Check in regularly, with follow-up meetings to encourage them to ask questions and offer feedback.

When you provide this kind of guidance for temporary professionals, you can influence the outcomes for your team’s overall performance and your company’s reputation.

As Steinitz says, “An onboarding checklist can help you retain top talent and even pave the way for full-time hiring arrangements.”