10 Tips for Working with Temporary Staff

A manager looks over the shoulder of a temporary worker typing on a computer

A little preparation and ongoing effort on your part will help interim staff quickly become a fully functional part of your team. Here are ten essential tips for working with temporary staff:

1. Match skills to tasks. While it makes sense to start with relatively straightforward tasks, many of today's temporary professionals are highly skilled. Before they arrive, take the time to review their capabilities and identify the most appropriate projects.

2. Get their workspace ready. To reduce startup time, make sure the areas where interim staff will work have all the necessary equipment and supplies, and that all required computer and intranet accounts and permissions have been set up.

3. Prepare full-time staff. Inform full-time staff members when temporary professionals will begin and where they'll be working. Be as specific as possible about the specific responsibilities and duties of all temporary team members.

4. Conduct a mini-orientation. On the first day, give the interim worker a tour of your office. Explain your department's day-to-day workflow and provide a brief summary of policies and procedures.

5. Kick-start their network. Introduce them to everyone in the payroll department and other individuals they'll interact with, such as the receptionist and IT specialists.

6. Encourage questions. Remember that temporary professionals lack background information about projects and processes that you may take for granted. Designate either yourself or another team member as their go-to person for any questions they may have.

7. Recognize their efforts. Consistently acknowledge the efforts and accomplishments of temporary workers, just as you would those of full-time staff. If they know their contributions are valued, they'll be much more likely to ask important questions–and to make use of constructive criticism.

8. Keep them in the loop. Include temporary staff in all relevant meetings. Make sure they get emails and other communications about the department. Treating them like permanent team members also gives you a clearer picture of how they would perform in such a role.

9. Check in. Follow up regularly with temporary staff to see how they're really doing. Encourage your full-time staff to come to you with comments and concerns.

10. Keep in touch with your staffing firm. Be sure to give your contact at the staffing firm frank feedback about your experience working with interim professionals he or she has provided.