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How to Integrate Temporary and Permanent Employees

The apparent divide between temporary workers and permanent staff is often spoken of.   Supposedly, temporary workers are not as invested or as loyal as permanent staff. It is interesting to note that recent research shows engagement and loyalty among all workers is something many organizations struggle with.

It may be that permanent staff do not want to invest  effort helping or getting to know temporary workers. It may be that permanent workers are concerned that temporary workers  are being positioned to replace them. On the other side of the table, some temporary workers may experience resentment that they do not receive the same benefits or pay as permanent staff. The reality is that people experience things from their own perspective. Understanding these different perspectives is a useful step in addressing potential differences in the workplace.

Drains vs Additions

Perception is a tricky thing. If, at the outset,  the temporary role is thought to be a helpful addition to the team instead of a time and energy drain, or a potential replacement, this can begin to help overcome divisions between the two groups. When the reason you are hiring temporary workers is to solve a just-in-time peak workflow need, to replace a missing worker or augment your organization with a specific skills set clearly communicating the value and benefit of the temporary employee can be informative. By doing this,  you bridge the divide between your short-term workers and your long-term staff.

Before you bring in a temporary worker, inform your employees about what is happening. Let them know who you are bringing in, for how long, and why.

Communicate Roles and Expectations

When you bring in a temporary worker,  it can be challenging for some employees to identify new roles and working relationship expectations. Ideally, you have  already created an on-boarding process including a checklist and orientation for all employees. For a temp worker you may need to modify this. Some of the differences may include different access to information and resources, different processes including lines of communication and feedback, scope of responsibilities and more. There may be freedoms or restrictions a temporary staff has that a permanent staff does not, and vice versa.

Orient Temporary Workers to Your Culture, Mission and Values

You may be bringing in a temporary worker for a few days or a few weeks, but if you are bringing in someone to your organization it is important for them to understand your organization. If you want them to integrate they need to be on the same page as everyone else.

Assign Them a Buddy for the First Few Days

As part of your on-boarding process,  try to follow the same steps for every employee.  Take the time to introduce your new employee to others. Take your new employee on a tour of the office. This step is very important and should not be truncated. This introduction determines your new employee’s attitude toward his or her  job.   As part of this process, assign an your new employee a buddy. Choose someone to spend some time with the temp worker in the first few days.  a few 10-15 minute check-ins are not a huge time investment.

Managing perception and expectations takes work.  Lay the groundwork to bridge the divide between temporary and permanent workers. It will pay off for your business.

Additional Resources

New Employee Onboarding Checklist

How to Avoid Onboarding Mistakes

New Employee On-Boarding Checklist