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Don't Treat a Temp Like a Temp

November 1, 1995
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Related Topics: Contingent Staffing, Featured Article
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For the most part, temporary employees feel just like regular employees. They park in the same lot, report to the same supervisors, eat in the same lunchroom and have similar professional goals and capabilities as many other workers. For this reason, everything you do to motivate temps should be designed around not treating them like temps.

Tecora Rogers is a computer-support services manager at Frankel & Co., a Chicago-based promotions and marketing firm that, among other things, produces all the graphics used in McDonald's promotions. She uses agency temps on a daily basis in her department to put together a wide range of documents, from overhead slides to newsletters.

"From day one, I do everything I can to make sure they feel as though they belong and don't feel any less important than any other employees," she says. The list of things she does neatly sums up what all companies should be doing when it comes to motivating temporary workers. She:

  1. Sends temps to the same company orientation as other employees.
  2. Gives them the same autonomy as regular workers. "I tell them it doesn't matter how they get a job done, as long as it's done timely and well."
  3. Asks them to participate in department meetings and shares all company memos with them. "I expect the same quality from them. To do that, they must have the same knowledge base. The more they know about the company, the better they perform."
  4. Identifies high-potential people, and keeps them motivated by giving them higher levels of responsibility.
  5. Demonstrates her level of trust by giving temps keys to the internal offices. (Only regular employees have keys to the outside doors, however.)
  6. Invites temps to all company social functions.
  7. Never, ever, refers to a temporary worker as the temp. Instead, she introduces the worker by his or her name. "In every sense of the word, temps are part of this department. I don't want to do anything to make them feel like they don't belong."

Personnel Journal, November 1995, Vol. 74, No. 11, p. 36.

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