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Temporary Workforce Engagement Matters – Part 2

Staff engagement is a critical determiner of an organization’s success, and this concept applies just as much when utilizing temporary job services as it does to employees. Unfortunately, temporary staff workers are often not fully engaged in a company’s success. The reasons for this vary. Some temporary workers have short-term assignments that don’t require an investment by the company, such as a receptionist. However, others like project managers, Call Centre representatives, and even long-term warehouse workers are hired for the unique contributions that they can make. To obtain optimal performance from these temporary staffing agency workers, it’s vital that companies engage them just as they would employees. Consider these statistics regarding temp workers published by the Harvard Business Review:

  • Engagement levels are lowest among sales and service employees
  • Engagement scores are lowest at the bottom of the org chart

Temporary workers in Canada hit a record two million in 2012, according to Statistics Canada. That amounts to 13.6 per cent of the work force compared with 11.3 per cent in 1997, when such record-keeping began. These numbers indicate the need for engagement at all levels of temp workers. However, this engagement must come from the top. There are some basic, yet highly effective ways, that company leaders can create a culture of engagement by becoming more engaged themselves.

Eliminate Negative Thoughts About Staff

Sometimes, businesses create a self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to temporary staff. Executives right down to supervisors and employees view them as short-timers and fail to truly interact with them on professional and personal levels. This negativity causes temp staff to further disengage from the company. Instead, leaders must eliminate negative thoughts by treating them as if they were a full-time employee. Similarly, they shouldn’t dwell on negative traits that can be overcome. All individuals have weaknesses. However, instead of dwelling on a worker’s weakness, leaders should identify their strengths and use those to the company’s advantage.


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Get to Know Workers

Company leaders/managers who take a traditional closed-door approach to workers will never have a fully engaged workforce. Leaders must make an effort to get to know temporary staff and develop relationships with them. By chatting over morning coffee or during lunch, management get a better idea of the challenges and stressors that inhibit temp workers. It also makes leaders seem more approachable, which can lead to temp staffers who bring up problems that salaried workers are afraid to address.

Foster a Team Environment Using Social Tools

One reason why temp workers don’t engage is that they don’t feel like part of the team. One way to overcome this is by facilitating a team environment using social tools like instant messaging, an Intranet, or other inter-office communication tools. Ensure that temp workers have accounts on each platform, and introduce them via the platform once they begin work. This makes them feel more comfortable and makes other workers more likely to engage with them.


Communicating expectations is vital to the success of a temp worker. However, to engage them companies must go further by explaining how their performance objectives relate to a new product launch. Supervisors should invite temp workers to staff meetings and include them on emails and communications about the overall direction and health of the company.


Many businesses use money as a motivator, but this has been shown not to increase staff engagement levels. The best motivators for temp staff are the same benefits that employees receive. Some of these include flexible schedules, access to the company gym or participation in on-site dry-cleaning programs.




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