How to get the most from a blended workforce

The rapid rise in the use of temporary and contract assignments has seen a blended workforce become the norm in many industries and sectors. But the success or failure of this arrangement often comes down to how well temporary and contract employees are integrated into a team.

The very nature of this form of employment means that temporary and contract employees can quickly – and often with short notice – be brought into an organisation to perform specific and or high-skill tasks. The flexible nature of these assignments ensures they can be released quickly too.

While this process is fast and easy, employers do have an important role to play in integrating a temporary or contract employee.

Give temps the context of the tasks you need them to perform so they understand the bigger picture

This starts with making sure your temporary or contract employee is aware of your organisation’s values and way of working. Provide an induction so they know where to find the information necessary to perform their assignment.

Let them know how and when to communicate with you. It also helps to give them the context of the tasks you need them to perform so they understand the bigger picture.

Introduce them to others in the team and explain each team member’s role and responsibilities. Make sure other employees – especially those in the team your temporary or contractor will be working within – are aware of their reason for being there.

You may also need to educate team members about a temporary or contractor’s hourly rate. Yes it may be a higher rate than what a permanent salary equates to on an hourly basis, however they do not receive paid annual, sick, carer or parental leave. They do not receive benefits. And tax has not been deducted from the hourly rate.

It’s also important to make these employees feel part of the business, so include them in any team social activities or training sessions. This last point is particularly important since temporary and contract employees want to ensure their skills continue to develop. While some choose this form of employment as a lifestyle choice, others do so as a pipeline to a permanent role and therefore value any on-the-job or formal training sessions on offer.

Temporary and contract employees must also know what is expected of them to be considered successful. Performance feedback is important too – temporary and contract employees want to know that their contribution is valued just as much as permanent staff. Regular feedback sessions will ensure the productivity of your temporary and contract employees is maximised while simultaneously boosting their engagement.

This is important when sites such as Glassdoor and SEEK’s Company Reviews mean there’s a huge employment brand risk if you don’t look after employees. After all any employee – not only your permanent staff – now has an outlet to make their voice heard if their experience working for your organisation is not positive.

Finally, you should interact with your temporary and contract employees in exactly the same way as your permanent staff. As Helena Santos, Senior HR Manager Asia Pacific and Global HRBP for the IT and Finance Division of the International Baccalaureate in Singapore says, “I deal with everyone in the office in the same way, whether they are permanent or freelance, because everyone is representing our brand, so you need to try and engage contractors in what you are trying to achieve.

About this author

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director, began working at Hays in 1993 and since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

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