5 Tips for Motivating Your Temporary and Seasonal Employees

If you have temporary or seasonal employees, they become a part of your company’s culture.  If some of them are unmotivated, it can compromise morale and perhaps even productivity.

Temporary employees aren’t an afterthought and their flaws can’t be overlooked.  Here are tips on motivating them.

You don’t have to be Mary Kay Ash to know that everyone wants to feel valued and that he or she is making a difference.  You can’t allow a temporary employee to feel like a fifth wheel, like a marginal part of the staff.  Even if a temporary employee knows she is one, even if she may not have much chance for advancement, and not even a full-time post, she’ll respond to being treated as a full-fledged part of the team. Unless you’re dealing in top secret information, let the temp into meetings; show some mentoring, including getting feedback about how well things are going, how you can make things more comfortable, etc.  The key is to motivate the employee by making him feel a big part of the team.

Here are five tips on how to do so:

1. Lay the groundwork

Make goals and expectations clear.  Treat the position as requiring skill and as not getting short shrift in terms of expectations.

2. Check in with your permanent workers

Since your regular employees will working elbow to elbow with your temporary hires, make sure you get their feedback and support in the process. Their positive attitude will in turn rub off on your temporary staff.  In extreme cases, info you get this way may alert you to the fact that a temp just isn’t working out.

3. Make an effort in the vetting process.

Temporary workers now number 17 million in the U.S. alone.  This puts us at the largest number since 1990.  There aren’t numbers on how many of these are carefully chosen.  But–particularly in this economic landscape–there are more than enough very qualified people seeking part-time employement, including consulting and contractual work.

Take the hiring process very seriously; if you’re going through a temp agency and it’s not supplying the best talent, communicate with them and push for a remedy.

4. After Vetting them, Train Them

Not only is it key to set clear expectations for your temporary employees, it’s also very important to give them a fighting chance with solid training.  Sure, you’ll probably invest less time in a temp than a long-haul employee.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But if you think you can save a bit of time by leaving temp employees hanging, letting them fend for themselves, you’ll end up not only losing time but suffering the aforementioned problems with your full-timers.

5. Elicit Feedback From Previous Temp Workers

Who knows the experience of a part-time worker more than a part-time worker?  Don’t let this precious resource go to waste.

You may consider, if you’ve hired multiple people, distributing anonymous questionnaires.

Keep in mind that it’s possible to do all of the above and still experience an unmotivated worker. But he or she will probably be the exception.  If you consistently value what your temporary staff brings to your business, they’ll value it too.