Managing temporary or contract summer workers with performance management

Many organisations opt to employ contract workers over the summer months; from university students to end-of-term teachers, many organisations find that their summer projects can be worked on by contract workers giving their permanent employees the opportunity to manage the project in-hand.

However, many organisations are conscious that loyalty will likely never be top priority for a contract or temporary worker. Some organisations even see them as a liability, as their contracts may allow them to leave at a moment’s notice. However, companies often save money by hiring in contract workers, and the workers benefit as their summer role will supplement their income as required, making it a win-win situation.

Organisations can win contractor loyalty by treating them as a permanent member of staff, including offering full-timers perks, inclusion in social events and sufficient performance management: your contact workers should enjoy continual development throughout their working time with your organisation.

This offers several benefits. Firstly, better integration between your full-time permanent staff and contract workers will lead to better working relations and organisational goals being reached more efficiently. Furthermore, by including temporary and contract workers within your performance management programme, you are likely to gain their loyalty. This can be advantageous on two fronts: firstly, they will understand their part within your project’s goals, and secondly, they may even decide to return to your company for further project work – resulting in you gaining workers already aware of your company’s goals and culture.

The modern train of thought involves regular, short catch-ups – meaning that your managers aren’t tied up in spending hours with each temporary worker. Managers must understand their role in managing temporary workers; whilst there is the temptation to focus their energies on permanent members of the team, contracts can be very fluid and temporary workers can stay within the organisation for much longer than initially contracted. By understanding each worker’s strengths and weaknesses, managers can ensure they are fitted into the role best suited to their skillset during their time with your organisation.

Temporary workers are likely to be on board with performance management as it can evidence their performance and attitude during their time with you, later becoming a helpful document when moving onto their next role (or when proving their worth if hoping to stay at your organisation!). By taking the time to praise their achievements and give suggestions, temporary workers will feel better valued within your organisation.

Whilst there can be a feeling of ‘us versus them’ in terms of permanent and contract workers, organisations should be mindful to implement a ‘togetherness’ culture; ultimately, contractors are bought into companies to provide additional skillsets which are not currently available within the team and should be therefore valued – and given the same perks – as full-time workers. This unites the team towards achieving their shared goal, utilising the team’s strength where possible.

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