The gig workforce continues to see 2020 growth after a brief COVID-19 quarantine downturn. Prior to the pandemic, Forbes research showed 36% of American adults had some type of gig work. And those gig workers are happy with a 72% job satisfaction rating. As more companies take on temporary gig employment staff, here are a few tips to create a comfortable temp worker environment for everyone involved.

Since the 20th century, companies around the world have been utilizing temporary workers to fill open spots in their departments, provide flexible opportunities and employ a diverse workforce. In the 100 plus years since employment agencies rose to the popularity, the staffing industry has grown exponentially with the U.S. spending “over $150 billion on temporary staffing and on average engaged just under 3 million temporary workers each month,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Similar to other industries, staffing took a hit this year with quarantine resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a decrease of temp jobs from 2.94 million in February to 2.04 million in April, but as we continue finding our groove during the pandemic, temp jobs are rising again. In August temp jobs increased to almost 2.5 million jobs – an increase of 22% since April.  

If you’re one of the many Indiana businesses that work with a staffing company or have considered doing so, it’s important to think through the steps to ensure a temporary staff member feels welcome to create a beneficial partnership. By creating a comfortable environment and helping foster a temp worker’s success, sometimes companies may even find a professional who would be a great permanent addition.

Here are ways to make temporary employees feel comfortable at your business:  

Provide clear instructions
When temporary workers go on an assignment, they are given instructions from a staff company manager that range from how to get into the building, to their position responsibilities, to how to check out at the end of their shift. As the staffing company client, it’s important for you to be clear and concise when providing details by offering as much information as possible:

  • Who does the temp worker report to, and how do they find that person (check-in via a lobby, go to an office building, ask for an admin upon arrival).  
  • What the position entails needs to be outlined. Tell the staffing company all of the responsibilities, requirements and uniform/dress code, for example. While this may seem obvious, a similar position may look different from company to company. Be specific when placing your request to ensure expectation that helps a staffing partner find the best person for the assignment.  
  • What safety protocols need to be shared. First consider COVID-19 protocol—masks, sanitizers, gloves and so on. Should a temp worker bring their own mask, or is one provided? Will you be checking temperatures? Also think about your regular workplace. For example, if you work in manufacturing or warehouse environment, what safety protocols are part of the workplace? Do PPE requirements include footwear or ear plugs? If there’s security onsite, share the process to get into the workplace. By being clear and upfront with temp workers, they will feel more comfortable accepting the assignment knowing your business prioritizes their safety.  

Communicate with your internal staff
Your internal team may not understand why you’re using temporary employees, which can create a rift between the two parties. Staff may feel as if jobs are being threatened, or that they aren’t fulfilling their duties. Explain why new faces will be joining the team; they’re here to help. Maybe temp staff are onsite to support a larger project or perhaps some staff are out on vacation during a busy time. In communication, whether written or verbal, decide ahead the best term for the temp staff members. Are they contract workers or temporary team members?  

Be understanding
Remember that with the nature of temporary work, this may be a person’s first time at your location, so they might be nervous or unsure on what to expect. Working with different people at a new place during a pandemic can cause stress. If possible, try to make your temp team feel welcome by offering a friendly smile or wave, and ask how they’re doing. They will remember you took a moment to show kindness.  

Ideally temporary employees should feel confident about their assignment before they even step on-site –– that way they can hop in and start helping immediately. By going out of your way to create a comfortable and welcoming environment, workers will be empowered to put their best foot forward and build a successful relationship that lasts into the future.  

George Lessmeister is CEO and founder of LGC Hospitality, a hospitality staffing firm that works with hotel and restaurant leadership. The company is headquartered in Indianapolis operating in over 30 cities across the country.

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