Staffing your organisation with temporary employees can be a good way to get the benefits of skilled people along with the flexibility that fixed term employment brings. It can, however, sometimes be difficult keeping them sufficiently motivated and performing highly due to the short term nature of their employment. Here are three ways you can improve the performance of your temporary employees.
Treat them with respect
A great way to get the best from temporary staff is to treat them with the respect and attention you would give to valued employees. The reason this can be effective is because it can result in the temporary employee's 'psychological contracts' – the implicit understandings and expectations about how they should be treated by their employer – being broken less. The psychological contract is explained in research on temporary workers' commitment to their organisations from David J. McDonald and colleagues as follows:
"Employees enter into an employment relationship with an understanding that their employer has certain obligations to them, and they to their employer, thus creating an atmosphere of reciprocity. The contract is, therefore, largely informal, unwritten, and constantly developing as the individual interacts with the organisation."
McDonald and colleagues found that temporary workers had higher positive emotional attachment to their organisations than permanent workers. They hypothesised this could be due to the temporary workers having their psychological contracts violated less – 80 per cent of permanent staff reported a contract violation whereas only 30 per cent of non-permanent staff did.
Improve their attitude about the organisation
Improving temporary workers' attitudes towards the organisation can also improve their performance. Research by Robert Moorman and Lynn Harland found that organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) performance was improved in temporary employees when their attitudes toward the organisation were improved first. They explain that OCBs are "extra-role behaviours that are discretionary, not directly recognised by the organisational reward system, yet, in the aggregate, promote the effective functioning of the organisation".
The authors discuss how previous research suggests that increased OCBs are motivated by long-term relationships between the employee and the organisation. This is the reasoning behind the common-sense notion that temporary employees are going to be less committed to an organisation. However, the authors found the better the attitudes toward the organisation were, the better their OCB performance.
The task, then, is for businesses to improve the attitudes temporary workers have to their organisation. The authors found some ways for doing this:
- Providing clear expectations of the role or task,
- training the employee,
- orienting them in the business,
- and explaining why the task is important.
Take advantage of the Monash difference
There is another way to increase the motivation of your temporary staff: employ highly motivated people in the first place. Graduates of Monash Univeristy, while being career-starters, are highly enthusiastic, and ready to learn – quickly. When you work with Monash Talent for your fixed-term staffing needs, you'll have access to our pool of candidates, all of whom are graduates of Monash University.
To learn more about working with us, get in touch with a member of the team today.
*McDonald, D. (1999). The psychological contract, organisational commitment and job satisfaction of temporary staff. (Accessed October 2018). URL: https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/01437730010318174
**Moorman, R. & Harland, L. (2002). Temporary Employees as Good Citizens: Factors Influencing Their OCB Performance. (Accessed October 2018). URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1019629330766