How do we engage the loyalty of the Contingent Worker? | DCR Workforce Blog

How do we engage the loyalty of the Contingent Worker?

It is a common practice today to hire employees under the category of temp to hire. These workers fill the gaps in the short-term and may be hired for the log term. It is the management’s way of adopting the idiomatic concept that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Predictions abound on the swelling of these numbers to levels like a quarter of the country’s total workforce.

On the one hand, we hear from CNN Money that fewer than half of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs (the lowest ever since record-keeping began 22 years ago) – which is just another way of saying that over half of them are not happy at work – and spend their work-days wishing they were elsewhere! So, we ask ourselves the vital question that comes to mind. How do managers ensure employee engagement from temporary hires, knowing that it has a direct impact on many important business goals like customer care, innovation and productivity and the all important profitability?

Traditionally, socio-economic parameters like career growth, promotion opportunities and job security were considered inducements to gain employee loyalty. Now, the time has come for managers to totally withdraw all those inducements and then to try and gain motivated and committed employees even when they are hired as temps through staffing agencies. Very few of us run highly profitable sweat shops where none ever measures anything but the daily output. The temps may be justified in being more loyal to the staffing company for providing them the opportunity. They may not necessarily feel indebted to either the employer or the agency.  It is necessary to induce loyalty in them by measures, which will improve their sense of involvement/belonging, participation, acceptance and legitimacy through demonstration rather than by formulating high sounding policies. As we all know, actions count more than words any day and the management would do well to remember to lay down systems and processes in such a way that that there is no sense of alienation created among the temps in their day to day activities, when at work. Many organizations today are reinforcing this through providing to the temp hires the same training and development opportunities provided to their regular staff.

Let us not get carried away by the use-and-throw culture we have adopted in our lives and brand the temp hires in the same category. Effectively managing people involves creating a sense of belonging, participation, and requires efforts to get them to share in your organization’s expectations, vision, goals, dreams and commitments. And, take the trouble to know not just their names but something about their family and background, and also to introduce them formally and properly to everyone on the team. You may provide corrective input privately to ensure that they measure up to requirements while recognizing and appreciating all their efforts and achievements, in public. Extend your open-door policy to the temps as well and you can be assured of their loyalty and commitment – though it may be only for the term of their employment with you.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.