The temp industry is booming, with these workers filling essential roles in many organizations. From filling a spot left open by a mother on maternity leave to completing short-term projects, the organizational reliance on temps is evident. However, while many positive aspects surround this workforce, such as avoiding the payment of benefits by employers, a darker side often looms.
Many employers and staffing agencies are struggling to keep highly educated temps motivated and on task in their workforce. Often, these temps, who should be the most competent and able employees, are those that fail to meet productivity standards and just aren’t with it when it comes to being part of an organization’s culture.
So, is this workplace dilemma caused by highly educated temps not being as highly educated as employers assume? If only the answer was that easy. Rather, the reasons why highly educated employees often make the least desirable temps are slightly more complicated, as shown in a 2007 study by Loril Gossett. Basically, Gossett’s study found that temps can be divided into three types, with highly skilled individuals typically deemed as the free agent type.
The following are the assumptions typically taken by the free agent temp:
- Think temping is not a career choice, it’s a necessary stepping stone
- Assume a temp position is only necessary for quick money
- Remain disconnected from others and report to no one but themselves
- Consider temping to not be a real job
- Possess negative attitude during temp industry
So, after reviewing these common temp assumptions, the question for an employer is – How do I utilize talented temps while ensuring they’ll put forth their best effort on the job?
First, don’t give up on these skilled workers as lost causes in the temping industry. Rather, in most cases, what simply must be done to increase the commitment of highly qualified temps to a short term project, is reiterate how they can benefit from the working arrangement. It’s unfortunate, but many of these qualified individuals are ashamed to be working as temps and must be shown how the arrangement can fill resume gaps while they continue searching for full-time employment. If they play their cards correctly, some may even land full-time gigs from a former temping position.
While temping isn’t viewed as an ideal working arrangement by many employees, it has its benefits. If you utilize temps in your organization, each must be encouraged to put forth their best effort and shown the benefits that may come from doing so. Highly skilled individuals must also begin to look towards the brighter side of temping to make the most of this working arrangement. Since temping isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, everyone involved must do their part to make it a more productive workplace solution.
Have you seen this trend of productivity lacking in the temp industry? Do you completely disagree and think highly educated individuals make the best temps?
Author Bio: Shayla Ebsen is a full-time freelance writer and graphic designer with more than seven years combined experience from her time in the corporate world and through her freelance work. Shayla’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in News/Editorial Journalism from South Dakota State University and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Organizational Communication from the University of South Dakota. Learn more about Shayla and her services at shaylaebsen.com.
Reference: Gossett, L. (2007). On Members, Clients, and Passers By: Examining the organizational identification and communication implications of different temporary worker identities. Conference Papers — National Communication Association, 1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.