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Why is it important to increase retention of temporary staff

Retaining temporary staffing assignments and workforce, short-term, long-term and unbounded, really does matter. However, this can be a difficult pursuit when the premise of temporary staff is to take them on knowing that they will only be with you for a short period of time.

Why is it important?

As an employer, you may find that recruiting a temporary (temp) workforce is not always straightforward. It can be a challenge to find a new team member who is reliable, engaged, enthusiastic, and who settles in quickly.

Every time a temp starts a new work assignment, no matter how skilled or unskilled they are, a certain amount of training is required in order for them to be up-to-speed on what they are supposed to do. To perform assigned specific tasks to a level that suits the needs of that company.

Employing a temporary workforce, who subsequently leave because the assignment was not quite what they had in mind, can be frustrating, time consuming and costly. The starting costs of replacing just one employee is £2,697 for a company size of 1-50 employees, and this cost doubles to over £4,000 for a company size of over 500 employees.1 Permanent workforces can be affected by the constant changes within the temporary workforce, and this can be disruptive and demoralising.

An employer who invests time in recruiting and inducting new temps correctly, retaining them and making the company an attractive option to return to for a new assignment, has nailed temp recruitment.

Temporary staff retention begins with smart recruitment

The key element of retaining temp staff within your organisation begins with robust recruitment practices and effective induction. A good recruitment and induction process can help to ensure that:

  • Staff with the right knowledge, skills and values are recruited into the organisation.
  • New staff are supported when they join an organisation, and throughout their entire contract term.
  • The time from interview to effective start date is shortened, so that staff can begin their new role promptly.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Creating a working environment in which employee happiness can thrive, plays a big part in temporary staff retention. To do this you need:

  • Direction – ensure your employees know what their purpose at work is and why they carry out their tasks.
  • Environment – create a positive, creative and collaborative work environment that fosters happiness.
  • Authenticity – to establish trust between your employees and their team leaders, promote authentic psychological safety at work.

In our earlier post we discussed how the improvement of employee happiness can increase their productivity at work. This applies as much to temporary staff as it does to permanent team members.

By establishing a positive working environment, with trust and a transparent ethos, you can unlock employee happiness across your temporary workforce. This will not only maximise their productivity but ensure that they remain with you throughout their contracted term. This can also result in many temps hoping for a permanent position, an extended contract, or an opportunity to return at a later date.

increase staff retention

How to recruit a temporary workforce with retention in mind?

In order to recruit temps who will stay with you, we suggest that you:

  • Streamline your recruitment processes and pre-employment checks.
  • Manage expectation by giving full details of the assignment, including the length of the contract, to ensure candidates are provided with the right information about the role and what it entails.
  • Provide good induction support that also strengthens attachment to the employer.
  • Invest time and resources in staff development.
  • Simplify the process for easy inter-departmental moves without having to resign and reapply for new roles.
  • Keep in touch with new starters in the first week of their placement.
  • Enabling new recruits to start in their roles promptly creates a good first impression, so ensure that any training is completed as quickly as possible.
  • Use a Values-Based Recruitment (VBR) approach (attracting and select employees whose personal values and behaviours align with those of the business) such as a values-based question and answer session, tailored to individual role types. Conducting a short question session like this during the interview process can help you to assess the alignment of a candidate’s priorities to your organisation’s goals and values.2

These actions can contribute to a reduction in staff turnover, which in turn can lead to more happiness and productivity in the workplace.

How to improve retention

Streamlining your approach to recruitment, induction and pre-employment checks creates a positive start to an employee’s journey within your organisation.

By continuing to support them through training, development and with a happy work environment, you can also contribute to an employee’s intention to remain for the entire contract term and perhaps even further, when you have permanent opportunities.

In this series, we are looking to unlock the secrets behind empowering, engaging and motivating your entire workforce with the power of happiness. Although they are often under-represented within existing productivity and business development guidance, Blue Arrow believes that temporary workers are an integral part of the wider workforce driving your business. To find out more about how you can use happiness to improve productivity throughout your entire organisation, click here.

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