Talents of temps being wasted

Jun 06 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

An "easy come, easy go" attitude to temporary workers is hampering the productivity of UK businesses, and is a waste of talent and resources, according to Investors in People.

Employers commonly fail to make the most of their temporary workers, with many lacking the foresight to establish basic systems for managing and motivating such workers, despite the often significant contribution they make to their company's goals.

This week is National Temporary Workers Week, and so the organisation is urging employers to be more effective in how they use the UK temporary workers Ė a workforce that, while fluid, is a permanent "talent pool", it argued.

There are now some 1.4 million registered temps in the UK, but employers regularly fail to provide adequate job specifications for such workers, lack commitment when it comes to induction and are ineffective at motivating temporary workers.

Temps often complain about not being inspired by the organisations they work for, feel underappreciated or believe they play little part in driving forward a business, despite committing considerable time and effort to it.

Ruth Spellman, Investors in People chief executive, said: "Employers frequently see temps simply as a 'band-aid', when they should be treated as an integral part of the workforce."

If well managed and motivated, temporary workers could make a massive contribution to any organisation's bottom line, she added.

"Employers have to realise that getting the most from temps requires planning and attention in the same way as other employee groups," she argued.

Investors in People has drawn up a set of steps to help employers address the issue, including better workforce planning (for example, frequent skills audits and development plans) and specific "tactical" measures.

These include what it calls the "trainstorm" technique, a whistle-stop tour of company principles, customer service standards and key dos and don'ts to give temps a rapid induction into the organisation.

"To ensure alignment between strategy and available resources, employers must ensure temps are clearly and carefully integrated into business planning, so that the anticipated contribution to business goals is clear, and that management and support needs are identified early on," said Spellman.

"This will help temps become a seamless part of any workforce, and a vital boost to business progress," she added.