Best Practices for Onboarding New Temporary Hires

Companies often scale back or even skip the onboarding process for temporary hires since their tenure with the company is brief. However, onboarding new temporary employees matters. Whether they are the face of your retail business in the busy season, or helping a construction project finish ahead of schedule, temporary hires are essential to your company’s success. Onboarding is the process that helps them feel that way, thereby improving the chances they will give their best to your organization, and return in the future. Read on to learn how onboarding temporary and seasonal hires benefits your business, and how to onboard effectively.


What is Onboarding and Why Does it Matter?

 According to a 2015 study by HR research service, one in three workers hopes to quit their current job for a new one in the next six months. Research also indicates half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days. A well thought-out and thorough onboarding plan can help minimize this turnover at your company by addressing factors that cause job dissatisfaction, such as insufficient training and work requirements that don’t match expectations. During onboarding, new hires learn what the job description means in practice and the required skills to do the job well out of the gate. This is also when they are introduced to the culture of their new workplace. Effective onboarding essentially sets up new employees for success by helping them feel welcome, prepared, and empowered.   


Tips for Onboarding Temporary Employees 

  1. First Impressions Count — When an employee enters a new workplace, they should feel welcome and in good hands. If possible, have a supervisor greet the new employee and begin introductions to anyone they will be working with closely. Have any necessary paperwork ready to square away quickly. No one particularly enjoys this, but they will appreciate completing it so they can dive into their work and know they are being properly compensated. This is also the time to give them workplace handbooks, reiterate the responsibilities of the job, discuss safety issues, and give them an opportunity to ask questions.


  1. Give Temps Tools to Succeed — Naturally this will vary depending upon the position. For administrative roles, this may be a desk and computer, along with login information and training for programs related to their tasks. For construction jobs, this may be safety goggles and gear. For customer service, this may be protocols to cope with irate patrons. Temporary hires left to “wing it” or hunt down help on their own when problems arise are more likely to feel frustrated in their new position.


  1. Encourage Participation — Much of the onboarding process is a passive experience, with new employees filling out required paperwork and listening to a rundown of workplace rules. New temporary hires should feel empowered to ask questions and seek clarification when needed. Despite your best efforts, no training and orientation program will cover every last detail. Remind employees to take responsibility for their part in onboarding. If there are gaps in their understanding of the job or areas of concern, they should be encouraged to reach out to supervisors and peers for answers.


  1. Designate a Mentor — New employees with questions will quickly feel discouraged if they aren’t told whom to ask for help, or the people they ask are not helpful. For the first days and weeks on the job, each new temporary hire should be assigned a point person to consult when they have questions. Whether this person is a supervisor or a more experienced peer, it’s important they are patient and available when questions arise.


  1. Follow-up Matters — Once a temporary hire appears to get into the swing of things, they often fall off the radar of supervisors. This is a mistake. Even temporary hires need occasional check-ins either in a meeting, an informal chat, or both depending upon the duration of their time with you. During these interactions, ask about how they are adjusting to the job and thank them sincerely for their hard work.


  1. Offboarding Matters, Too — Ask outgoing employees about their experiences working for your company. What was positive? What was negative? How supported and prepared did they feel? This can help you gauge what works and what doesn’t, improve your management strategies, and fine-tune your employer brand.


You never know when a seasonal or temporary hire will show promise for a full-time role, or know qualified people to recommend. Positive and thorough onboarding increases the chances these workers will share favorable stories about your business or want to return to your workplace in the future.