Managing a temporary workforce

Whether you are looking for someone to cover a position for the day, delivery of a special project or to recruit an entire seasonal workforce, you need strong skilled staff who add to the effectiveness of your organisation.

Why use temporary staff?

  • Sickness
  • Maternity/Paternity Cover
  • Holiday
  • Providing Cover Whilst Role is Vacant
  • Temp to Perm
  • Special Projects
  • Seasonal Workload
  • Flexible Workforce
  • Special Skill Set
  • Recruitment freeze


  • Prepare a brief of the role you have to fill – it may be different from the role as
    a permanent job.
  • Think about timings – taking into account a permanent member of staff to meet them
    and settle them in.
  • Research relevant recruitment agencies – good place to start is the REC website
  • Prepare a set of criteria by which you will judge the effectiveness of the consultant and approach local or specialist agencies.

Then ask yourself:

  • Did you feel they understood what you were looking for?
  • Did they take as much information as possible about your company and the booking or project you are discussing?
  • Did they understand the type of staff you are looking for both in terms of skill set and
    culture fit.
  • Did they suggest a meeting? – assuming time allows.
  • Did they send through a copy of their Terms of Business?

Temps are a wonderful resource and in the main simply want to do the best job they can – feedback to the recruiter, both good and bad, will help move the relationship forward and make the matching process far more accurate.

Managing the workforce

  • Keep the permanent staff aware of new temporary workers and why they are there – this saves any undermining of the staff or animosity on their part.
  • Create a ‘mini induction’ covering Health & Safety issues, fire exits, the accident book, when to take breaks and any procedures within the company which will help the temp work more effectively.
  • Explain the role to the temporary worker and give them a point of contact for any queries or questions.
  • Make sure they are aware of what criteria they may use to judge where they have done a good job.
  • Check within the first 4 hours that work completed is up to standard, feedback any problems or compliments to the recruiter.
  • Sign the timesheet at the end of the assignment or each week if the booking is ongoing, and keep a copy to be married up when the invoice comes in.
  • If you have a team of temps on a project it can be easier to ask the recruiter to elevate one to team leader – they can deal with the day to day administrative duties including multiple timesheets or dealing with lateness and absenteeism.
  • It is important to differentiate between temporary workers and permanent staff. The line between that status is very fine and employers often make the mistake in their efforts to make temps ‘feel at home’ particularly if they are there for a long period of time.
  • Clients should not get involved in disciplinary discussions with temps. Temporary workers should not be on memo lists, holiday charts, and work rotas. Invitations to company members should go as a separate memo to temps.
  • Respect and value the contribution temps make to the overall well being of the company.

The potential for temporary staff to excel is often underestimated. However, with the
right input from you – the client – and by choosing the right recruitment consultant to build
a relationship with, you can expect temporary staff who hit the ground running, with commitment, expertise and the same positive attitude as a permanent member of staff.

Further reading about why temps are good for your business.