The Employee Engagement Network

How can companies increase engagement in temporary employees? Most of the U.S. will see little growth in full-time employment for the remainder of 2010. Hiring of temporary workers started to increase at the end of last year and is usually a leading indicator of economic growth. However, companies appear to be relying more on temporary and "permanent temporary" workers than in past recession recoveries. Some argue that temps are becoming an essential part of any company's workforce. If this is the case, don't we have to pay attention to the involvement, commitment, and discretionary effort of these workers? How can we promote engagement in employees who may have dual allegiances to a temp agency and to the company, who don't know how long they will be employed, and who might be more motivated by income in the short-term than career opportunities in the long-term?

Tags: employees, temporary, temps

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Not a problem, Stephen.

If management has mastered the art of engaging permanent employees, temporary employees will be joining an engaged workforce who are treated with great respect by management. Temps will adopt that culture quite rapidly so long as management treats them like valued team members as they must be doing with the permanent employees.

I admit that is a very big IF. Very, very few managements have a clue of how to create an engaging environment and most are actively causing employees to be disengaged. An environment where the employee's needs to be heard and be respected are fully met are very rare indeed.

High income will not overcome disengaging actions by management.

Best regards, Ben
The shift toward temporary workers is very much an anathema to EE because it erodes trust, perceived [employee] financial stability and almost every aspect of employee "wellness". Check out "The Disposable Worker" (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_03/b4163032935448.htm) in Bloomberg's Business week for a very well-researched perspective on the topic.
Paul, thanks for the reference to the Business Week article. My concern is that those of us who care about EE cannot afford to write off temporary workers in the new economy. If they are here to stay, and are an essential part of doing business, then it seems to me that we have to find a way to engage them.
Hello Stephen. Great topic and I appreciate (and partially agree with) your sentiments. That said, I remain skeptical that an increasing percentage of temporary workers in the "new economy" is a foregone conclusion...at least without a very different and more robust public safety net.

My bet is that any company that truly embraces EE as a long-term cultural competency will find that establishing the requisite trust to communicate "we value you" to its workers will prove elusive if, at the same time, it's making them feel less secure financially. In the end, I may be wrong, but I struggle to imagine a bridge strong enough to emotionally connect employees to companies that will not invest in them as full-fledged partners in business. An arms-length approach by employers will likely breed mercenary employees. But maybe that is where the e-generation is headed. We'll see.

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