Commentary

OPINION: Reducing stress for seasonal temp workers in logistics

Today saw Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You”, a film about the financial and emotional struggles faced by a delivery driver in the gig economy, released in cinemas. Mark Williams, senior VP of product at People First, talks about how to manage the wellbeing of seasonal temp workers during this year’s peak .

Reducing the stress of seasonal temps

Last year, a study from Adzuna revealed that there were over 23,000 temp jobs in the run up to the holiday season, many of them warehouse jobs where ‘more hands on deck’ was the order of the day. That time of year is upon us yet again, with businesses looking to temporary staff in order to fulfil orders and meet demand without compromising on service. Recruiting seasonal workers is an effective way to deal with peak periods throughout the calendar year, but many businesses aren’t utilising temp workers nearly as effectively as they could be.

When it comes down to it, there are three key things businesses need to consider in order to make the most of their seasonal staff – communication, integration and employee wellbeing. Sadly, the drive to recruit temporary workers is often a rushed and scattered affair, and these three things are often overlooked. It doesn’t have to be like that though. With the right structure in place and the right technology to support it, seasonal work can be mutually beneficial. Temporary staff can be happy, engaged and productive while the business can maximise the value of having as many additional pairs of hands as it needs. No wizardry required; just a combination of clever recruitment and smart onboarding.

Using communication to quickly prepare temp staff for work

It’s tempting for businesses to pay little mind to seasonal staff, but that’s a huge failing. While temporary members of your team might only be there for a few weeks or a few months at most, they still represent your brand and have to play by the same rule book as everybody else. That includes embracing the culture, values and policies that make your business a brand. Usually, this would be achieved with a thorough onboarding process that would last a period of weeks, but with temp staff businesses don’t have the luxury of time. That’s where multimedia cloud-based HR tools that incorporate social and video can really shine, giving temp employees access to the people and information they need before they even arrive on site. Learning management tools can also be tailored to help new temps quickly understand core aspects of the job, like how to use a particular piece of software or operate a particular machine. This training can be structured in the form of a quick online course with instant feedback to prepare staff for their new temporary role, with minimal strain on valuable HR resources.

Integrating temp staff with permanent staff

This is a critical aspect of hiring temp staff that a lot of businesses get wrong. If you’re operating a busy shop floor or warehouse, the last thing you need is for your temp staff to be siloed off on their own, working independently from your core teams and leaders. Education and preparation – as outlined above – play a key role here, but so does networking. With dedicated social networks and forums, you can create a space where temps can connect and engage with permanent staff as if they were one of the team (which they are). With the right technology and onboarding process in place, your business can start including temp staff immediately in all relevant comms and give them a direct channel to supervisors and team leaders. This will immediately validate the presence of any temp staff and show that you, as a business, are investing in them and value their input.

Monitoring performance and wellbeing

Busy trading periods like Black Friday and Christmas can be tough on staff. Wellbeing can impact performance, which can have a knock-on effect on business and profit. However, by combining cutting edge technology with a desire to put people first, your business can mitigate those risks and enjoy those lucrative seasonal highs. For example, introducing a digital assistant available through mobile phones that allows your temp staff to easily get their daily briefing, clock in and out, and book any time off will go a long way to ensuring their happiness. Performance reviews can also be arranged by all employees, even temporary staff, to nurture a culture of openness and honesty, and ensure that the working relationship is a mutually beneficial one. While it’s important to ensure the wellbeing of temporary staff during their time with you, it’s also no secret that their biggest motivator is likely to be their paycheck. A streamlined HR platform and a carefully orchestrated onboarding process should also ensure that temp staff aren’t waiting too long for their first payment.

Mastering temporary recruitment isn’t easy, but with the right approach and the right technology in place, it can be a huge net positive for any business. By streamlining HR processes and creating fast, effective onboarding strategies, temp workers can be happy workers, and they’ll thank you for it.

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