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How to help your temp staff hit the ground running

How do you train a temp staff quickly enough for them to dive right into the work? These five on-boarding tips will help.

During busy periods, many small business owners will need to hire temp staff to manage the increased demand. From Airtasker to Upwork there is no shortage of casual or temporary staff to lend that much-needed extra pair of hands.

Kate Herbert, co-founder of Waggly Club, for example, often hires temp staff to help with her monthly subscription box service for dogs.

She explains, “Temps allow us to flex up the skills we need at the time without committing to carrying the overhead full time. They’re also great for urgent jobs, as they can usually be brought on at short notice, sometimes even within 24 hours.”

But with limited time available for training and trust building, the stakes can be high. So before you welcome temp staff on board, it’s important to have a basic on-boarding plan in place to make the experience worthwhile for you and them.

Here are five practical ways to ensure you can make the most from your short-term working arrangement.

1. Create a basic training manual

The first thing you need to do is write a basic training manual. Kate emphasises the importance of only including important details and being straight-to-the-point so there’s very little or no room for misinterpretation.

“When it comes to packing the boxes, for example, we write down instructions and also take photos of what items should go into the box.”

2. Provide context

Set aside enough time at the start of their first day to tell them not just about the task but about your business and what matters to you. “You want them to know what you care about so they can deliver a great outcome for you.”

3. Set clear expectations

Be open from the very beginning about exactly what you expect. And be as specific as possible. “Setting clear expectations about quality standards or deliverables give temp staff the best opportunity to meet them.”

4. Be available

Make sure you’re available – or at the very least easily contactable – throughout their first day. Kate recommends putting yourself in their shoes. “You can’t just give them a task, leave them be and expect good results. You need to be available for them to ask questions, raise issues and to overcome mistakes”.

5. Be open to new ideas

Having a temporary staff member on board is a unique opportunity to get a fresh perspective on your business. So on their first day make sure to let them know you’re open to feedback and new ideas.

Kate says she’s found having a new, outside perspective invaluable. “If you’re not open to that, you’re missing out on some really great feedback on your business and processes.”  

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