Learning & Development, Talent

Training Investment in Temporary Workers

Many companies find the need to employ staff on a temporary basis. This could be due to seasonal demand, unexpected labor shortages, or a transitional phase in business.

Source: Artur Szczybylo / Shutterstock

Temporary workers can be a great solution for managing an inconsistent need for labor, but it can seem like a waste of time, effort, and money when the employee is only signing on for a temporary gig.

This begs the question: How much of an investment should companies make in training temporary workers? Here are a few tips to help answer this question.

Baseline Training Needed for Any Employee

Very few companies would be able to take someone off the street and put him or her to work with no training. Moreover, in many cases, temporary workers often lack advanced job skills, meaning they shouldn’t be expected to bring extensive expertise to the job.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that employers should spend 2 weeks training a worker for an 8-week summer job, but it does mean that any job will require a baseline level of training.

Depending on the nature of the work, this can include basic safety and customer service training or an understanding of rudimentary processes and methods to ensure efficient and quality work.

What Is the Expected Length of the Temporary Position?

As noted above, it probably doesn’t make sense to spend a quarter of the length of a job on training. But the longer the term of employment is expected to last, the more sense it makes to invest in training.

This doesn’t need to all happen upfront. More specific and advanced training can be spaced out over the length of the job as responsibilities increase or aptitude for the basics is gained.

Potential for Boomerangs

Boomerang employees are those who leave a job and later return. This is often referenced with respect to career-focused jobs, but the concept can also apply to temporary positions.

Consider, for example, a high school or college student who takes a summer job and then returns year after year while in school, maybe even taking on a more permanent role after graduating. It may make sense to spend a little extra time training staff likely to return for more temporary work down the road.

Temporary employees can provide a much-needed buffer to get employers through spikes in demand or unforeseen labor shortages, but many companies struggle to determine the appropriate level of training for temporary workers, as they see it as a potential lost investment.

Regardless of the length of employment, every employee should get at least some training. It’s an important way to ensure productivity, job satisfaction, and customer satisfaction.

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