In a rapidly evolving job market, marked by challenges and uncertainties, the importance of a strong company culture cannot be overstated.
The post-pandemic world has emphasized the critical role that organizational culture plays in both the success of your enterprise and the well-being and happiness of your employees.
“Company culture is powerful: it can impact sales, profits, recruiting efforts, and employee morale, whether positively or negatively,” says the folks at GreatPlace to Work. “A great company culture attracts people who want to work or do business with a company. It can inspire employees to be more productive and positive at work while reducing turnover.”
This becomes even more pronounced as companies increasingly turn to temporary workers to meet their staffing needs with the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics release showing the economy with more than 26 million part-time workers as of September 2023.
“Temporary workers play an important role in the U.S. economy. They can help fill in for employees who go on family leave, vacations, and sabbaticals while also allowing employers to evaluate potential employees without the long-term commitment,” explained the Smartest Dollar website. “Temp workers can be employed directly by the company they perform services for but are more typically employed by a staffing agency and deployed to a client to supplement their workforce for limited periods of time.”
The Wall Street Journal estimated in September that staffing companies had nearly three million workers on their payrolls in July, down 205,000 from March 2022, but still above pre-pandemic levels.
The Importance of Company Culture
Company culture is the set of values, beliefs, and behaviors that define a company. It is the way that employees interact with each other, with customers, and with the company itself. A strong company culture can have a slew of benefits, including:
- Enhanced Productivity and Engagement: A great company culture promotes a sense of belonging and purpose among employees. When workers feel connected to their organization, they are more motivated, engaged, and productive.
- Employee Retention: A positive company culture contributes to employee satisfaction and loyalty. It reduces turnover rates, saving the organization valuable time and resources on recruitment and training.
- Attracting Top Talent: A strong company culture is a powerful magnet for top talent. Talented individuals are more likely to seek out organizations where they can thrive and align with the company's values.
- Adaptability and Resilience: A vibrant culture fosters adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges. Employees who feel supported and valued are better equipped to navigate change and uncertainty.
- Increased Innovation and Creativity: A strong company culture can foster an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas and taking risks.
- Customer Satisfaction: A company culture that prioritizes customer-centric values often leads to increased customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are more likely to be loyal and recommend your services or products.
On the flip side, failing to establish a positive company culture can lead to several negative consequences, including:
- High Turnover: Employees disengaged from the company culture are more likely to leave their jobs, leading to increased turnover rates.
- Low Morale: A lack of culture or a negative one can lead to low morale, decreased motivation, and poor job satisfaction among employees.
- Inefficiency: In an environment where employees don't feel connected, communication and collaboration may suffer, leading to inefficiencies, reduced creativity, and lower productivity.
- Poor Customer Service: Employees with low morale and reduced productivity can lead to poor customer service.
- Reputation Damage: A poor company culture can harm your reputation, making it difficult to attract new talent and customers.
- Legal Issues: A toxic culture can also expose the company to legal challenges, such as harassment or discrimination claims.
The Unique Proposition of Integrating Temporary Workers
Integrating temporary workers into your company culture presents unique challenges compared to full-time employees, and can be more difficult for several reasons:
- Limited Timeframe or Tenure: Temporary workers have a fixed timeframe, making it challenging to fully immerse them in the company culture within a short period.
- Uncertainty: The job security and emotional investment of temporary workers in the company culture may be lower due to the temporary nature of their employment.
- Varied Backgrounds: Temporary workers come from diverse backgrounds, which may require tailored approaches to integration.
- Lack of Benefits: Temporary workers often do not receive the same benefits as full-time workers, such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement savings contributions. This can make them feel less valued and less connected to the company.
- Different Expectations: Temporary workers may have different expectations of their work than full-time workers. For example, they may be less likely to be interested in opportunities for career development or advancement.
- Isolation: Temporary workers may feel isolated from their full-time colleagues, especially if they are working remotely or on a different schedule.
- Communication: Ensuring effective communication with temporary workers, who may not be present in the office daily, can be challenging.
- Discrimination: Temporary workers may be discriminated against by their full-time colleagues, who may see them as less valuable or less committed to the company.
- Training and Onboarding: Temporary workers often require expedited onboarding processes and may not receive the same level of training as permanent employees.
Best Practices for Integrating Temporary Workers into Your Company Culture
Here are some best practices for integrating temporary workers into company culture:
- Clear Expectations: Clearly communicate the company's values, mission, and expectations from the start. Make sure temporary workers understand their role in upholding the culture.
- Onboarding and Training: Provide thorough onboarding and training programs, even if they are shorter in duration, to acquaint temporary workers with the company culture and their responsibilities. When possible, make sure that temporary workers receive the same onboarding as full-time workers.
- Assign Them a Mentor: Pair temporary workers with a full-time mentor who can help them to get up to speed in their job and answer any questions they have.
- Create a Sense of Community: Encourage temporary workers to participate in company events and activities. Ensure they feel part of the team by including them in meetings and social gatherings. This could involve organizing team lunches or happy hours or creating a virtual social space for employees to connect.
- Provide Opportunities for Career Advancement: Even though temporary workers may only be with the company for a short period of time, it is important to provide them with opportunities for career development. This shows them that you value their contributions and that you are interested in helping them to succeed.
- Feedback Channels: Establish open channels for feedback. Temporary workers should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns, enabling the organization to adapt and improve.
- Recognition and Appreciation: It is important to treat temporary workers with the same respect as you would treat full-time workers. This means treating them fairly, compensating them fairly, and valuing their contributions. Appreciation goes a long way in enhancing their connection to the company culture.
- Say Goodbye Properly: When a temporary worker's assignment is complete, take the time to say goodbye properly. Thank them for their contributions and wish them well in their future endeavors.
By following these best practices, you can create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for temporary workers. This will help them to be more productive and engaged, and it will also reflect positively on your company culture.