How to Recognize Unproductive Temp Workers

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By Lisa Hutchinson

Topics: temp workers


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How_to_Recognize_Unproductive_Temp_Workers.jpgBringing on temporary workers has many benefits. You can maintain productivity levels when you face influxes of work or staff shortages. You can take advantage of special skills that you do not have in house. You can give your staff the help they desperately need to lighten their workloads, leading to improved morale, reduced risk of errors and accidents, and increased efficiency. And so much more.

But you will only realize these benefits if your temp workers are productive, efficient, and effective. Unproductive temp workers can wreak havoc on your productivity levels, on customer service, on employee morale, and on your bottom line.

To make sure you only have the best temporary workers on your staff, it’s important to be able to recognize unproductive temp workers right away, so you can return them to your temporary staffing agency for replacement.

Here are some signs to take notice of:

Slow Learners

In order to be effective, temps need to be fast learners. They’re constantly moving from job to job, company to company, and industry to industry. Business owners expect them to hit the ground running with minimal training or guidance. There simply isn’t enough time during a temp’s short stay to offer in-depth training.

If some of your temps aren’t figuring out your systems and processes quickly, if they’re constantly asking for direction long after they should be self-sufficient, and if they continue to make avoidable mistakes, it may be time to ask your temp agency for replacements. Fast learning and adaptability are required skills for all temporary workers.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

If any of your temp workers seem to have excuses for everything, they’re probably unproductive. If they’re always late, miss deadlines, or don’t follow your directions, and always have excuses to explain away their unacceptable behaviours when confronted, there isn’t much chance that they’ll change any time soon.

Chatty Cathy

The best temp workers thrive in new environments. They love to meet new coworkers and network. Usually, this is a great thing—they can adapt to new teams quickly. However, you might find yourself with a Chatty Cathy on your hands. If one of your temporary workers is always seen chatting at the water cooler, at a colleague’s desk, or in the lunch room at unauthorized times, this temp is probably going to be unproductive because they spend all their time socializing.

The Disappearing Act

Can’t find your temp? Are they never in the conference room when you’re having a meeting? Are they never at their desk when you need them to take on a project? A temp who’s always disappearing is probably unproductive. People who want to avoid work often avoid the very places where work is going to be assigned.

Such behaviour is unacceptable. You need your temps to be willing and eager to help you out while they’re in your workplace.

All Talk and No Action

Some unproductive temp workers are experts at looking busy. Any time you ask what they’re working on, they’ll give you vague answers like they’re still researching, they’re in the planning stages of a project, they’re conferring with colleagues, or they’re waiting for an answer before they can start diving into their work. Take this as a sign. Temps who are all talk and no action will only waste your time and that of your other employees. And they won’t deliver results.

Temp workers are supposed to improve your business, not hinder it. A bad temporary worker can cause damage to your company culture, to morale, to efficiency, and to productivity. Pay attention to these signs and nip the problem in the bud at the first sign of trouble.

Want the best temps? Contact Liberty Staffing.

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Lisa Hutchinson

I started with Liberty Staffing in 2004 as the Regional Business Manager of the London office. I have over 20 years of experience in the customer service and retail sectors, as well as leadership experience including Store Management, People Development and Recruiting. In 2016, our London location moved to a larger office in order to accommodate growth of our business, which included adding a Clerical Division.

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