How do we motivate and engage temporary workers?

There's plenty of work to do, but you can't stop yawning at your desk.

Your organization needs a software developer, but only for a six-month project. What should you do?

Many organizations would advertise for a temporary employee or contact a temporary staffing agency. According to separate, independent surveys from CareerBuilder and Harris Poll, nearly half of all organizations already hire temporary workers, and the United States is expected to add more than 173,000 temporary and contract jobs by 2018.

"Opportunities are opening up in a variety of occupations and pay levels, and this is a trend we're seeing in a wide range of industries and company sizes," says Kyle Braun, president of CareerBuilder's Staffing and Recruiting Group. In fact, CareerBuilder reports that 10 occupations—including software development, human resources, nursing, construction, and computer support—pay $15 per hour or more on average, and each boast at least 10,000 currently available temporary jobs.


The reason for this growth? It "benefits both sides of the labor market," Braun says. "Hiring temporary and contract workers helps companies stay flexible and adapt quickly to changing market demands."

However, as temporary workers become more prevalent in the workplace, talent development professionals must put measures in place to keep them engaged. Doing so can improve their productivity by up to 21 percent, according to 2013 research by Gallup. It also can help organizations build strong relationships with temp workers.

The Houston Chronicle offers several tips for businesses looking to ensure their temporary workers are engaged and motivated:

  • Offer orientation and training.
  • Allow temporary workers to set their own schedules, if possible.
  • Recognize valuable contributions.
  • Provide temp-to-hire opportunities.
  • Connect regularly with short-term workers in person or by phone.