Recently, I was told about an organisation who really invested in their onboarding approach, and not just for permanent employees, but for an intern who was on a short term assignment. It made such a positive impact on the intern that their positive feedback filtered back to the market and proved to be a great way for the company to attract employees for shorter term contracts. With the market shifting to a more temporary/contract focus, I want to challenge employers about the onboarding you currently have in place for temporary or contract workers.

I have heard stories of temps being underwhelmed by companies because they were treated “like a temp”. This as a huge missed opportunity. Positive onboarding experiences not only improve the likelihood of a successful contract but it can also create great word of mouth for your employer brand.

The benefits of a good onboarding process for a temp:

  • The temp is more engaged if they are made to feel part of the team
  • There is generally higher performance when the temp is accountable to someone and expectations are outlined
  • Enjoyable assignments turn former temps into brand ambassadors who spread positive news about you in the market, making it easier to attract top performers
  • You can more accurately assess the skill set of the temp should the contract be extended. The time the temp has spent working in the company can be a “try before you buy” scenario if they are to be considered for a permanent role

Let’s take a look at some onboarding essentials and see how your temp experience stacks up –  

1. How do you welcome your temps on the first day?

If a temp has been told to arrive at 9am make sure you have someone to greet them as soon as they arrive. Try not to have them sitting in the waiting room and hoping for someone to come and get them.

2. Do you introduce them to the team? Give them a tour?

I have heard stories of temps who, upon arrival, were given their desk and the work to do and that’s it. There was no interaction with the team and in a sense, the temp didn’t get a lasting memory of the company. You should introduce the temp to the team; give them the ability to interact more and broaden their engagement in the company.

During the team introduction, it’s a good idea to give them a tour of the office in terms of the restrooms, kitchen area and where equipment such as photocopier and fax machine is located.

You could also send an email out to the team/office introducing the temp, their background and what they will be assisting you with.

3. Do you give them training?

It’s important that the assignment is outlined to the candidates, what the expectations are and make sure they know what the big picture view is in relation to the work they are assisting with. Temporary employees often have a wealth of experience from a range of companies and they carry that forward with them every place they go. If you explain the bigger picture, they often are able to perform more effectively and even provide interesting insight.

4. Do they have a designated desk and computer access?

This is a time suck for not only the temp that can’t start the workload but it is also an additional cost to you if there are a number of hours when there is no access for the temp but still have to be paid.

Make sure your temp arrives to a fully functional computer and phone and access to the systems. It’s a good idea to show the temp the phone system and have someone talk them through the process to gain access.

5. What about a lunch or coffee invite?

Depending on the length of the contract, a lunch or even a coffee invite is a good way to welcome the temp. It’s also a good way to outline the scope of the role to them and learn more about their experience.

6. Do they have a point of contact or a work buddy?

It can be daunting in a new office if you have questions, assigning a point of contact or a work buddy is a good way of putting the temp at ease.


Set your temps up for success by providing them with a “Wow” onboarding experience. You never know, they may become your biggest brand evangelists!