The increasingly popular entrepreneurial movement that is sweeping the nation has brought with it the birth (or rebirth in this case) of new industries to support our country’s innovators. From products to services, an entire sector has been born seemingly overnight. One of the biggest players in this new industry are staffing agencies. The integration of temporary employees into a company’s labor force has proven to be a financial and logistical epiphany for many U.S. companies struggling through startup and growth phases.
Entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones who recognize the benefits of using temporary employees. In today’s economic climate, many larger companies are also seeking the help of staffing agencies to revamp labor departments in an effort to cut costs. In fact, this has led to a sharp increase in the utilization of staffing agencies, which is expected to increase over the next five years.
Whether you’ve chosen to use a staffing agency as a temporary solution, or a permanent one, the goal is to have the staff additions help improve daily operations. Since operations is all about efficiency, we’ve created a list of tips to help get your temporary employees through the on boarding process as efficiently as possible.
The only predictable things about a technology debacle is that it will always happen at the most inopportune time and will always take at least three hours to resolve. While we can easily waste close to half a work day trouble shooting system failures, there are some areas of technology we actually do have control over. The best way to avoid wasting time with a new hire is get in front of the technology issues. Work with your IT department to create a checklist and work flow for onboarding new staff. This should include security badges, network access, password and e-mail set up, phone and voicemail log in information, etc. This should all be completed and written down for your temporary employees before their first day.
It’s also not a bad idea to have someone from your IT department on-site as soon as your new hire arrives to make sure everything is on and working properly. That way if there is a problem, you can continue on with tours and trainings, while IT stays behind to fix the problems.
Utilizing “on the job training” methods are a valuable tool, regardless of the industry. However, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Let’s take a minute to define what “on the job training” should look like. “On the job training” should be used as a piece of the onboarding curriculum, not the entire plan. It’s far more effective to create a training schedule that incorporates “on the job training” in a purposeful way. First, teach them the skill, then show them the skill in the form of “on the job training. “
Also, be strategic about who you pair your temporary employees with. Every employee has their strengths. If you are training on accounts payable processing and Johnny is your best accounts payable person, put them together for the training.
Setting up an employee’s workspace can be time consuming, but there are a lot of ways to speed things up. First, before your temporary employees start, send them an e-mail asking if there are any special accommodations they require for their work space. This ensures you have time to set up any ergonomic or disability equipment prior to the start date. Everyone likes their desk set up a particular way. Rather than having HR waste time setting up a desk, only to have it rearranged by the person who will be occupying it, put it all together in the form of a welcome basket. It’s great for relationship building and eliminates time consuming searches, as everything they need is in the basket. Include in the basket a welcome note with an e-mail address to where they should send supply requests, timesheets, etc… Side note: We also always have a steno pad included, which we pull out of the basket with a pen and give a new recruit to take notes on their first day. It’s a friendly reminder to take notes to refer back to, rather than just trying to remember it all.
Having a digital training center is hands down the best way to increase efficiency when it comes to training. Whether it’s done in the form of a flash drive, or cloud based system, such as G-suite, you should have training documents put together for a new hire to find readily. This will enable you to provide a new hire with current training materials they can always access and refer back to. Here is a list of a few things you should include in this training center:
- Abbreviated Handbook
- Daily responsibilities checklists
- Contact list
- List of websites commonly used and where to access username and password info
- “How To’s” for common tasks on specific software, including screen shots.
Q&A Late Lunch Session
Rather than taking a new hire out to lunch, schedule a late dine in lunch and invite a few veteran employees. This is a great way to give your new hire a chance to get to know their co-workers and ask any questions they may have. A vital piece of this strategy is to give them some alone time before hand so they can formulate questions. If you are training them up until lunch, they may not have had time to process much of the information, let alone formulate questions. Let them play around with the software they’ll be primarily using or practice the workflow, so they can identify areas that need clarification.
End of day / week
For temporary employees, it is always best to have a brief review at the end of the first day. Discuss how the day went, what they learned and accomplished. Revise anything regarding work expected or issues that pop up. Communication is critical to ensuring you have someone focused on your temporary needs and not non-critical issues. Doing a weekly follow up to review the overall week helps you both see the big picture of the project.
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