Employers should promote workplace engagement among temporary agency staff by applying the same approach as they do with permanent employees, says a new report published today by the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) in partnership with the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).
Tune in to temps: how employers and recruiters can support agency worker voice in the workplace makes recommendations for both employers and recruiters for how to promote employee voice and staff engagement among agency workers which, when done successfully, can deliver business benefits such as higher productivity, creativity and innovation while reducing sickness absenteeism and levels of conflict in the workplace.
The recommendations to employers include that they should:
- Ensure agency workers receive a proper induction
- Foster relationships with agency workers by giving regular feedback, or even formal appraisals for those on longer assignments
- Make sure agency workers are treated as part of the team when on assignment, receiving informal benefits like inclusion in staff activities and social events.
- Understand the motivations for someone working in a temporary way and place them in assignments that support their needs
- Make sure workers feel comfortable about raising concerns about a placement without fear of penalty
- Ensure workers are supported with their professional development throughout their employment with access to training and placements that provide an opportunity to develop skills and progress.
Commenting on the report, REC chief executive Kevin Green says:
“There is a lot of great work being done by employers and recruiters to ensure that people who choose to work flexibly still benefit from having positive, enjoyable and personally fulfilling experience at work. It’s about treating people with respect and extending the same approach managers would take with permanent staff in terms of giving inductions, providing feedback and making sure temps feel welcome and included. Good recruiters will invest in their workers and see strong employee engagement as a way to build their brand and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.”
Head of policy and research at the IPA, Patrick Brione says:
“Too often in the past regarded as ‘second class’ members of the workforce, agency workers and their hirers have sometimes missed out on the benefits of of highly engaged workforce. This report shows why this does not have to be the case. Through two excellent case studies of good practice, this research highlights that when agency workers are accorded the same respect, dignity, voice and support as other employees, it can massively boost their engagement and unlock their productivity, innovation and commitment at work. This paper includes practical lessons for employment agencies and host workplaces to consider when looking at how to get the very best of out of their agency workers, understanding that small actions can make a big difference.”
The paper presents two case studies: one featuring Tata Steel and the two agencies who supply to them – Acorn and Hays; the other featuring Chef Jobs UK and two clients who they supply – an NHS trust and a chain of gastro pubs. Agency workers at both sites were also interviewed about what engagement meant for them.