Onboarding Contract and Temporary Workers

In December my colleague, Leah Fochuk, wrote an excellent article about best practices in HR. (Definitely worth a read if you haven’t seen it). In her article she mentioned onboarding of employees. Today, I would like to look at this from a slightly different point of view – Onboarding Contract and Temporary Workers.

In our current climate of excess talent and economic uncertainty, companies are considering using temporary/contingent workers or independent contractors to fill skill gaps without exposing themselves to risks and costs associated with a permanent full-time hire. Leading this trend, are small-to-medium size businesses; few of which, have the dedicated in-house resources to design and execute an effective and engaging onboarding processes – especially for contractors.

Assuming that you have not retained an agency sourced ‘one-day-temp’ to assist you with your year-end photocopying, you may want to give some thought as to how you are onboarding your contract/temporary employees. (Although, even ‘one-day temps’ would likely appreciate understanding how the monotonous yet important task of photocopying is supporting the company and team). But, why is spending time onboarding temporary or contract workers important?

Hopefully, you already recognize the positive impact of a well-designed and well-implemented onboarding process to an employee’s satisfaction, morale, and overall performance. The same holds true for your temporary and contract workers, only on a much shorter timeline. Although engaged for their ‘expertise’, this expertise is more than likely NOT onboarding. It’s unrealistic and unreasonable to expect a contractor or temporary worker to figure out how they fit into the organization and how they can impart value on their own. Therefore, the importance of an onboarding program is even greater.

Another colleague (Jaclyn Bock) wrote the Guide to Onboarding in 2015, I have adapted some of her excellent suggestions for this group:

  • Don’t let them eat lunch alone. It’s never fun being the new kid…Arrange a first day lunch for yourself, the contractor and team members the contractor will be frequently interacting with. If there is no budget for a restaurant lunch, arrange a series of bagged lunch dates with team members. Be sure you communicate the lunch dates to the contractor ahead of time and introduce them to the members of your team they will be eating with.
  • Tell them how they fit. Ensure the contractor understands what the company does by providing an overview of the organization – its history, the products or services it provides and how the different teams work together. Provide them with organizational charts, the policies and procedures manual and provide time to absorb the manual. Explain how their role fits into the bigger picture of your business.
  • Manage Expectations. Let them know what your expectations are and allow them equal opportunity to outline their expectations as well. This is not a one-time conversation.
  • Follow Up. Conduct weekly and eventually monthly check-ins to ensure that expectations are being met and that there is no confusion in the role. Ensure that they are continually set up for success and have no boundaries in their way to do their job and quickly add value your team.
  • Survey Says…. When the contract is finished – complete an exit interview.

Even a temporary team member likes to know how they fit… having a systematic and structured temporary worker onboarding program helps to quickly bring temporary and contract workers up to speed; minimizing the time it takes for them to be productive and giving your organization the expertise it needs.

For further information or support in developing and implementing an effective onboarding process contact Salopek & Associates – we’d be happy to discuss the challenges you are facing in onboarding, managing and engaging your temporary or contract workforce.




Salopek HR Blog – “You’ve Hired Em, Now How Do You Keep Em?”: Leah Fochuk 

Salopek HR Blog – “Guide to Onboarding: Part 1”: Jaclyn Bock


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