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Handling a Difficult Temporary Worker

2019.12.17
Handling a Difficult Temporary Worker

Does your company hire temporary workers? How do you handle difficult temps? That’s a question that can be difficult to answer.

Temporary workers are gaining popularity in today’s tight labor market. In fact, hiring a temp can be a huge benefit for a business. However, occasionally you may find that a temporary worker may not be the right fit for your company or may not have the right qualifications for the job you need to fill. What do you do?

How to Handle a Difficult Temporary Worker

As with your regular employees, you’ll find that temporary workers come in a variety of personality types. You may have people who are over-achievers, those who only do what’s necessary and no more, those who have a bad attitude, etc.

All your company’s employees, whether full-time or temps, need to be treated fairly and according to the local/regional labor laws. Beyond that, there are ways you can manage difficult temporary staff. Let’s take a look at how to deal with them.

1) Talk with them and listen: if you have a difficult temp, the tendency is to want to avoid having to deal with them. However, you’ll need to talk with them to see what’s going on. Call them in for a casual meeting and ask them how they’re doing. Ask how they’re coping with their work and how things in their life are going. Put the focus on getting to know them.

In the course of the conversation, they may reveal what the issues are at work and/or at home, etc. You may learn the cause of their being difficult.

2) Be clear and concise: if a casual chat wasn’t effective in solving the problem, it may be necessary to have a more clear and blunt conversation with the temporary laborer. In fact, you may need to put down firm rules and provide them with direct feedback on their behavior at work.

3) Keep a progress record: documenting progress offers temporary workers a way to see how they’re actions are causing problems. A progress record is also a great way for them to see if they’re improving or not. On your side, it’s a way to keep a record in case dismissal results in a charge of unfairness, etc.

4) Clearly explain the consequences: firmly and clearly state the consequences of what will happen if the temp keeps being difficult. It’s imperative to let them know there are boundaries and consequences. However, be sure to end on a positive note. You can let them know you believe they can and will turn things around.

5) Dismissal: know when it’s time to let the person go. There will occasionally be circumstances when it’s just not possible to keep a temporary worker. Be sure to communicate with the hiring agency and have documentation of all the disciplinary actions taken against the temp. Remember to follow all proper termination processes. These should be the same as you have already in place full-time workers.

Coping with difficult temporary workers can be challenging; however, remember to always start out with a conversation and give them a chance to let you know what’s causing the issues. Give them a chance; if things don’t work out, then it will be time to let them go.

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