Look After Your Temps and They’ll Look After You
The importance of temps in keeping the economy moving over the past few years has been enormous. As the country has been in and out of lockdown, confidence in hiring for permanent roles has dipped. However, the levels of recruiting for temporary or interim staff has either remained robust or it has shown signs of increase since 2020.
When you think of temps, your mind might default to generalist workers who provide short-term cover. Whilst this is true, the term temporary staffing is much broader. You should also be thinking of interim and project workers and mid-longer term cover. It’s the parental leave cover, the project specialists and the consultants who join your team for several months, if not years, at a time.
Why are temps so important?
Hiring confidence in all areas has been increasing steadily since the start of the year. As of the end of February 2022, the REC’s Labour Market Tracker showed increases in almost every job sector, in every area across the UK. Although permanent hiring levels are slowly improving, hiring intentions for temporary staff are still at their highest.
It was estimated that at the end of 2021, over 1.7 million temporary workers were out in force; a figure that has climbed steadily since the start of 2020. To paraphrase the REC’s Chief Executive Neil Carberry, “The role of temporary work in providing incomes and flexibility as we deal with the cost of living increases should not be underestimated.”
Looking After Your temps
As the use of temps, contractors and interim workers become more popular, you could find yourself in competition for the best temp talent. Couple this with the fact that we are all working in messy, uncertain times and it makes ethical sense to look after your temps and contractors.
Looking after your temps goes beyond the free fruit that might be lurking in your office break out area. There are rewards and assistance programmes you can set up to ensure your temporary workers have the support they need both in and outside of work to ensure they remain fit and well, and contributing to your business.
Here are five examples of ways you can support the health and wellbeing of your temporary workforce:
EAP Employee Assistance Programme – this gives contractors immediate access to counselling, legal and financial advice. It can be accessed via an online portal or a 24-hour helpline. The counselling and advice sessions could be face to face, online or using a telephone consultation with experienced and accredited professionals. Workers can receive access to health risk assessments, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and more
Online GP service – we all know how tricky it can be to get a GP appointment, especially at a time that fits around work and life commitments. An online GP service means contractors have access to a GP at a time that suits them. It’s available 24/7 365 days per year. Aside from consultations, advice, reassurance and guidance on a range of medical matters, the online GP service also provides an electronic prescription service
Discounted gym membership – keeping active is well documented for not just physical health but mental health as well. Offering discounted gym membership at a range of fitness centres means that your temps and contractors can find a local gym that works for them. Most gym memberships will provide access to a variety of classes and tailored training sessions
Free eye tests and discounted prescriptions – eye health is often overlooked when we consider the health and wellbeing of our staff but it’s a crucial part of the package. Offering free eye tests and discounted prescriptions on glasses and contact lenses is another useful incentive to look after your teams. Plus, did you know that many opticians and eye specialists also offer hearing tests and advice too?
Online fitness and mental health courses – there is such a huge variety of online courses available. This is a simple but effective way to help team members, including your temporary workforce, to achieve a better work-life balance. Courses cover everything from coping with stress and anxiety, lifestyle guides, nutrition, HIIT workouts, yoga, Pilates, sleeping better, dance classes and more. Being online, they can be accessed at a time that suits the user.
Of course, you don’t have to offer any or all of these health and wellbeing rewards to your contractors. You can pick those which best fit your company, your brand and your temporary workforce. Mix up the rewards available to those that will be best received and most importantly, those that will be used. However, contractor loyalty is a big subject right now. If you’re not looking after your temporary staff, someone else will be.