Editor’s note: Many research firms use temporary employees for extra help but if not properly managed, temps can do more harm than good. The July 9, 2012, edition of Quirk’s e-newsletter featured an article by Deborah C. Sawyer, president of Information Plus, a New York research company, that addresses some of the issues (i.e., ethics, confidentiality, orientation, etc.) surrounding temporary staff and how to navigate them. In the following anecdote, Sawyer relates how neglecting to define appropriate conduct caused one temp to take too much creative liberty completing a project.
The newer the temp, the more important it is for a senior staffer to go out with them and demonstrate how to conduct themselves (i.e., the manner your firm wants them to adopt, the image of your firm wants them to convey, etc.). You need to spell out how they should address people, how to describe the project and how to represent your firm when dealing with the public.
This was true with our hiring of Richard, who we engaged to contact companies and obtain their product literature. It was only after Richard had finished his assignment with us that the ripples started to come back. There’s a difference between telling the truth creatively and outright lying. Sad to say, Richard had been doing more of the latter than the former. Explaining to temps how to phrase things and how to present themselves can be crucial to maintaining the integrity of the project, as well as your firm. It’s never a good idea to assume that common sense will prevail. Temps’ prior experience at other firms, even if in the same industry as yours, may have provided them with a less-than-desirable skill set.
For more tips on how to survive and thrive with the hired help, read the complete article here!