Is there a distinct difference in how you treat your supplemental workers and your direct employees? Over the years we have found that the way many companies attract, recruit and engage their supplemental staff differs greatly from how they manage their direct employees.  If this is true for your organization, it’s time to reevaluate some of your people processes.

Today many of the supplemental workers inside our organizations are in key strategic positions. Because of their expertise, they are often utilized for high-value, mission critical positions. They work on teams with temporary workers as well as direct employees. It’s also not uncommon for them to reside within an organization on a temporary or supplemental basis for periods in excess of 1 or 2 years. In many cases, supplemental workers are eventually hired on as direct employees.

If supplemental workers play such vital roles within our organizations, why would we recruit them any differently? We’ve witnessed many forward thinking organizations put beneficial processes into place for hiring and retaining top performers. Yet, they fall short in the way they hire and engage supplemental workers. They change the tried and true hiring best practices they’ve put in place throughout the organization. While supplemental workers technically work directly for another company, they often reside within your environment, working side by side with your other employees. Factors like culture fit, core values and management style should still play a critical role in the hiring process no matter who you are hiring

Why do we treat supplemental workers differently? Unfortunately we’ve witnessed instances where temporary employees were forced to eat lunch separately from full time employees. Some organizations have rules about where suppleental staff can sit in reference to management. Treating supplemental workers like second class employees not only harms their productivity, but the morale of the rest of your team. If this is how you treat people who sometimes are filling mission critical and important roles in your organization, what level of engagement or loyalty to completing the project might there be?

Haphazardly hiring supplemental workers and treating them like outsiders is killing your business.

  • Effects the ability of your team to function properly
  • Creates a separation from the end goal that everyone in the organization is supposed to be focused on.
  • You run the risk of losing key players within your organization because of disruptions and lack of unity and focus on end goal. These key players are often hard people to replace and vital to the organization.
  • Leads to high turnover
  • Negatively effects your culture
  • Leads to communication gaps

Some companies are looking at the whole picture, maximizing everyone’s potential. Integrating their supplemental staff, working with vendors that help them hire to their company’s values/cultural standards and also take care of their employees. As the employment marketplace continues to evolve, the trend towards using temporary or supplemental staff has been increasing not only in volume, but in the complexity and importance of the roles that are being filled. We understand that there is a necessary separation between supplemental staff and full time hires, but you cannot remove the human element or the importance of the engagement necessary to make the use of supplemental employees effective in your organization.


Author: George Opitz, President of Brightwing