The biggest and possibly most costly myth surrounding the management of contractors and temporary workers is that client companies should not engage in one-on-one coaching with these people.
This is wrong.
If you are a manager, your first job is to ensure that everyone on your team is fully engaged and working effectively toward the pursuit of your company’s objectives. Excluding some workers from coaching will reduce overall performance and may introduce the belief that there is a hierarchy of worthiness among workers.
Here are my top 3 reasons for conducting one-on-ones with temporary workers:
1) Relationships improve performance. What better way to build understanding and alignment than by giving individual attention.
2) A manager’s most important job is to lead people toward greater results than they could achieve without you. I don’t know how you can bring value to your team without talking to them.
3) By meeting with every member of your team you are sending the message that all workers matter, regardless of employment status. This sets the tone for respect – something that temporary workers truly appreciate and should be able to expect on the job site.
One proviso: Make sure there is clarity around which conversations the staffing agency takes care of (pay, assignment status, benefits) and which the client company is directly responsible for (site-specific performance coaching, on-site safety, department objectives and measurements). This should remove co-employment concerns when coaching temporary workers.
I recommend two podcasts on this topic. They can be found on the Manager Tools web site. If you haven’t sampled Mark Horstman and Mike Auzenne before now, you are in for a treat. Enjoy part 1 here. The link to part 2 is on the same page.