The smooth running of the Olympics will depend on the efforts of thousands of temporary workers. But how can you engage those on short-term contracts?
The total workforce for the London Olympics will exceed 100,000. Many of these will be temps representing companies supplying the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but caterers, courier firms and security businesses have all increased their temporary workforce. Their challenge is how to inspire their temps so, that they go that extra mile for the organisation.
“Temps need to feel they are being invested in so they should receive the same onboarding process as permanent staff,” says Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. “Employers should also take more interest in the recruitment and selection of temps to ensure the people joining for a short period still fit the company’s culture.”
Catering supplier BaxterStorey is providing food and drink services around the clock to the global media at the Olympic Park. It has 600 staff ready to go, with 400 chefs, baristas and customer service staff required every day.
“We are making the same investment in training new employees for the Olympics as we would for anyone joining our business,” says HR director Lynne Graham. “We do not have a mindset that they are temporary. These are people working for us so we have to get across our brand values to ensure they deliver the best service. Our clients do not differentiate between someone working with BaxterStorey for only a few weeks and a few years.”
The Agency Worker Regulations (AWR), which came into force last October, have also had an impact, requiring employers to treat temps broadly the same as employees after 12 weeks on any assignment. This should, in theory, boost engagement levels among longer-term temps because pay, the hours worked and the rest-breaks offered must match that of permanent employees.
Of course, for some temps working with a fun product can help to engage them. Kent-based natural ice-cream-maker Taywell is a small business but it doubles its workforce between May and August. “I try and encourage everyone to take ownership of the brand and instil in them that every batch they are working on will be tasted by a human being,” says managing director Alastair Jessel. “We have a national image to protect so we cannot allow temporary workers to damage that reputation.”