Managing people

Managing people

Tuesday, 03 April 2012 17:10

How do I motivate a temp?

How do I get a temp motivated to work for me? I realise that sitting on reception isn’t that glamorous, but I need them to present a happy, enthusiastic image for my company. Recent temps have looked bored and been borderline rude. I cannot accept this anymore.


Your approach to this has to be age dependent.


Gen Y employees can tend to get bored, so load them up with some research or ask them to prepare some social media ideas for your business — they are the experts.


No matter what, explain what you want and don't ignore them. They want to know why?


So be more “tell” assertive.


If you have a Gen X or older then explain the importance of the role and give them some responsibility. Don't dumb it down. Set your standards and ask them to help you achieve what you want.


Be more “ask” assertive, involve them and even challenge them.


Next, ask yourself why this is a temp role. Could you offer it as the entrée into your business? If so, you could set it up as a six-month role with the opportunity to grow and take on more.


Depending on the nature of your business, having a pipeline of talent come through can be very positive. In this way, the temp role is a holding pattern only and a testing ground for you to develop new talent.




If you have been selecting just to get someone in the chair, this is a problem: Just because they have a pulse is not an excuse to employ.


Select or deselect on attributes you need this role to fulfil. Be upfront about the fact you need someone to be the front face of the company.


Let them know that there are many mundane things about the role, but you will, for the right person (age dependent remember), add some interesting bits. But do not over-promise and under deliver as you will be back to square one.




Let your team know what you are doing as they will also have ideas. So long as you give permission to the right people in your team, you will be able to provide guidance for this role also.




Drop by and catch the receptionist doing something right and reinforce to them that you are really pleased with their progress and contribution. By the way, you may just unearth a superstar. It is all about your attitude first.


The way in which you approach this issue will set the tone. Finally, drop the temp tag — think for a second how that tag would make you feel.


What the mind dwells upon we think upon, what we think upon we become!

Find startup business help, news, features and advice on people management for startups, from performance management to human resource management.

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