7 ingenious ways to manage a blended workforce

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Many Australian businesses hire temporary and casual staff to fill gaps quickly amid the skills shortage. Temporary staffing is a great way to ease the permanent talent shortage, but managing a workforce of mixed permanent, temporary, and casual staff can be challenging. It’s important to make all staff feel part of the team, whatever hours, shifts, and situations they’re working in.

These are some best practices to consider in ensuring shift workers’ wellbeing and integrating them into your team.

1. Develop a robust onboarding process

New staff needs to be properly set up to win. This means providing comprehensive training, so everyone understands their role and responsibilities and any workplace safety protocols they need to follow. Provide shift workers with clear guidelines and procedures to observe and a point of contact they can reach out for any questions or concerns. Good onboarding makes people feel more comfortable in their job and more confident in their abilities, which leads to higher productivity and retention.

2. Ensure workplace equity

All workers’ voices should be heard, whatever their hours and employment status. Maintaining consistent policies and procedures for all staff members, regardless of their position, is vital to enable fairness and consistency across your workforce. Ensure that shift workers are included in team meetings, social events, and other activities that involve the rest of the team to help build a sense of belonging.

3. Have clear communication

Communication is critical when managing a mixed workforce. Shift workers may not be there during regular hours or only work intermittently and may miss out on important information delivered to the permanent team. This can lead to a feeling of exclusion and reduced productivity. Ensure that employees know how to reach out to their managers and colleagues and establish regular communication channels such as team meetings, email, and instant messaging. Everyone should understand the importance of each team member’s role and be proactive in getting feedback from those working outside the usual shifts.

4. Provide people with the right tools

Invest in the best equipment and technology and train staff to use it. The right tools help workers perform their tasks more efficiently, increase productivity and deliver higher-quality work. Shift workers often operate in challenging and potentially hazardous environments. The right tools can help mitigate risks and keep workers safe.

5. Promote company culture

Immersing new people in your company’s culture ensures that they feel part of the team and that the culture is continued. An orientation that includes an introduction to the company’s culture, values, and mission will help new workers understand the organisation and feel like they are part of the team.

6. Empower your team

Showing confidence in your people builds trust and enables them to do the best job possible. Foster a positive work environment by recognising the contributions of all staff members and creating opportunities for collaboration and teamwork. While casual shift workers may not have the same KPIs and longer-term performance objectives as permanent employees, they should still have clear and measurable goals set for them.

7. Offer training and development

Embracing a culture of continuous learning increases staff retention, leads to a higher skilled workforce and, ultimately, higher productivity. It also makes it easier for temps and casuals to transition to valuable, permanent staff.

Above all, recognise that different employees may have different needs and preferences. Be flexible and adaptable, and work to accommodate the needs of all staff members as much as possible. The diversity you get from a blended workforce can be a huge business asset, bringing new skills and perspectives.

Tom Amos is the CEO and co-founder of Sidekicker

This article was first published by Smart Company