3 Tips for Improving Retention with Your Temporary Workforce

It can be frustrating to fill a job order for a great client, only to get the call that one or more of your qualified candidates left or did not return to work. In the people business, it can be hard to prepare for every pitfall. There will always be an unforeseen reason or circumstance that will arise, and you will have to contend with turnover issues. There are, however, a few key efforts you can implement with each interaction that can help decrease your odds of losing good workers on assignment.

Setting the Expectation

It is critical when setting up a new candidate for an assignment that you educate your candidate properly for the job. Temporary workers may leave a job, or lose faith in their staffing agency, if they feel they were not adequately prepared for the tasks or misinformed about the position. Be open about the nature of the work itself, and include details about standing or sitting requirements, who the reporting manager is onsite and pay specifics. As the employer, the staffing agency needs to provide clear instructions about what time the candidate should report to the job, where to park, and what to expect.

Consider establishing new hire orientations for those clients for which you place candidates in high volumes. You can educate pools of workers preparing for assignment at once and answer any questions before they report for their first day. By setting a clear expectation of the assignment, the candidate will be able to ease into the position fluidly and perform their best.

Communication Channels

Be clear with your temporary workers about communication channels and chain of command. They may leave a job if they’re faced with an issue they’re unsure how to handle. Make sure they know how to get in touch with the right people at the right time, and think about how to make that as easy for them as possible. Providing something like a mobile app that gives them a direct line of communication to their recruiter can help put their mind at ease.

And try to outline specific scenarios before they happen with your candidates to prepare them. If they are going to be late to work, how do they notify someone? If they have to request time off, do they know how? 

Be clear about safety protocol as well. Make sure your candidates know how to handle reporting a work-related injury or safety violation. It’s important in your communication strategy to remind the workers they are in fact, employed by you as the staffing agency. To reinforce that reminder, follow up with your candidates after their first day or week to see how they feel about their assignment. Check in with them to make sure they are performing the job well and getting along with management. Make sure your candidates know who to turn to with questions, and have an easy, top of mind channel that allows them to do so.


Reward your candidates for a job well done. Motivate them with positive reinforcements in the form of accolades or on the job recognition. Rewarding a great temporary worker, in front of their peers, can inspire loyalty among them all and create a positive atmosphere. Take care of those workers who do it well, do it right and make an example of the desired behavior. Be their cheerleader throughout their assignments, and they will always do their best for you.

Turnover is inevitable. While you can’t predict every situation, do your best to be proactive with your retention strategies.

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