With the rush of the holidays and our busy schedules, many of us order gifts online instead of going to a store. I would also venture to say that most of us expect them to be delivered as specified on the confirmed delivery date! During the holidays however, things may not go as expected. After a recent experience at UPS, where my package is somewhere in the Los Angeles facility, I decided it was critical to highlight the impact temporary employees can have on an organization’s effectiveness. I have presented two possible explanations as to why your package may not make it to you in time for the holidays.
Lack of Organizational Commitment
Temporary workers do not have the same sense of commitment as permanent employees, and rightly so. Although managers cannot control the external economy, they can do several things to motivate employees to want to stay with the company – that is, to enhance effective commitment. Here are three methods from the leadership literature to develop organizational commitment:
- Enrich jobs: People tend to be highly committed to their organizations if once trained they are given autonomy in their job tasks and recognized for making important contributions (Greenberg, 2005). Both temporary and permanent employees should be about to feel like they have the autonomy to handle tasks. Lastly, recognition is important especially for temporary employees because it helps to integrate them in the culture of the organization, even if it is only for seasonal employment.
- Align the interests of the company with those of the employees: Employees, including temporary ones, are more likely to show higher commitment to their organization when they see that improving the company benefits their own situations as well (Greenberg, 2005).
- Recruit and select new employees whose values closely match those of the organization: Recruiting new employees is important not only because it allows the organizations to accommodate seasonal demands; it also provides an opportunity to find people whose values match those of the organization (Greenberg, 2005).
Inadequate Employee Training
To be effective, temporary employees must have the right blend of skills needed to for their team to be successful and this can be accomplished through the systematic acquisition and improvement of the skills and abilities needed to improve their job performance – that is, training (Greenberg, 2005). It was brought to my attention while at UPS that some of the temporary employees were still trying to get the hang of their job, which indicates that they may not have received enough orientation training.
- Participation: People not only learn more quickly but also retain skills longer when they have actively participated in the learning process. This applies to the learning of both motor tasks as well as cognitive skills.
- Repetition: If you know the old adage “practice make perfect,” you are already aware of the benefits of repetition on learning. Scientists have not only established the benefits of repetition on learning but also have shown that they effects are even greater when practice is spread out over time rather than lumped together. After all, when practice periods are too long learning can suffer from fatigue, whereas learning a little bit at a time allows the material to sink in most effectively.
- Transfer of training: As you might imagine, for training to be most effective what is learned during training must be applied to the job. In general, the more closely a training program matches the demands of a job, the more effective the training will be.
- Feedback: It is extremely difficult for learning to occur in the absence of feedback. Feedback allows employees to correct problems and improve performance with guidance (Greenberg, 2005; Ilgen & Moore, 1987)
Greenberg, J. (2005). Managing behavior in organizations. Pearson Prentice Hall.
Ilgen, D.R. & Moore, C.F. (1987). Types and choices of performance feedback. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72, 401-406.