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Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Help

Author: C. Curley Date: July 12, 2011

Small Business StaffingNow that you’ve found temporary employees for the summer, making the arrangement mutually beneficial can be a challenge. Even if summer is halfway over, it’s not too late to help temporary employees make the most of their time at your business. Whether you’re seeking a seasoned pro or a tech-savvy teen, take steps to get as much out of the experience as possible.

Here’s how:

Seek compatible people.

Consider it an opportunity to find people you might hire someday. When Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com, was seeking someone to create a model to predict his company’s costs and revenue this summer, he says, “We only looked at candidates who had an interest in working at a startup company long term, and excluded candidates who showed only an interest in doing this [temporarily].”

Set expectations up front.

You’ll get more out of your hires by preparing them in advance. Daniels created a list of goals that he wanted the employee to accomplish and reviewed them during the interview process. Once he found someone, he sent him a package of materials so the new hire could hit the ground running on day one.

Involve key players.

Early on, Daniels says his entire management team sat down with the new hire to further discuss what he could achieve during the summer. By involving others in the process, you’ll make the whole team aware of what to expect from your temporary employees and make for a smoother experience overall.

Don’t overlook training.

Incorporate training into your summer program. “When your summer help is aware that they will get invaluable training from you, they tend to become more invested instead of doing just enough to get by,” says Shilonda Downing, owner of virtualworkteam.com, which provides businesses with infrastructure and office support.

Provide short-term projects.

Don’t put people in charge of projects that they can’t finish. Have them do helpful tasks that you’ve been putting off, like organizing your client database.

Create benchmarks.

Periodically, meet with summer hires to ensure their projects are on track. Daniels says he’s planning several benchmark meetings: “What are the ways we make money, and how are we spending our money? We’ll sit down with him and we’ll give him concrete feedback about what we think he did and didn’t do well.”

Request input.

It’s easy to overlook people who won’t be with your team for long, so ask for their feedback on your business. Downing says this motivates her temporary workers to develop a stronger sense of ownership over their projects.
Related Resources: 5 Ways to Find Interns and Do I Need to Pay Interns at My Small Business?

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