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How to Win With Temporary Staff: Guidelines for Success

The primary cause of problems with temporaries is miscommunication or misunderstanding of a client's expectations. A quality agency will provide its temporaries with a set of general rules for law firm work, as well as any specific information provided by the client firm.


Once the temporary arrives on the job, however, it's up to his or her manager to provide detailed information about the project and the firm's expectations. Here are some guidelines to help supervisors in your organization give temporary staff the information they need to work at maximum efficiency:

  • Inform the temporary of reporting and departure times, maximum hour limitations (if any), permissible break times, and other similar guidelines.

  • Provide a general overview of the project, along with deadlines, expected levels of productivity and phone numbers of persons to contact with questions.

  • Explain the specific procedures for completing the project, ensuring that the temporary fully understands them before beginning work. Check back to monitor progress, every few hours at first, then periodically thereafter.

  • Give specific illustrations of your firm's protocols whenever possible. For example, some firms create deposition digests with line and page numbers on the left, and the summary on the right; some use the reverse procedure. Even an experienced temporary will need to be given this information to perform to your satisfaction.

  • Explain your firm’s policies regarding use of the telephone and other facilities. Quality temporaries will know to keep phone use to a minimum, and that messages should be directed through their agency. Nonetheless, for the convenience of law firm staff, receptionists should be informed of the temporary's location.

  • Expect temporaries working in a group to converse with one another. This conversation can be essential to maintaining morale on a difficult or tedious project. Conversations should not, however, undermine productivity. Supervisors must use their best judgment to determine when conversations are hampering a project's efficiency.

  • If space permits, consider allowing temporaries to work in separate areas, especially on longer projects. On long, tedious projects, try replacing temporaries at intervals to avoid productivity declines due to burnout.

  • Advise your agency immediately if a temporary experiences a decline in productivity or some other difficulty. Once they know about a problem, quality agencies will respond immediately to ensure your satisfaction.


Contact us today to learn more.


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