As more businesses rely on temporary workers, retention becomes a challenge. How can you ensure your talent pool remains loyal and available?

Investment in temporary or ‘contingent’ workers has exploded in recent years. 77% of executives believe freelance and gig workers will substantially replace full-time employees within the next five years, and 32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with temporary workers as a cost-saving measure.

However, realizing the benefits of such a workforce requires access to a reliable pool of temporary talent. And that means leaders must ensure they retain the workers they do get by offering a consistently positive employee experience.

Here are five ways you can do just that:

  • Competitive pay

There’s no getting around the question of compensation. At the beginning of 2022, Indeed Flex undertook a large survey of temporary workers and discovered pay rate was their number one priority. More than three-quarters ranked it amongst the three most important facts they take into account when considering a role; 23% said it was the number one thing they cared about; and 26% felt they weren’t being paid fairly.

Inflation is only likely to increase the emphasis on pay, and organizations looking to retain staff will have to offer competitive rates. Leaders will have to balance this with their own economic needs. They should consider developing more nuanced compensation methods to incentivize loyalty without damaging their bottom line.

One way to do this is by offering higher wages for temporary workers that consistently take on shifts. This will help connect compensation directly to loyalty, and ultimately increase retention. Employers could even develop a retention budget specifically for such initiatives, to measure the costs of keeping your temporary workforce onboard.

  • More consistent work

Another concern raised by our surveys was the volume of work available. There has been an increase in the number of temporary workers in developed economies, and this does not always perfectly correlate with the amount of work available. 

Workers feel they do not have consistent access to the volume of work they want; over 33% say employers are not consistent with their shift offerings. Organizations that are able to give them that work will be rewarded with far greater loyalty and engagement.

This suggests that organizations looking to retain temporary workers might benefit from leaning more heavily on their talent pool. A positive feedback loop may ensue: the more shifts they can offer, the easier it will be to fill them.

  • Increase worker flexibility

According to our survey, the most commonly cited reason people choose to become temporary workers is the freedom and flexibility it offers. But many organizations see temporary workers as primarily serving their needs when it comes to flexible working.

Organizations that ensure their temporary workforce feels in control of their own shift patterns will see a huge increase in loyalty and retention. They should introduce technology that enables employees to choose the shifts that fit their schedule and feel comfortable doing so.

Some leaders will note that this creates a risk for them: if workers have the freedom to choose when they work, certain shifts might end up not being filled. This is why it is important to simultaneously increase the size of your temporary worker talent pool, in order to mitigate that risk and ensure both parties have their needs met.

  • Prioritize wellbeing and culture

Every HR leader knows that wellbeing and culture are cornerstones of employee retention efforts. But these are difficult areas to navigate with temporary workers, as they generally don’t have the same level of onboarding or cultural integration a normal employee would have. 

This shows in the survey data: roughly 1 in 3 temporary workers feel disconnected from their leader and nearly 30% believe the companies they work for don’t care about their wellbeing. 

Employers should focus on integrating their temporary workers with their full-time workers more, to ensure they feel included in the workforce culture. This might involve offering more rigorous onboarding; including regular temporary workers in staff excursions; or inviting them to participate in workforce group chats or social networks.

  • Improve communication

The final piece of the puzzle is communication. If you action every tip we’ve just discussed; it will all mean nothing if your temporary workforce isn’t actually aware of it.

From social media to the Indeed Flex in-platform messaging feature, temporary workers should be involved and actively catered to in your internal communications strategy. The right staffing provider will enable you to communicate directly with your workers and ensure they feel personally listened to.

This is why retention of temporary workers is easier when there is a single provider for your entire workforce: it removes communication silos and ensures nothing gets lost in translation.