How to Handle a Temp Worker Who Isn’t Pulling Their Weight

How to Handle a Temp Worker Who Isn’t Pulling Their Weight

On the whole, temporary workers can add a lot of value to a business.

They provide much-needed assistance when you have an urgent requirement and they can often add a new dynamic to the workplace when they arrive.

However, there are times when a temp is simply looking to do the absolute minimum and pick up their cheque at the end of the week.

As the boss or senior member of staff at a business, handling a temp worker who isn’t performing well isn’t an easy task.

But if you fail to address it quickly, you could waste a lot of time and money.

To help you out in these situations, here are some top tips from our team here at Temps 4 Care.

Lay the foundations from the start

The issue many managers have in handling under performing temp workers is that they don’t get things clear and right from the start.

If you prep right before employing anyone in the first place, you won’t have to worry about tiptoeing around the situation if it should occur.

Before offering the job, create realistic goals for them to reach by the end of the day or week.

If they are happy to work towards these goals from the start, the temp employee should then be allowed to sign on the dotted line.

If you don’t create any expectations from the outset, employees will push their luck knowing that they’ll be gone in a matter of days onto their next placement.

By getting a temp to agree to complete a number of care related tasks every week, they won’t have a leg to stand on if you have to take extreme actions like terminating their contract further down the line.

Speak to them in person

Moaning about a temp worker behind their back or addressing the whole team about a lack of productivity doesn’t work.

To handle an underperforming temp worker, you should speak to them in person.

The direct approach will make it clear for them to realise the areas they need to improve on.

As a top tip, you should always conduct this stage of the communication process in an informal way.

Telling a temporary worker off could come across as patronising.

Sometimes employees just need a gentle kick up the backside (metaphorically) to get them working efficiently and effectively for your business.

Another problem area with temporary workers is addressing the number of sick days they have off.

In fact, 35% of businesses and organisations have no strategy to combat this issue.

If you believe that the temp worker is taking liberties, you shouldn’t be afraid to step up and take disciplinary action.

By adopting a strike system, you can give your temp workers a clear indication of how they’re performing and what their behaviour might mean if they accumulate two or three strikes.

Review every week

If your temp worker is in for a mid to long contract, you should always look to carry out weekly performance reviews.

Here you can ask them questions like:

  • “How do you feel like you’re getting on?”
  • “Do you need any further support from us?”
  • “What challenges have you come across this week?”

These example questions can provide vital answers which can give you a true insight into why a temporary worker may not be operating to their full potential.

For instance, if they’ve had to spend an extra hour a day with a certain resident or patient to give them the support they need, this may explain why they haven’t finished all of their weekly paperwork.

Or if a patient isn’t responding well to their care, you could then switch them around with another one to provide the best service for both employees and patient.

A review will give you an extensive overview of a temp worker’s life.

The chances are, their underwhelming performance isn’t down to them.

In the care industry, there are a lot of contributing factors which could upset the apple cart.

As a manager or boss, it’s essential for you to recognise this by simply communicating in a calm and open-minded way.

The results you should expect

If you follow these steps, you shouldn’t have too many further problems.

On reflection, a  lot of temporary workers might be a little more care-free, but they also recognise the importance of doing a good job – as one bad placement and they may not get the opportunity again.

You’ll many temporary workers will react in one of three ways:

  1. They’ll get their head down and start performing at a high level.
  2. The individual may realise that this temporary role isn’t right for them and leave.
  3. They don’t improve at all, meaning you have to let them go.

The third scenario highlights the importance of carrying out weekly reviews, as the notes you take can provide sufficient evidence in case the employee decides to take action against your organisation or business.


All in all, the key to handling a temp worker effectively is to just communicate from the day dot.

Laying the foundations, communicating correctly and giving them the support that they need can keep them happy, working harder and wanting to work for you again.

If you’d like help with recruiting the right temp workers, take a look at what we can do for you today.