Companies Struggle with Temporary Employees

Ceridwyn King and Debra Grace recently published an article in the Journal of Brand Management, in which they state that, “The creation of a strong brand and the deliverance of perceived service quality are premised by the employees’ ability to deliver on customer expectations.”

When companies fail to share internal development initiatives or administer employee training programs, they are hampering their employees’ abilities to produce quality work that supports departmental and organizational goals. According to King and Grace, companies need to understand that “people possess skills, knowledge, and expertise, which provides significant economic value” to an organization and its bottom line.

Without its employees, an organization would not be able to provide consumers with products or services, so you would think that employee training, orientation, and developmental programs would be a priority for companies, but that is not the case. According to Peter Drucker‘s article, They’re not Employees, They’re People, more companies are outsourcing their employee relations responsibilities to temporary staffing agencies and professional employer organizations (PEOs).

With so many employees entering the company via external constituents, one would think that companies would put sufficient time into training their employees and ensuring that they understand the company culture, but King claims that most employees don’t understand what the brand means to the company or how it can help them service customers.

For companies to be successful, King asserts that employees “must be able to understand what the brand means and how it provides value to customers in order to deliver” and that effective management of employees “requires an internal market orientation, in the same way that managing the organization’s customer relationship requires an external market orientation.”

human resourcesThese internal and external relationships are also hampered by the fact that “human resource policies operate on the assumption that most, if not all, of the people working for the company are employees.” Drucker argues that this is no longer the case. He suggests that companies operate on inadequate assumptions, that cause them to fail to provide their temporary employees with proper customer service or internal brand training. Drucker also points out that most companies don’t acknowledge the increased importance of intellectual and professional development opportunities for employees.

By removing themselves from the human resource management role within the organization, and allowing it to be overseen by external parties, companies put themselves in the dangerous position of having employees that are disassociated from the brand or disinterested in company values communicating with external constituents and reducing the value of their brand.

Without an understanding of the company culture or brand, it’s not uncommon for temporary employees to misunderstand company values or the importance of specific tasks to the company culture. In these cases, companies may find that they experience lower scores during customer service reviews and an increase in consumer complaints.

As consumer expectations grow, companies must reconsider how they are communicating the importance company’s brand and reputation with its employees and how they intend to meet their needs, since an ineffectively operating company’s value does not only decrease in the eyes of its external constituents, but in those of its internal staff as well.

If you have any suggestions for companies utilizing temporary employees, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Suggested Reading

  • Drucker, P. F. | “They’re not employees, they’re people.” Harvard Business Review 80(2)
  • Drucker, P. F. | “Managing oneself.” Harvard Business Review 83(1)
  • King, C. & Grace, D. | “Internal branding: exploring the employee’s perspective.” Journal of Brand Management, 15(5)

Image via David Castillo Dominici and Stuart Miles

Yasheaka Oakley Owens

Yasheaka Oakley Owens is the owner of YOakleyPR, a woman-owned small business that provides public relations, social media, and online marketing support services to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.

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