03/10/14

By Ben Copper, Founder, Nutshell Construction


Creating a unique company culture is an essential first step for every startup – much like a fingerprint, it’s one of the truly unique identifiers for any business.

Yet there are countless roadblocks that can impair an organisation’s workplace culture, ranging from sudden growth to the introduction of new management.

It’s no surprise that temporary staff and freelancers may, at times, feel a little left out of the metaphorical loop and feel less loyalty towards their temporary brand or employer.

Here are five pointers to help you transform the mindset of your temporary staff and keep your company culture thriving.

1. Assign accountability

As far as possible, forget that these 'temporary' staff are temporary and instead treat them as if they are a permanent fixture. That way the company culture will be maintained and in any case, they may well become permanent if they prove their worth!

Accountability doesn't vanish simply because a member of staff is temporary. You set high standards for your permanent staff, so you must insist upon it for the temps.

Occasionally you'll find that their standards match, or dare we say exceed your own - that's because they are only as good as their last job and will have a reputation to foster.

You should try to be open to learning from them and conversely they can learn from you - it's a two way process.

2. Invest in and encourage all staff members equally

For the purposes of executing a seamless job or project, your staff must appear cohesive and together as one. To achieve this, they'll need some company indoctrination!

Communicate your expectations, how the business operates and its standards of behaviour and culture. It’s vital to make standards, codes of behaviour and what’s NOT acceptable clear from the outset, as a slip in these areas can quickly damage your hard grafted reputation. Everyone needs to know where they stand.

3. Encourage staff to create fun

An important part of any social calendar is to organise social events for staff throughout the year to help build company solidarity. If a temp is working for the business at the time of one of these occasions, then it goes without saying that they should be invited.

The encouragement of fun is very much a part of our workplace state of mind, but crucially it doesn’t come by compromising proper standards of on-site behaviour.

Polite staff and good site behaviour is a core part of the Nutshell brand and a quality that differentiates us from a large portion of the building trade. Always be careful that the company culture you create – and maintain – is one that enhances your relationship with clients.

4. Open and honest communication

This applies to the entire team, permanent or temporary, senior or junior. A strong team and a desirable company culture relies on good, open communication. Everybody should be encouraged to say what they mean and mean what you say.

5. Balanced rewards

This fits clearly within the previous points. Rates of pay shouldn’t be set in stone, nor should rewards or bonuses. If you feel that an individual or group has gone above and beyond the call of duty and benefitted the firm in some way then a suitable reward, financial or social may be in order. Those people may be permanent or temporary and it really doesn't matter because their actions will have had the same beneficial effect for your business.

At their core, these ideas all come back to the principle of treating employees as equally and fairly possible, and presenting all individuals with new opportunities.