Training Badge
Submitted by rja28912 on



Guys I have a problem. I have 5 new permanent positions that I am 
hiring for...problem is I have 9 temporary employees (plus several 
external applicants) that are bidding on those positions. Now that in 
and of itself is not a big deal. The issue is this:

I will hire most of the 5 perm positions from the 9 temps, but I NEED 
the remaining 4 temps to stay...and most importantly to stay focussed 
and motivated. So how do I manage this? I fear the 4 temps that didnt 
get hired permanent will be thinking..."great, Im good enough to stay 
here as a temporary employee, but not to be hired as a perm...what do 
I care about quality work.."

Yes, I could just get rid of the temps and bring in new ones, but 
most of them have been with me for over 1 year, and it will take some 
time to train up new temps...and besides, it just isn't right.

So there it is...any help...I sure would appreciate it!



PS. I really thank you for your podcasts...they are brillant!

MattJBeckwith's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Hello Richard. One year doesn't sound too "temporary". Temporary employees, in my opinion, are motivated by the same things that your regular employees are, especially if they are doing the same work as your regular employees. The obvious exception is that they can often feel like second class citizens.

How to keep the "bottom 4" motivated? Well, you have to give them feedback on how they are doing (provided your agency allows direct feedback). If the top 4 people left you'd hire the bottom 4 right? Then hopefully there will be positions in the future for those 4.

BradK's picture

I agree with Dave and don't believe this is as much of a dilemma as you might think it is. Honest conversations with each person can alleviate their concerns about not being good enough. If you believe they are good enough and you're not just keeping them around so you don't have to find replacements, tell them. "Every one on this team is valuable to me and your contribution is greatly appreciated but unfortunately I am only authorized to fill 5 permanent positions at this time. I have made my decision based on xyz criteria and I hope you'll understand that this does not mean that there won't be other opportunities opening up for you in the future."

This is a great case for undertsanding why honest feedback is so important before a situation like this arises - all the cards are on the table ahead of time and no one is surprised by your decision.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

If in fact they all have applied, then get them all together and talk about it. They all know, they know you know... might as well address it.

Tell them:

1. Thanks for applying. It means a lot that you're interested enough in our work and our team to apply. I appreciate the feedback.

2. There aren't enough slots for everyone, obviously. I'm sorry about that, because what it means is that I will have a tough decision to make.

3. I'm thrilled that I know so much ALREADY about those that are applying for the job - it will make us stronger.

4 You're still here because you're good and I rely on you. THANK YOU.

5. When we interview, we interview for more than just this role. We always look for your ability to develop. Your performance in your present role isn't the only thing I'll be looking at.

6 Some of you who have applied won't get chosen. That will be hard, of course, but don't make it too important. Our new positions suggest how important the work we're doing is to the company. Your existing position is VERY secure.


8. If you're applying for this role and don't get it, there may be others here that I can recommend you for.

9. I'll expect everyone to behave totally professionally during this process. Believe me, if I see behavior that suggests competition or selfishness, it won't look well to me. Helping each other is the way to go.

10. I'm happy to sit down with each of you if you ask and talk about your strengths and weaknesses in advance of your interview.

11. Here's how we're going to do the interviewing...

12. If you want to talk about this in ANY way, my door is open.

13. And, we still have work to do around here. ;-)

14. It's a privilege to work with ALL of you.

That's what I'd say, anyway.


jmpacek's picture

I agree with BradK and Mark. Have the honest conversation with them, they will understand. Please re-read Mark's point concerning #12 & #13, and then his main point #14. This tells the story, communicate.

rja28912's picture
Training Badge

Hi..Just a quick update on how it all went down:

1. I hired the 5, and 4 did not get the positions, but all remain with me.
2. The point made about folks being there 18 months not being 'too temporary' was exactly my HR Dept's response...that is being addressed
3. 3 of the 4 'not hired's' reacted negatively, but not as badly as I had feared, thanks to Mark's and others suggestions..
4. 1 of the 4 'not hired's' was actually very appreciative of how I managed the situation, his was the first feedback (positive) I gave following the went like this:
Me: Can I...?
Him: Sure...
Me: When you heard the decision about the perm positions and reacted in such a positive and professional manner (I re-counted his comments/behaviour here)'s how I felt...that I truly appreciated your positive take, that you 'get it' and understand why the decision went the way it like it did, and when you asked what could you do in the future to better increase your chances if another perm position becomes open gave me a very confident feeling in your abilities and actually made my job easier...and for that I thank you very much!

And I thank my fellow MT'ers for all your help as well...