A Complete Guide to Staffing Agency Employee Onboarding

By Timerack

February 25, 2022

Every year, the staffing industry supplies 16 million temporary employees to businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes. To be in a position to supply such a huge quantity of vetted talent to clients, staffing agencies must operate a highly optimized employee onboarding process.  

A finely tuned employee onboarding process ensures staff are confident entering their new roles and that they have the framework in place to level up during the first few weeks and months on the job. What’s more, a good onboarding process has also been shown to reduce turnover and inspire loyalty among temporary and agency employees.

What is Employee Onboarding for Staffing Agencies?

Put simply, employee onboarding for staffing agencies is a clearly defined process that enables new hires to get quickly and easily acquainted with the staffing agency they are working for, as well as the role and client company they are being placed into. Existing agency staff can also go through subsequent onboarding processes when being placed into new assignments, so they are day-one ready when entering a new workplace.  

It’s a three way process, involving the new hire, the client company and the staffing agency. However, the onus is on the staffing agency to devise and drive the onboarding process, as part of the value it provides to the client organization. 

The process should provide staffing agency employees with a complete overview of the client company and the role, from the trivial to the serious, including:

  • Who their line manager is
  • Who to report to on their first day 
  • Where to park their car
  • An overview of the client company culture
  • Who to ask questions to and how to voice any worries or concerns  
  • What’s expected of them during their first day, week and month
  • Any online training courses that are required

Pro Tip – a well oiled onboarding process is just one part of the staffing agency jigsaw. You’ve also got to find a niche, use the right software and keep costs in check. Read our guide to running a successful staffing agency to get a complete overview of all of the fundamentals. 

How to Create a Seamless Onboarding Process

While the benefits of employee onboarding for staffing agencies are obvious, devising and implementing an effective process is the difficult part. Managing a three way process between your agency, your client and your employees involves a lot of organization and moving parts. However, here are some tried and tested strategies that can benefit all agencies when tackling this task. 

1. Start the Process Well in Advance 

The staffing agency onboarding process should begin way before an employee’s first day in a new assignment. This helps to reduce nerves and anxiety a new hire may be feeling and, crucially, can also reduce the rate of new hire no shows – which is one of the biggest risks that all agencies have to manage.  

The most effective pre-first day onboarding processes combine email and SMS automation with the human touch. For example, the employee could receive a number of automated emails running up to their first day, with practical information such as where to park their car, who to report to on their first day and what the dress code is. This can be complemented by a member of the staffing agency checking in with a quick phone call a few days before the employee’s start date.  

2. Invest in Appropriate Software 

Spreadsheets and calendar reminders do not scale! If you’re sending out hundreds or even just dozens of employees into new assignments each week, managing an effective onboarding process for each of them will be almost impossible without the right software.  

The Timerack HR platform, for example, provides a range of onboarding tools tailored for staffing agencies, such as email automations and reminders. What’s more, the software provides an all-in-one hire-to-retire platform, enabling you to manage payroll, invoicing and time and attendance tracking in one place. 

3. Get Organized With the Client Company

A good onboarding experience, from the client’s perspective, involves the least amount of unnecessary touch points with the staffing agency as possible during the run up to a new hire starting. Touch points can be reduced by keeping a centralized record of company and manager details, so you’re not having to ask the same questions again and again with the client.

Also, having a predefined process to set up things such as workstations and manager introductions with the client company will make this process a whole lot smoother. Ideally, you will set up a single point of contact at the client side who is responsible for coordinating this their side.  

4. Help Agency Staff Get to Know Other Agency Staff 

Being a staffing agency employee on assignment can be a lonely job at times. It can be hard to make meaningful friendships and connections with permanent members of staff if you know you won’t be sticking around for the long haul. Therefore, to build morale and team spirit, the vital ingredients of staff loyalty, ensure your onboarding process introduces new hires to other employees within your agency, as well as providing opportunities for socializing.    

5. Manage Expectations Between Client Company and Employee

Set appropriate expectations with the client, in terms of what should be expected of the employee during the first few weeks of the assignment. A mismatch in expectations can easily result in an unhappy client and an employee walking out on the job. Also, there may be an expectation that a staffing agency hire is more “day one ready” than an internal hire, yet they will still require the same lead in period as anyone else, in terms of learning processes, company culture and settling into new soundings.  

Final Thoughts

The staffing agency employee onboarding process is one of the most important parts of the process when placing an agency employee into a new assignment.

An effective staffing agency onboarding process is an opportunity to make a lasting impression on both your client and your employee, both of whom you’ll want to instill with confidence. 

Therefore, it’s essential for staffing agencies to engage in a thoughtful and well-considered process that will ensure that the new hire feels welcome, appreciated, and excited about their new position, while the client is confident and fully informed of everything that they need to know.



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