In the past, feedback and input from freelancers and contractors would have been shrugged off, and if there was a minor complaint or general whining from a contractor, it would have been ignored. But these days, companies do so at their peril.
As organizations of all sizes face a growing need to engage contingent workers, the broader HR requirements of attracting the best, getting the best out of them, and creating a long-term relationship with them is now a very important management requirement.
Companies are now relying more on younger, more agile, independent contractors and outsourced workers, to deliver both their main customer experiences and key strategic initiatives for the organization, with increasing amounts of work outsourced to higher-skilled contingent workers, professionals such as engineers, computer programmers and accountants, whose talents are strategic for organizations.
Recently, the trending topics regarding temporary workers and independent contractors have been largely about cost-cutting and legal compliance. But now we see more interest in labor flexibility, loyalty, performance and “quality of work” as key.
Experts are saying the smartest companies are paying greater attention to contingent labor as they set overall workforce strategy, and that tighter relationships with contingent workers are increasingly crucial. Basically, if you treat them as ‘hired help’ then they will behave as ‘hired help’. The current HR trend is to look at contingent workers in a similar way you look at your regular employees and treat them well.
Independent contractors prefer to be free agents. They value flexibility, the lack of office politics and the range of interesting assignments that come with working independently.
Therefore, companies who do the right things, and include them in strategy meetings, as well as the fun stuff and some company events, will develop stronger contingent worker relationships, nurture more loyalty, and develop better ideas.
Ed Frauenheim, the director of global research and content at the Great Place to Work Institute, and an authority on the subject ... suggests helping contingent workers experience trust, pride and camaraderie in your organization. He recommends 4 steps to help contingent workers to become better integrated into your workforce.
- Make sure you have an onboarding strategy.Onboarding is just as important for contract labor as it is for full-time employees, perhaps more so. Be sure to expose your contract labor to the organization’s goals and culture.
- Let them know they matter.This is not about ceremonies or awards. Share the “big picture” with contingent workers so they know how they fit in. In other words, make sure they understand how their work affects the customer and the industry.
- Encourage and value their contributions and innovations.Most companies hire contingent workers because of their unique skills or experience. Celebrate those things that make your contingent workers different. If you want your contingent workforce to feel satisfied, value what they bring to the table.
- Let the good times roll. Shared experiences build relationships. Promote camaraderie and fellowship by celebrating project milestones, birthdays, and holidays together.
Many contingent workers want to remain independent free agents, yet they also want to feel included and closer to their clients. How you treat them is crucial, but make sure your HR policies are inclusive, and you have a process to listen to them, this will help your contingent workforce, and your company prosper.
We are a contingent workforce service provider helping organizations gain better access to talent through the use of independent contractors, consultants, temporary workers, freelancers and other non-payrolled employees. We provide the expertise, the technology, and processes to help you reduce your workforce costs, mitigate against misclassification and co-employment risks, and increase the efficiency and timeliness of your contingent recruitment process. Read more about what our clients say about us here.