Contingent workers are those working for a company without being hired as regular employees, whether they offer their services temporarily, on an as-needed basis, or under a contract. They are commonly hired to complete specific projects rather than taking on ongoing workloads and include professionals such as freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, and temporary workers.
Contingent workforces can be quite beneficial to any business, allowing them to minimize overhead expenses while maximizing flexibility and accessing specialized skills. However, they are also notoriously challenging to manage, so here are some of the best practices to follow if you decide to hire contingent workers as well:
Establish proper leadership
Before hiring new workers, determine who will be in charge of developing a contingent workforce program and strategy. Establishing strong management over contingent workers is crucial, due to the coordination between different stakeholders that are often involved. In most cases, this will be your human resources team that regularly gets input from departments such as procurement, legal, compliance, finance, and technology as well. Having strong leadership and a solid contingency program will allow you to establish the best possible processes for working with contingent workers, ensuring streamlined operations, and increasing security. This program should also be clearly explained to the entire contingent workforce in order to support good relationships.
Determine where they go
As already mentioned, contingent workers are generally leveraged in areas where companies require temporary, specialized skills, and avoided in those aspects where there’s a need for heavy investments and long-term development. Before you bring on any contingent workers, you must have a clear understanding of the specific skills you require and the goals you’d like to be met during a worker’s contract. Building a contingent workforce with strong coaching capabilities is also a good idea. If specialized knowledge can be passed on to your full-time employees, you will gain more value from contingent workers even after the end of their contracts.
Get some external support
From attracting and retaining top talent to ensuring compliance and supporting effective work, managing contingent workers can be a challenging process. Don’t be afraid to seek the external support you need during this period, especially if you’re engaging this workforce for the first time. Invest in a professional contingent workforce management solution that suits your unique requirements. Partnering with the right company can come with a number of advantages. These experts can ensure a streamlined approach to workforce management, taking care of recruitment, legal compliance, and devising efficient strategies. In turn, this leaves you with more time and resources to focus on what matters most – establishing suitable internal processes.
Ensure good cultural fits
While they won’t be permanent team members, contingent workers will likely interact with full-time employees quite closely. That is why it’s important for a contingent workforce to share the company’s core values as well. After all, they will be entering a well-established ecosystem of strong values, beliefs, and procedures. Ensure they are culturally appropriate and positive additions. This will help you streamline the contingent worker’s transition into your organization, while also providing enriching experiences to the core team members working with them. Similarly, it’s worth remembering that contingent workers value the same benefits as any other employee, including authenticity, flexibility, and fulfillment. Keep this in mind to establish harmony across the whole workforce.
Support through technology
Digital transformation has affected business procedures in a number of ways, providing the opportunity to prioritize and simplify workloads as well. Leverage solutions such as vendor management systems as a central hub for overseeing your contingent workforce. This software solution can be of great help in streamlining aspects such as expenses, contracts, time logs, performance tracking, compliance, and more. Use all available technological resources to help your entire workforce reach its full potential, including contingent workers. Less burnout, higher productivity, and more meaningful work will lead to better overall outcomes for your organization.
Implement new processes
While you might not be able to provide specialized training or performance reviews to your contingent workforce, it’s still important to measure the success of the program to see what does and doesn’t work for your company. Ask program leadership to find creative methods of periodically evaluating progress and reporting back to you. The productivity or failure of a contingent team can inform your future hiring decisions, help you identify areas where contingent workers are required, and allow you to enhance management. You could also consider a more centralized solution for connecting different internal departments in one place. This will enable you to establish smoother processes and manage your contingent workforce more easily.
Efficient contingent workforce management is rarely a simple task. But by setting clear goals, determining a strategy that facilitates productive work, and thoughtfully approaching workforce interactions, you can develop a contingency program that’s beneficial for all workers.