The Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Contingent Workers

Posted on July 20, 2018

Companies throughout the United States are continuously looking to optimize their talent pools. For example, did you know that more than 40% of workers are now classified as contingent, compared to just 10 years ago?

As the contingent workforce continues to rise, many businesses find this type of worker appealing. Contingent workers cost less, can be more specialized in their skill sets, and offer more flexibility. Hiring contingent workers will not only reduce the overhead that your organization associates with hiring full-time employees, but it also will give you the flexibility to tap into talent on-demand and the agility to better meet your organizational objectives.

As a hiring manager, when you bring on contingent workers, there are more risk and liability than with permanent, full-time employees. Because of this, you need the right tools at your fingertips. So, we’ve compiled some key Do’s and Don’ts for you to keep in mind when managing contingent workers:

Do: Have a plan in place

When you use a contingent worker to fill a role, you need to plan ahead. The more time you take to plan out the days and times you’ll need contingent help and how much you want to pay them, the easier it will be to get a quality worker in that role.

Don’t: Forget to define the role + expectations

Make sure the role and expectations of your contingent worker are clearly laid out before you bring them on. Having clear responsibilities, uniform requirements, and even parking directions will save you a lot of hassle. We also recommend having someone on staff who understands the policies around contingent workers, who can act as a resource for this workforce and can help the worker on their first day on the job.

Do: Show appreciation

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to show appreciation for a worker, whether they are full-time or contingent. That said, contingent workers often feel left out of workplace accolades due to their status. Recognize their contributions and achievements the same way that you would a full-time employee. Never underestimate the power of recognition when it comes to reinforcing desired behaviors. If you’re hiring the worker through an on-demand staffing platform with the technology to rate a worker, do this! Your rating will empower them to keep doing a great job.

Don’t: Forget to provide organizational information

Too often contingent workers simply get thrown into the fire. While this isn’t out of the ordinary, providing information about your culture and mission statement will empower your contingent workers. By making it easy for them to understand who you are, they will be able to make better decisions on the job and stay aligned with your organization.

Do: Remember the little things

If your organization is all about customer experience, keeping this in mind when hiring contingent workers is key to success. As we addressed above, throwing a contingent worker into the fire is fairly typical.

But for many contingent workers, being left in reception, not being shown where the bathrooms are, or not having any direction on their first day can leave a lasting, negative impression. If this is how your contingent workers are treated, do you think they’ll want to continue?

What are some of the little things that can make a difference for them? Introduce the worker to your team. Train them as if they were full-time employees. Let them shadow one of your team members.

Don’t: Ignore your contingent workers

Communication is key. It’s very important to communicate with your contingent workers. A common complaint from contingent workers is a lack of individual communication from the workplace, leaving them to fend for themselves and feel as though they’re not valued.

By providing feedback regarding their performance, you will strengthen your relationship with your contingent workers. Ask them for feedback and where they may see areas of improvement at your organization. Remember, a lot of contingent workers bring experience to the table when they join your organization. Tap into them as additional resources for feedback, and they’ll want to keep working at your organization.  

Remember, successful management of a contingent workforce relies on your ability to make them feel as though they are just as important as your full-time team. Use these tools for success!