Many organizations are well versed at using contingent workers to address gaps in skills in their full time workforce or to accomplish projects. However, one area where most organizations can improve is in the sharing of knowledge between contingent workers and their full time counterparts. To achieve this, employers might consider reverse engineering the practice so many millennials seem to favor – joining an organization to gain transferable skills – and take the same approach with regard to their contingent workers. If an organization is able, it should capture the expertise of its revolving cast of contractors to the benefit of its full time workforce. Here’s how.
This reverse engineering begins with the job description or Statement of Work (SOW). The SOWs used to engage an independent contractor or services provider provide a good outline or framework for what information will be useful to capture while the contractor(s) is engaged so it may be replicated or otherwise emulated once they’ve finished the engagement. One of the deliverables in the SOW should include transition services such as technical manuals or other forms of support relevant to the project work. All contingent job descriptions should require contingent workers to have experience in knowledge transfer, documentation (including process flows when applicable) and experience using documentation platforms such as SharePoint, confluence or an intranet. In this way, the organization can capture additional, often lasting value from its use of contract labor.
The interviewing process affords another opportunity for knowledge capture/transfer. When hiring managers are engaged in interviews, ensure they access the capabilities of resources to share information. For example, ask questions like “Give me an example of when you have had to complete knowledge sharing, how did you go about that?” Prepare managers to listen for more than just documentation. Training and meeting sessions dedicated to ensuring the material is understood by your full time employees is equally important.
Information sharing/capture can also take place during the onboarding process. Temporary employee resources are likely on boarded via your organization’s network. Be sure to provide orientation to these temporary workers and familiarize them with where documentation and any manuals should be stored. Most efforts include project plans to keep resources on track and that is a best practice. Define all tasks associated with knowledge sharing, which should include:
- Team review of the draft documentation
- And incorporation of any changes and final draft production
- Training sessions, when and if applicable
Off boarding is another opportunity for knowledge transfer. Prior to the conclusion of contingent workers’ assignments, have the hiring manager and the staffing provider meet together with the worker to ensure all tasks outlined in the project plan relating to knowledge transfer have occurred. Further, solicit their feedback with respect to any observations or opportunities for efficiency increases they may have to share. This is valuable for both the assigned work and knowledge transfer to full time employees. The data and perspectives gained may be considered for application to future incorporation of other contingent worker assignments.