There are numerous reasons why it is important to focus on driving quality within the contract workforce talent pool. The consequences of neglecting quality as a measure can be damaging to the organization’s core business, despite the fact that contract workers are typically outside the realm of core functions. Thus, it is critical to get the right contract worker into the position that most appropriately meets with their skill set and experience. When the contractor is working off-site and interacting directly with your clients maintaining high levels of contractor quality is even more important. So how can an organization ensure quality among its contractor talent pool?
Re-Engagement | One proven strategy for driving quality is to ensure workers hold values similar to the hiring company and that they possess an employment background relevant to the project. One way to achieve this is to re-engage contract workers that may have already worked for your organization. As long as you’re mindful of tenure and co-employment rules, it can be an effective practice to maintain a contractor re-engagement program to bring workers who have proven their ability and temperamental suitability with your organization back to reprise their roles (or to fill similar positions as may be needed).
Proactive Management | Poor workforce morale can have a productivity-stalling effect on worker quality. Nothing saps morale more than feeling like a second-class member of an organization. Managing contractors should resemble managing staff employees. Just because one is not a full-time employee, doesn’t mean they should be treated differently than their full-time counterparts (except with respect to worker classification rules).
To guarantee higher levels of contractor morale, just like any other kind of relationship, communication is essential. Provide open/honest feedback. Communicate often; ensure that there is scheduled follow-up to all interactions and provide regular opportunities for contractors to ask questions or air grievances. This simple activity keeps you in the loop regarding any challenges contractors may be experiencing and makes the contractor aware that you care about their ability to serve.
Another key management step involves conveying clear expectations, defined goals and accountability with respect to the tasks assigned to contractors. Share with them the company’s mission and values, and illustrate how their roles and contributions align with broader organizational efforts. This helps drive a greater feeling of relevance which, in turn, translates to better work output.
Solid Project Management | Disorganization on contract jobs sets a careless tone among contractors. If the hiring organization isn’t putting forth the effort to provide pathways toward successful completion of work, why should a contractor feel obligated to exert the effort to achieve? Lay out what success looks like from beginning to end. Create an orientation process similar to what exists for your full-time employees. Share the role and goals but also make resources available to contractors in the event they need help working toward defined project objectives. Provide organized charts to illustrate chains of command and departmental structure. Let contractors know who can help facilitate when obstacles arise. Treat the contractors’ professional time as valuable. Manage their time on the project wisely.
Create a Talent Pipeline | As a contractor or group of contractors are getting ready to complete the project, consider other departments or managers potentially able to utilize their skills. See if you can facilitate a meeting to discuss how these workers can support other projects.
When contractor engagements end, keep track of who has worked out well. Then, in the off-boarding process, capture when they may be available again for work. If workers coming through your permanent recruitment process are more interested in contract work, they would also be valuable to add to your growing pipeline.