Top 5 Best Practices for Onboarding Contingent Workforce Resources


The pandemic is wreaking havoc on organizations. Some are seeing operations grind to a halt while others are experiencing unprecedented and overwhelming demand. In either case the need for time and money saving processes for onboarding of contingent labor is essential. For some there’s a pressing need to ramp up quickly now. For others, the need will explode once the economy reopens releasing pent up demand for all kinds of products/services. So we thought we’d take this unique moment to share five best practices for onboarding contingent workforce resources.

Number One | Provide basic onboarding and orientation for all contingents. SHRM research reveals that less than half of all HR professionals polled report having standard onboarding processes for all workers, leaving this important first-impression to individual managers to devise. Worse, a quarter of those polled said their organizations had the same process for external workers as for internal workers. Developing a process for onboarding contingent workforce resources, different than those used for full-time workers is critical as it provides context, direction and expectations in better alignment with the nature of temporary and project work.

Number Two | Develop role-specific onboarding process for each type of external workforce assets. The more communication the better during onboarding contingent workers. Dispel questions and avoid ambiguity by providing specific onboarding orientations based on the nature of the roles you’re hiring contingents to fill. Develop specific orientation materials for customer-facing roles, safety-sensitive positions, roles requiring integration with internal employee teams and others as may be needed.

Number Three | Include socialization components to the process. Focus on organizational culture, relationships, company purpose and potential advancement/temp-to-hire pathways so your process is not exclusively focused on compliance, behavior and performance. Getting the most of your contingent labor requires proper socialization to the cultural norms and values of the organization. In fact, one of the top three challenges managers face in their management of external workers is aligning and engaging externals around company purpose and culture. Investing time in this step helps ensure greater cohesion among the contingent workforce as they will have greater connection and insight into where they work and the value their contributions bring to the organization.

Number Four | Continuously measure your onboarding processes and improve. Observing a regular schedule of evaluations of your contingent workforce onboarding processes ensures continuous improvement. Solicit feedback from temp-to-hire workers as well as from contingent workers at the conclusion of their engagements via exit interviews. You can’t improve your onboarding efficacy if you’re not measuring the results of the existing processes.

Number Five | Let technology be your friend. Embrace technologies to not only automate administrative processes, but to also solicit engagement, sharing of experiences and measure the efficacy of onboarding activities for purposes of improving overall outcomes. Like many other business processes, keeping track of the efficacy of your onboarding performance generates copious volumes of data which can be easily misinterpreted or lost altogether. Using workforce management tools like VMS solutions are an essential ingredient to success.

Need help developing a superior onboarding process for contingent workforce resources? Talk to nextSource today for expert guidance on this important facet of your human capital program. Schedule a free consultation today.

To read more on this subject, turn to nextSource for expert guidance and visit our Statement of Work page.

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