Staffing Management

Your Contract Workers Are Looking for Some Love, Too

By Brian Salkowski

Jun. 12, 2019

As offices are being swapped for co-working spaces and schedules are becoming more flexible, greater numbers of people are opting for contract positions over full-time roles.

According to Deloitte, more than 40 percent of employees are now considered contingent workers, and this figure is expected to rise. With a large proportion of contractors now placed in high-value positions, it is certainly advisable to strategically plan how you will incorporate these workers into your own talent pipeline.

Contractors were once perceived as less career focused and in many ways less important than full-time employees, however, nowadays, with 1 in 7 workers self-employed, businesses are quickly grasping that they are an essential part of the workforce, and in many circumstances, contractors are the ones delivering the most valuable insights and projects. In fact, within the tech sector, 84 percent of recruitment bosses have seen an increase in demand for temporary or contract roles, and this demand is mirrored in plenty of other sectors too.

This fairly new phenomenon has been aided by technology, which allows people to move freely and source work more easily. Highly skilled professionals and consultants are often in nonpermanent roles, as they have years of experience accumulated from collaborating on projects with multiple organizations. A contractor often brings a wealth of knowledge to each company that they work with, challenging expectations and providing different perspectives.

Contingent workers have many of the same desires and goals as full-time employees. They both want a high level of accountability, opportunity for development, alignment of company culture and flexibility. However, data reveals that there are certain motivators that contingent workers value more. In a recent Harvard Business Review survey, contractors reported wanting more challenging work, career growth and a great culture — and 40 percent said they wanted a role that enabled them to have an impact on the organization. This was also echoed in the Dice 2018 “Tech Salary Report,” where 14 percent of respondents said that flexible work location and telecommuting was the primary motivator offered by their employer, 11 percent expressed flexible working hours and 10 percent stated more interesting or challenging work.

Sourcing Top Contractors

In order to drive more effective contractor pipelines, many employers are developing their own private talent pools of high-value contractors. This involves creating a database of contractors and keeping up to date with the flow of talent. Not all contingent workers remain as contractors throughout their career, so it is crucial to keep connected and informed on their next move.

Traditional methods have not disappeared and are still highly effective, but new technology compliments existing supply channels and means skills matching is drastically improved and made more efficient, like many other tasks in the recruitment process.

Promoting a strong employer brand on social media, your careers page and throughout the recruitment process will help attract high-value contractors directly. Capitalize on this opportunity to champion contingent workers and show that you understand and appreciate their value. Show the types of transformative projects that contracts have historically delivered for example.

Building a Good Relationship

All employees want to feel respected and included, and this certainly extends to contractors. It is important to break down the barriers between full-time and contingent staff and ensure that they receive the same attention and perks as each other. Making contractors feel valued can be achieved through not only paying them their worth, but, perhaps more importantly, by welcoming them into the team through a well-developed onboarding process.

Progressive organizations are approaching talent challenges with creativity and by engaging in responsible experimentation to ensure a more efficient path to hiring. To successfully attract high-value contractors, it is vital to adapt your employee value proposition, take into consideration their core motivators and ensure that there is an inclusive environment.

Brian Salkowski is the chief operating officer at London-based recruitment process outsourcing company Guidant Global.

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