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Fostering a Contingent Worker Culture For Success

Posted by Louis Flory

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5/19/15 6:30 AM

As more companies are faced with cyclical or seasonal changes in workforce demand, business managers are tasked with seeking appropriate responses. Many have recognized the benefits of hiring contingent workers, realizing that their needs can best be met by temps as opposed to hiring permanent employees. Another advantage is that personnel costs are reduced with the elimination of health insurance and other perks that would only be offered to a full time workforce.

Still, hiring and managing a contingent worker is not without its challenges. This segment of your workers is unique, with career motivations that differ greatly from those of your full time staff. Their role within your company must remain distinct, even as they’re working alongside your team. Whether you’re looking to retain the services of contingent workers for the first time or are seeking ways to improve your management skills, you can probably use a few tips on fostering a productive, successful workplace environment.

A Contingent Worker Is Motivated Differently From Your Regular Employees

While they may not be seeking a raise in salary or the benefits of your full time staff, there are reasons an individual will take on contingent work. They may be looking to improve their career prospects, find reputable references or hone skills that will be valuable in the future. They’re looking for incentives separately from the money they hope to earn.

Your Contingent Workforce Expects Proper Separation From Permanent Workers

It may seem rude or insensitive, but your contingent workers actually anticipate that they’ll be excluded from certain company functions. They haven’t invested in your company in the same way as your full time people have, so you won’t be hurting their feelings by not invited them to the company picnic.

Contingent Workers Thrive When Given Proper Parameters For Performance

They didn’t go through the rigorous interview process that you’ve established for your permanent workers, so contingent staff is not as clear on what you expect from them. As a manager, your job is to make it clear what they must to do comply with your requirements. Define your process and specifically describe where they fit in your workflow.

The Contingent Workforce Appreciates A Proper Orientation Process

Akin to establishing performance parameters is outlining your company’s functions and operations. This includes an introduction to all permanent personnel they’ll be dealing with and a full tour of the relevant areas of your facility. These individuals should also be made aware of where they can turn when they need help. In addition, you should engage in comprehensive training on all the software they’ll be accessing, bearing in mind that there should be limitations to the permissions given within these solutions.

A Contingent Worker Will Want To Know Whether A Permanent Position Is Possible

At the very beginning of your business relationship, it may be beneficial to be upfront about the paths to full time employment with your company. If the potential exists, it benefits both parties to lay these cards on the table; if not, the contingent member has practical and realistic expectations about where the position is headed.

From these pointers, you can see that it is possible to blend a contingent workforce with your permanent staff when you experience demand fluctuations. You must make the contingent personnel feel recognized, valued and rewarded, with an appropriate level of job satisfaction. However, you must always bear in mind that a contingent worker is not a regular employee. This balance is central to successfully making the situation work for all.

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Image Source: Scott Beale

Topics: Contingent Workforce Management, Contingent Workers, Training Resources