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Why Empowering Your Contingent Workers Mitigates Risk

Posted by Louis Flory

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7/16/14 2:39 PM


Many employers reflexively feel that they need to manage their contingent workers more closely than their permanent staff members in order to minimize organizational risk. Contingent workers are not as fully integrated into the organization as full-time workers are, and they may not be as familiar with workplace policies. However, it is important that you do not make the mistake of placing excessive restriction on your contingent workers. Empowering your contingent workforce will actually help them succeed and reduce the risk of having problems with the projects that your contingent workers are brought in on.

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The Connection Between Talent Management And Risk Management

Managing your people, especially using an empowering approach, is very closely integrated with managing risk at your organization. Part of this integration lies in the desire for companies to have team members who are aware of best practices for handling workplace risks. Employees must be allowed to work through risks on their own, but you also must prepare them to successfully be able to handle these risks. This preparation comes through sufficient education.

According to an article from February 2013 in Training Magazine where PricewaterhouseCoopers’ director Sonia Alvarez-Robinson discusses how to empower people to remedy risk, PwC abides by a 70:20:10 ratio for on-the-job learning: 70% of learning is self-directed and occurs during normal work activities, 20% happens from mentoring, and 10% occurs from training organized by instructors. This means that employees need to be given opportunities for pertinent training programs and coaching, but they must also be provided with a certain level of autonomy in the workplace, since the majority of their learning will occur during day-to-day work.

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Creating A High Performance Culture

Another important element of managing risk with contingent workers and full-time workers is ensuring that your organization has a culture that encourages and rewards team members for practicing risk-reducing behavior. In order to accomplish this, managers must be able to proactively identify obstacles to risk management and give their team members the ability to openly discuss challenges they face in dealing with organizational risk. Metrics play a key role in this area: a company needs to constantly conduct studies and tests to be well-prepared for any challenges that their team might face involving risk management.

The Challenge Of Risk Management For Contingent Workers

Businesses that currently utilize contingent workers must strike a delicate balance to properly manage risk for these workers. Companies initially hire contingent workers because they provide an outside perspective and special skills that permanent employees may not have. The downside of employing a contingent workforce is that these professionals are used to operating their own way and may not be as fully engaged with the organization’s culture and methods, which could increase the difficulty that they face in managing risk.
The key to managing risk for contingent employees is in understanding that they are different from full-time team members, and in using these differences to guide the way that you manage them. You should fully communicate the objectives of their work so that all parties are on the same page. It is also wise to hold a meeting with your contingent workers to brainstorm risk management challenges that temporary contractors in particular might face during the course of their work.

Tips For Reviewing Your Current Contingent Workforce Management Program

Risk management for a contingent workforce can be a tricky area. Reducing the risk of failure or the occurrence of PR problems is integral to success with contingent employees. Understanding the challenges of contingent workers, discussing these challenges with them, and giving them the freedom to address them independently is the best way to help facilitate the long-term success of your contingent workforce.

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Topics: Contingent Workforce Management, Contingent Workers, Contingent employee development