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How contractors are changing the face of modern employment
26 July 2016
Globally, the contractor workforce is expanding, with forecasters predicting that it will thrive in markets that prioritise agility, specialism and flexibility in their workforce. According to the ABS, in Australia, some 28% of the population may be in the ‘contingent worker’ category. Some may look to transition into the permanent workforce, but others have no intention of doing so.
What does the growing use of contractors mean for businesses?
There are many benefits of strategically using contractors as part of a hiring strategy. They represent a flexible workforce that can expand and contract with demand, quickly scaling up or down productivity as required. The labour of recruitment—advertising, screening and interviewing—can be entirely outsourced to a third party and therefore does not tie up company resources, which can be highly beneficial, particularly for high-volume hiring.
There’s the option of using a ‘temp-to-hire’ system where a contract can be used as a trial/training period and lead to full-time employment with minimal risk for either party; if the contractor isn’t a good fit, the company has no obligation to renew their contract.
Finally, there is a large pool of qualified and highly skilled contract workers available, meaning you can fill gaps in employment faster.
I’ve noticed a significant increase in recruitment of “fit for purpose” temporary staff with a focus on driving key deliverables during current trading conditions.
Working with contractors can present challenges. It is important to ensure you have a clear onboarding process and training for new staff, with a focus on culture and key milestones for the role. Without concrete onboarding and training processes, you won’t be able to get the most out of a contractor, as they will spend a good portion of their time trying to get their head around procedure.
This can also lead to a contractor feeling disengaged with your company culture – however you should find that most contractors are skilled at finding their place within a new team quickly.
Hiring and retention
Many company onboarding processes focus on speed. But companies need to take into account the opportunity to engender worker engagement and loyalty, especially in temp-to-hire positions. Consider the following when designing an onboarding program that will suit contract workers:
- Where in the org chart does this position fit? Why is this position important?
- What are the general goals of the broader department or team? What is the culture of the team? What are the key processes and procedures?
- Is there any extra learning or development required for this position? Who will be overseeing it?
- What are the measurable goals of this position? What will the manager expect of the worker?
These are questions that will inevitably come up with a contract worker, so having the answers in one place before you start bringing on the new talent is a wise move.
Complementing a contractor’s needs and goals
Businesses can build trust and loyalty in contract employees by learning about and assisting in their long-term goals:
- If they are looking only for contract work, they can be useful for short-term projects or high-capacity times.
- If they are looking for long-term opportunities, they can be a potential temp-to-perm hire, so always consider it as an option; a strong contractor might be highly motivated by the potential of a permanent job.
As employers continue to face fast-changing needs in business, contractors will continue to help them adapt to the market’s demands. Designing robust attraction, onboarding and engagement strategies will assist in helping smooth the transition to a more flexible, contingent workforce.
For more advice about hiring contractors, contact Michael Page.
Contract workers can benefit your company in many ways:
- They are open to flexible working hours
- They are skilled at working productively
- They bring in new talents and skill sets
- They offer temp-to-perm opportunities
If you aren’t already using contractors, now is the time to start, as they are set to change the face of the working world as we know it.