It’s highly likely you have more than a few contractors in your team. While they’re an extremely valued part of your workforce, it’s common for these professionals to feel like they’re on the peripheral, never quite a full part of the team, like your permanent staff.
But there are many merits in treating your contractors as you do your full-time employees. Here are a few, along with some tips to help you bridge the divide.
It’s important to first be mindful of the legalities surrounding contractors versus your permanent employees.
Once you’re firmly across those, reap the following rewards by helping your contractors feel like they’re a part of your business.
It Gives You A Culture Boost
Like most companies, you’ve probably spent an inordinate amount of time and resources developing your work culture, and engaging in activities that support it with your permanent staff.
But when bringing in a new contractor, discussions around culture, values and mission often gets put to the side, especially as they’re expected to hit the ground running.
But by engaging contractors on this level, you will enrich your existing culture, which has flow-on benefits for the rest of your workforce.
It can also benefit your bottom line – many contractors have as much contact with your product and customers as your permanents do. This means it’s just as important for them to understand your culture and overall business objectives.
- Onboard in a similar way to a permanent staff member – ensure your contractor’s induction includes a company culture check (mission, values etc.), as well as a logistics check (an office and facilities tour, a fully set up desk and computer etc.).
It Increases Contractor Productivity
According to a recent Gallup poll, millennials want more than just a pay check. To feel successful, their work must have meaning and purpose. With close to 30% of Australian tech workers in this age bracket, it’s a vital area to nurture.
Permanent staff can picture how their role contributes to overall business success, but contractors don’t often get this big picture view. Sharing this might be just what they need to feel connected and empowered to do their best work.
- Ensure they understand their place in the business – tell them how you think their work can play a part in overall business success.
It Improves Contractor & Team Engagement
Feeling included at work breeds happiness. And happiness is infectious, especially within a team environment.
While it may not be intentional, it can be easy to forget to include a contractor. Perhaps it’s an email about a company-wide event, or an invitation to a team meeting.
Finding ways to include your contractors – especially in social events – not only helps promote a sense of belonging, it can also boost your team’s overall engagement and morale.
When employees are given the chance to get to know their colleagues on a personal level, this can enhance everyday work interactions, and lead to an increasingly cohesive team.
- Schedule introductions for their first day and beyond – depending on what suits your business, introduce them to all the key stakeholders in the company, alongside their direct colleagues.
- Include them in social and work invitations – this can include company-wide meetings to help them develop that ‘bird’s eye’ view of the business.
The Potential To Retain Knowledge Capital
When you lack expertise in a niche area, a contractor is the perfect solution. But when they leave, that knowledge goes with them.
Helping a contractor feel connected to your team and invested in the company at large, in addition to nurturing them at an individual level, may negate this.
When their contract is over and there’s scope for a permanent role, if you’ve taken these steps, it’s likely they’ll be inclined to stay.
- Review and provide timely feedback – schedule regular work reviews to provide feedback, and also ask for theirs.
- Consider incentives – good work deserves reward, whether you’re a permanent or temporary staff member. This may come in the form of paid training or paid time off for long-term contracts.
- Keep up the connection – by nature, most tech employees and management use quick forms of online communication (messaging, email etc.), but nothing can replace the personal touch. Try to arrange a weekly face-to-face or video chat (if remote), whether it’s reviewing work or a casual check in.
While treating your contractors as you do your permanent staff requires some effort, the benefits to your business may outweigh the work involved.
If you’d like more tips about working with contractors, or need help sourcing a new one, please feel free to get in touch.