To remain flexible in our present economy of continued uncertainty, hiring contract workers rather than staff employees to keep costs down, remains a common practice. Unlike a full-time employee, companies do not have to pay contractors a regular salary, employment taxes or an average of $12,000 annually in family health care costs.
Managers of contractors have to juggle workers who are frequently off-site who schedule their own hours and who may have multiple priorities.
Tips for Managing Contract Employees:
- Create guidelines for your contractors that explicitly provide project details, expectations, timelines and deadlines.
- Perhaps consider creating an orientation process. The first time you work with a contract consultant, have them go through an orientation process that reviews the company’s mission and philosophy, the available resources, processes and values.
- Schedule weekly phone conversations with your contractors and make yourself available if a question comes up.
- Provide constant feedback to contract employees.
All this might seem like a lot of upfront work, but it’s worth it to get them performing at the level you need them to.
You should treat contractors as an integral part of the company. A contractor who is engaged in the work is more likely to take on additional projects and more willing to accept a permanent position if one opens up.
Plus, contractors need to know that their work contributes directly to the company’s performance. Clearly illustrating how a contractor supports the goals of the company and encouraging them with praise, honest feedback will boost their loyalty.
At the end of the day, managing contractors in many ways resembles managing staff employees. Communication lines need to be open and clear, values must be aligned, and feedback boosts engagement.