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February 24, 2014

Are You Paying Enough Attention to Your Contingent Workforce?

Posted 3 years 214 days ago by Mary Ann Munro

When it comes to contingent workers, businesses often forget about engagement. While it’s a hot topic for the full-time workforce, contingent staff are often seen as a “quick fix” or a short-term solution, so they aren’t included in the kind of engagement behaviors that managers try to model for other employees.

Is that such a bad thing, you might ask? Well, consider the risks of a disengaged contingent worker at any level in your organization:

  • Inflated costs
  • Poor productivity
  • Non-compliance with policy

Of course, there’s also the cost of attrition too. If contingent workers don’t feel engaged on your project, they have the freedom to leave at the end, or maybe sooner, or not to return for future engagements. Each of these situations leave you with the prospect of finding, hiring and ramping-up a new face the next time you need someone.

So engaging your consultants and contingent staff is as much a requirement for your business health as the engagement of your regular workforce. In a great article for HR Director Magazine, Peter Szilagyi from Rio Tinto puts forward some ways to include contingent workers in your company’s workforce strategy. He suggests:

  • Building the capability of line managers to provide the same level of regular and open communications, feedback and delegation they would do with regular employees
  • Remembering to provide feedback to your staffing partner firm as well as the individual worker to ensure everyone is able to adjust course as necessary
  • Creating a better structure for onboarding to let contingent workers ramp up and become effective quickly
  • Drafting better requirements briefs for your staffing partner firm to improve the chances of a great fit from the start.

Including contingent workers in your engagement efforts is likely to result in better outcomes, saving you time, money and headaches in the long run. We’d love to hear what you do to keep your consultants engaged and eager to work with your business again. Let us know in the comments.

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