The modern corporate world has seen a surge in the number of independent contractors and freelancers, and that increase is unlikely to turn around in the near future. As the owner or manager of an organisation, you want to develop a culture that promotes unity and hard/smart work among all of your workers, whether they’re full-time staff or part of your contingent workforce.
Here are just a few ways you can create a workplace that sees your contractors and permanent employees working in perfect harmony.
First Impressions Count
The way you introduce people to your organisation can affect their morale on the job and is can be foundation for building up walls between different groups of workers. For example, failing to correctly onboard and introduce freelancers and contractors could give them reason to feel alienated from the rest of the environment. Your onboarding program for contractors should not only furnish them with the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviour that the company desires, but should also introduces them to the company’s culture. Contingent workers who are familiar with the key aspects of the company’s operation and ethos, are more inclined to function as effective organisational members, as they will feel like a valued insider.
Develop Integrated Teams
Whether you are managing a project to develop new products and services or seeking methods to market your organisation, developing teams that are composed of both full-time and contingent workers is a great way to achieve project goals. It’s common for these two groups of workers to feel as though they are operating in different worlds, but through integration of permanent & contingent talent, you’ll create an environment that works in harmony, together and will eliminate any preconceived notions each had about the other group.
Encourage Peer-to-Peer Learning
White collar independent contractors and freelancers are typically highly skilled workers. The nature of their work can sometimes expose them to greater opportunities to develop new skills than that exposed to permanent workers. Encouraging your employees to work closely with your contingent workers will help give them insights into different skills they may otherwise not have considered, or worked with.
Contingent workers are driven by achieving their determined deliverable so that they can successfully complete a contract and move onto their next opportunity. Being able to work productively and effectively is crucial to their survival. Hence, these workers are often well-trained in time management…another valuable set of skills that could rub off on your employees.
Mixed It Up a Little
One of the perks of contracting or freelancing is the diversity this type of work offers. Not only does it provide a great means for learning new skills as mentioned above, it also exposes these workers to new working environments, networks of people within their industry, projects and workplace culture. In short, it’s a great way to never get bored with work. Try to think of ways that you can mimic some of this diversity in your permanent employees work day; get them involved in different projects that encourage them to be innovative, keeping them interested with a sense of job satisfaction.
Bridge the Benefits Gap
If you’re organisation is already engaging contractors, you would know too well that one of the key benefits to this arrangement is the flexibility; it allows your organisation to scale up and down in line with internal and external demands. Flexibility is also a key benefit noted by contingent workers and is increasingly becoming a deciding factor for permanent job seekers as to whether they will accept a job. According to a survey of almost 40,000 workers conducted by global workplace provider Regus, 62% of workers would turn down a job where flexibility was not offered.
Offering your permanent employees some level of flexibility and freedom, such as flexible working hours or the option to work from home, can give rise to a team of highly satisfied workers who feel they have a better work/life balance and are therefore far more effective and productive during their dedicated work hours.
You want to create an environment where all of your workers can thrive. Involving your contingent workers as important members of that talent community is important. Also replicating some of the benefits that entice people to become contractors for your permanent staff can create a better sense of cohesion and unity in the company as a whole and help your organisation retain your top talent.
Do you have experience with the working with a contingent workforce? Any stories to tell? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.