5 Critical Steps for Managing Non-Permanent Workers

The increasing usage of non-permanent workers in Australia and across the globe shows no sign of abating. And for good reason.

Non-permanent workers offer specialist skills, on-demand.

Non-permanent workers often facilitate faster, more efficient project completion.

Non-permanent workers have a lighter impact on the bottom line.

It’s largely win-win.

And we say ‘largely’ with bite. You see, if non-permanent workers are engaged and managed with care & strategy, your business will reap these – and many more – benefits from their engagement. However, in our experience, that’s not always the case.

Here, we’ve provided five key measures your business can take to achieve maximum ROI from your non-permanent workers; measures that extend from a positive onboarding experience, to ensuring you meet all legislative requirements in taking them on. Read on!

Step 1. Sourcing

Whether you source your non-permanent workers directly, or via a reputable staffing agency, the easy and most appealing approach, is often to choose the option that lands you talent, fast. Granted, it’s appealing, but don’t forego quality for speed.

If you haven’t set up a talent pipeline, or your engagement of contingent workers is irregular, you can successfully utilise online talent platforms, like Expert360, CommTract or Upwork. The big banks, consulting firms and other leading industry employers are shifting significant portions of their sourcing model to these platforms, and are hence creating & self-managing their contingent talent pools.

Your approach to sourcing non-permanent talent needs preparation. Don’t rush to market, without a clear picture of the skills, deliverables, and background of the talent to fill project requirements.

Step 2. Onboarding

As usage of contract workers escalates, the impact of first impressions is increasingly important. High-quality talent are sought after, especially as the volume of specialist, skilled workers who choose to work contract, is on the rise. The balance of power is by no means favouring the employer any longer.

So get organised. Develop a well mapped-out onboarding plan (or outsource it to CXC Global). Include in the contract, a clear picture of deliverables, agreed timeframes, and success measures. Leave nothing to chance.

If you’ve found contractor gold, and you want that person to return to your business in the future, then give them the impetus to do so. Make the start of their contracting experience with you, a positive one. It sets the scene for the remainder of the contract.

The other point here is, contractors talk. Especially workers in high-demand skills categories (like tech). If the word is your business is a dud place to work, you’ll ultimately pay the price.

Step 3. Protect Your Business

Okay, so we’re touching on the basics here, but we do that because they’re easy to overlook. Make sure you’ve set strict data safety protocols in place, and get protected against loss of confidentiality and IP. Yes, you’ll have the worker/s sign contracts, but you can do more. When a contract is coming to a close, have a standard process in place for the transfer of knowledge including all data, materials, documents and online assets. And to set expectations from the start, ensure the non-permanent worker is aware of the in-place processes & protocols for company protection, when they start.

Step 4. Avoid Co-employment of Your Non-Permanent Workers

Make sure your business is across the local employment laws, particularly in respect of co-employment. According to MBO Partners, co-employment is…

…an arrangement where two companies both have rights and obligations as an employer—the business maintains responsibilities for the worker’s job duties and day-to-day functions while the co-employer manages personnel-related functions such as payroll. In this way, the worker is technically employed both by the business and the co-employer.

It’s a fraught scenario that if proven, is expensive to rectify. One of the most publicised risks that will see an employer at fault in respect of co-employment, is when independent contractors are treated as employees. The famous Microsoft case in point, non-permanent workers inside Microsoft were ‘deemed employees’. In this case, it was proven the contractors worked on the same teams and under the same management as permanent employees. They also worked the same hours, performed the same tasks, and all inside the Microsoft work environment with full and open access to Microsoft hardware, software and day-to-day office benefits. The case cost Microsoft around $100m in penalties. Ouch.

Step 5. Have a Quality and Output Plan in Place

By this we mean, make sure there’s set, documented and agreed deliverables that form the basis of the relationship. Be clear about your expectations in terms of timing, output, quality and reporting. Supreme clarity around these issues will mitigate potential disputes as the project comes to a close. You might think that by hiring a qualified, reputable contractor, you won’t need to monitor their output. Rookie mistake. It’s your business that holds the risk in terms of the non-permanent worker’s output. And by assuming the job’s getting done, you amplify that risk.

BONUS STEP:

Step 6. Engage a Consulting Firm to Manage your Non-Permanent Workers

This may seem self-serving, but in fairness, we’ve seen so many organisations lose productivity, income and reputation by failing to have a strategic management plan in place for their non-permanent workers. Specialists in non-permanent workforce management, like CXC Global, whose sole purpose is to manage these workers, have the expertise, legislative know-how and insight, across the many manifestations of non-permanent workforce management. From reducing the cost of these workers, ensuring their optimum engagement and output, compliance and risk mitigation, outsourcing the strategic management of your non-permanent workers means your business can get on doing what you’re good at. Just saying.

How is your business reaping greatest output from your non-permanent workers? Let us know in the comments.

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