Last week, we looked at three key elements that make for a positive experience for your contingent workers. These are:
- The importance of establishing great processes for these workers
- The importance of establishing a great communications strategy to support these workers
- The importance of establishing the CVP – Contractor Value Proposition (the attraction factors contractors see as important if they’re going to consider a contract with your organisation)
This week, we’re going one step further, with three more critical factors for you to consider, so you can provide an awesome experience for your contingent workers.
Keep in mind, once you stop, and take time to prepare, plan and provide your contract labour with a great experience, you stand to gain huge benefit. How? Better productivity. Better workplace culture. Improved ROI from your investment in them.
We can closely liken the contingent labour experience to that of the ‘Employee Experience’, which McKinsey defines it as:
…companies and their people working together to create personalized, authentic experiences that ignite passion and tap into purpose to strengthen individual, team, and company performance.
The exact same premise applies to the experience of your contingent labour. So… if you haven’t already, start to expand your thinking when it comes to the experience of all talent in your organisation. Your leadership team – and your bottom line – will be thankful you did.
Now, let’s look at the next three factors to optimise your contingent worker experience:
Give Them a Voice
Whilst being incredibly mindful of compliance issues, there are ways to engage contingent workers by providing them with a feedback loop between themselves, and the business. Tapping into their expertise, ideas, cultural perceptions and more, will deliver a happy and engaged contingent workforce. Here are just a few ideas:
- Stop making assumptions about what it is they want. Engage them in feedback and involve them in decision making, giving them ownership and a sense of ‘skin in the game’, especially if they’re in project-based, strategic or operations roles
- Like their full-time counterparts, contingent workers greatly value being sought-after for project input. If you’re running an in-house MSP or contingent workforce management program (like that offered by CXC), you can channel this feedback via your external provider. Having said that, it’s important that a representative from your business is involved, especially when concerns are being tabled
- Often the expertise you’re bringing into the business – in the form of contingent workers – is highly specialised; frequently so specialised that they’re the only subject matter expert in the organisation, for the period. Imagine not drawing from that fountain of knowledge whilst you can? Doing this shows a lack of respect for the contingent worker. And will invite reputation damage to your business.
Professional Development: It Matters
By providing opportunities for growth and professional development, you’re demonstrating a commitment to your contingent workers both now, and in future succession planning through inclusion in your expert talent pool.
This is a win-win situation!
Extending the value of these workers – via both professional development and talent pooling – is a great way to deliver recurring, proven talent into your business; not to mention high-level engagement from the workers.
Professional development may come in a number of formats:
- enabling the contingent worker to have exposure to leaders, processes, departments or projects that enhances their knowledge and skills
- recommending further education or courses, that you know will benefit their professional standing, based on current or future projects in your organisation
- continuous improvement: as contingent workers progress through a project, provide extended insight and learning, to keep the project momentum alive
- offer training and development as a pathway to permanent employment with the business
And then there are these factors:
- not all contingent workers wish to remain on contract. Training and development provided by the organisation can guide them to long-term, full-time employment, which again is another potential win-win scenario
- a survey of employers and individuals by City & Guilds Group in the UK found that 20% of UK employers did not provide training for their contingent workers, despite 84% stating that they relied upon these workers to function effectively. And, out of those who do receive the training, 24% said that it was ineffective. This is telling.
In summary, make sure you’re including contingent workers’ feedback and insights into the project via a strategic feedback loop. And courtesy of that feedback, provide relevant training and development to keep these workers engaged in the project, and in your business.
They Want Access to Expertise
Contingent workers are looking to surround themselves with high-level expertise. So they’ll be more inclined to seek out your organisation as a place to work if they’re aware of experts inside your business.
There are specific areas of expertise that contingent workers are increasingly seeking. These include:
- Global Intelligence: amidst a changing, and often unstable political environment, organisations have had to shift their presence in many global locations (especially US global corporates after Trumps’ 2017 immigration mandates). As a result, contingent workers are being deployed as strategic program operatives. This presents some new, and very attractive opportunities for contingent workers who seek a breadth of global experience, flexibility and are not anchored to a specific location.
- Diversity: a factor not only demonstrated as valuable to worker engagement and profitability of organisations, but also to the experience of workers. Contingent labour is opting for work environments where the organisation has a firm and broad take on diversity, both in knowledge and in practice. This, in turn, gives them exposure to a broader array of thinking, expertise and professional experiences.
- Regulatory expertise: a vital prerequisite for engaging in-the-know contingent workers, is having expert knowledge of the often-changing legislative stipulations that go with their engagement. They’ll want to know that you’re across the historical and recent changes in tax, workplace, fair work and other laws. This is driven by a need for security (you’re not going to go under due to legislative non-compliance), and it demonstrates a commitment to contingent labour as a strategic sub-set of the overall workforce; a valuable and sought-after factor in the minds of these workers.
Bonus Factors To Consider
Here are some additional bonus factors to be mindful of for a positive contingent worker experience:
- Consider a shift of focus of investment from customer satisfaction and experience to worker satisfaction and experience. Improve the latter to achieve greatness for the former – this includes, of course, your contingent labour
- Extend (or initiate) the support initiatives you currently offer to your permanent employees. Outside of remuneration, think about initiatives like wellness opportunities, gym memberships, health insurance, free coffee… the opportunities are immense. Initiatives of this nature make contingent workers feel appreciated and engaged with their temporary team and the business overall and provide a great uptick in contingent worker experience
- Be ready to answer questions about your organisation’s financial viability during the selection and interview process. Contractors, like all candidates today, are increasingly looking to organisations’ to be transparent about their financial position as they’re seeking security and a positive next stage of their contracting career. From Shortlist, just this week:
“There’s been so much chop and change over the last few years with downturns in the market, people have been burnt,” Appoint founder Jackie Rahilly told Shortlist this week.
“[…] people are now asking more questions around financial stability: what’s the future of the organisation, the direction they are going on, how quickly they pay their debtors – a lot more questions than they would have before.”
As the use of contingent workers is consistently on the rise, the realisation of a total talent workforce will be increasingly widespread. As such, it’s important for organisations to address engagement and experiential factors of the contingent component of their workforce. A short-term (or short-sighted) perspective on contingent labour can create a very real obstacle to achieving a high-performing, total talent management strategy; one that would otherwise be delivering optimum output and results for your organisation.
What’s your approach to providing a positive contingent worker experience?
Have you considered it in the context of a total talent solution?
As one of the world’s leading suppliers of contingent workforce management solutions, CXC is well positioned to optimise all component of your contingent labour strategy. With operations in more than 50 countries across 5 continents decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.
I look forward to hearing from you.