The new economy of an on-demand workforce satisfies the employer need to hire who they need, when they need them from any place in the world.
Particularly for service industries and companies that need virtual workers, pay and labor hours are no longer wasted on idle employees.
While there are many benefits to hiring with freelance workers, potential pitfalls could force you to return to the traditional ways of hiring talent. The problem with that is your labor costs remain unresolved.
The better way to combat issues with managing a different type of worker is finding solutions keeps things intact. Here are two common problems associated with contract workers and tips to deal with them without creating more problems.
Problem #1: Not Communicating Effectively
Working offsite makes it easy to get communication wires tangled. Perhaps the contractor prefers to call, but your preferred method of communicating is via email.
Another scenario is being unable to reach them when you need an update on a project. Either one of these issues could lead to lost productivity time and frustration – on both sides.
A solution is to have a communications agreement for every contractor to sign before them begin work. Be specific and provide details of when you will meet as well as how often. Agree on the best form of communication.
If your company has a workforce management system, setup access with contractor profiles. Not only can this tool be an effective way to communicate, but you can send updates, alerts and even know when contractors are working with a clock in and out feature.
Include in the agreement plans to check in more frequently than what is necessary for an onsite, full-time employee. Typically, freelancers will need more feedback since they are unfamiliar with your company’s culture.
It is very important that expectations are clear. Additionally, freelancers work for you, but in a different capacity than regular workers. Therefore, times when they are unreachable should be expected.
Again, make full use of your attendance system. You can communicate scheduling and other messages through the system that can improve your relationship with hiring workers on-demand.
Obviously, staying abreast of the contractor’s work progress is important. This means tracking more than their progress. You need to stay informed about how they are adjusting to your expectations.
Weekly status reports, which involve speaking with contractors, will give both sides a chance to ask questions about what’s good and what’s a potential challenge.
Problem #2: Poor Work Performance
Performance issues are a tricky subject with an on-demand workforce. If it is time to renew contracts, you may need to reconsider extending their time to work for your organization.
However, find out whether the problems are easily remedied. This will save time in searching for a replacement to unfinished work.
Maybe they are having a problem with one aspect of their assigned duties. Without putting your project in jeopardy, they may only need a refresher to improve their performance.
- Keep in mind that you cannot treat contractors passively. Be direct and honest about your concerns. If they are not meeting your expectations, they need to know. Otherwise, they will become complacent in their performance, believing that they are doing a good job.
- Avoid micromanaging contract workers who seem to be struggling with certain duties. By definition, contractors should be able to handle their workload. If every effort proves they are unable to do so, it is time to find a new contractor.
- Facilitate ongoing coaching. Doing this fosters continuous development because the modern workforce craves timely feedback on a regular basis. It gives them what they want while you quickly identify and respond to potential issues.
- Track skills and competencies of your on-demand talent. This is another area to get the full benefits of an employee management system. Although contractors are not full-time employees, you can set up contractor profiles.Enter their skills so you can match your strategic business goals with their ability to get things done. You can use the data to determine if any skill gaps exist.
Align Strategy through Motivating and Growing Talent
Your senior management team has a strategic plan. Whether it is to increase profits, reduce time-to-market, increase market share, improve customer satisfaction or all the above, the plan is built on an operation that will get you there.
Central to the plan’s success is the talent you hire. On-demand workers share in this experience. Therefore, performance management goals should link to the strategic vision of your organization.
This cost-effective and efficient way to add expertise when needed is a smart solution, especially when contractors are motivated to get the job done. As they work within your organization, do not be surprised if even the most experienced need guidance from time to time.
Simply align individual goals and expectations with the overall strategy to ensure activities are translated into positive business results.