Contract employees, also known as Temporary Employees, are hired for a predetermined period. In certain situations, the contract may not include an exact time-frame, but will instead end when a specific project has been completed or fulfilled. Such employees are usually paid an hourly rate and do not work a standard day or week.
Managing contract employees can be quite a challenge, especially for companies who have just decided to add temporary workers to their workforce. Unlike the regular permanent employees, where the companies’ management teams are very used to handling and leading, the expectations and needs of contract employees differ significantly. With temporary workers, the main challenge lies in figuring out ways to ensure these employees feel a sense of belonging, stay committed, and motivated at work.
Mentioned by Professor Peter Holland, an associate professor of Monash Business School, “Productivity today is about engagement. Most people want to be treated as part of a team, not an “economic unit” to exploit”. Thus, even though temporary workers are not here to stay in the companies for long, it is still crucial to manage them thoughtfully and effectively, as businesses will then be able to maximise the potential of these workers.
The needs of each individual differ even when they may be taking up the same position and responsibilities. The first and most important question to ask is: “What are they hoping to achieve from this assignment or role,” and be sure to deliver on that. Some could be looking to develop new skills, opportunities to build connections and expand their network, or they could be in for the money. Depending on each employee’s needs, the techniques used to manage them should be personalised to maximise each individual’s potential.
After understanding each individual’s needs, it is also important to manage employee’s expectations by letting them know what they have signed up for. To ensure that all parties involved are on the same page, companies can implement the following course of actions:
– Ensure job descriptions are accurate and clearly defined
– Include requirements and information on benefits in employee’s handbook and company’s intranet
– Arrange bi-weekly meetings to set KPIs, setting of timelines, and updating of work activities
– Hold monthly work performance evaluation/feedback sessions especially during the first 6 months
As some contract workers may feel detached or less committed to the company, it is important to keep the lines of communication open, ensuring that any issues or concerns that arise can be taken care of quickly. This way, both the employer and employee will be in complete accord on the things expected of them, removing the chances of unhappiness or conflict arising.
An effective and non-costly way to reward contract employees for their efforts would be recognition. One common worry about these workers is that they are not invested enough in the company. Showing appreciation for the things that they have achieved goes a long way towards making temporary employees feel valued. Recognition can come in the form of sending an email to staff of the company to acknowledge and notify others of the employee’s good work. While some managers commend on the performance of workers during weekly team meetings. Such practices serve as a form of encouragement for employees to keep up their good work and strive harder.
A common mistake made by most organisations is to invest lesser in contract employees as they are only working in the company for a stipulated amount of time. It takes a forward-looking and sharp-witted manager to understand that treating contract employees equally and fairly could bring about more benefits than one would expect.
In the short run, contract employees who feel a sense of belonging to the team and company would be more committed at work, and thereby, delivering better results.
While in the long run, these employees may leave good reviews on platforms such as Glassdoor, improving the company’s reputation, thereby increasing the chances of attracting more qualified workers. This is just one of the various spill off effects of being exceedingly inclusive to contract employees.
Companies should avoid falling into the trap of making the working relationship purely transactional. Subtle status differentiators that would make the contract employees feel smaller and lesser than permanent staff should be avoided. For instance, all employees should be given equal access to the company’s facilities and should be invited to important meetings. Even small details such as adding them to the team’s email list and having the same colour for the ID batches play a significant part too. Inculcating a sense of belonging amongst temporary staff requires effort, but it would definitely be a worthy investment and brings about exponential positive effects.
Organising company outings and team-building events for all create the chance for the permanent and contract employees to mingle and build rapport. Having more interactions would help to keep these temporary workers informed of the company’s culture and acquaint them with office processes and policies. When these employees are able to integrate and adapt to their working environment more effectively, there will be lesser downtime, translating to better work performance.
It is crucial for companies’ management to first recognise the importance of managing contract employees, instead of having the mindset that there is no need to invest any efforts in these workers. Next, organisations should identify and follow positive workforce management tenets for all employees including temporary workers, as you never know when a contract employee might become a prime candidate for an important full-time role – increasing the chance of hiring good talents without having to spend much on recruitment. As experts say, happy employees are more productive and produce exceptional results.
We understand that having to manage regular employees is already hard work. Drawing more resources for temporary staff may be even more challenging and hard to justify to your management who does not see the benefits of doing so. Work with EPS Consultants, to lessen the burden as our experts will manage your contract employees for you.
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