Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
We all know recruiting is tough right now. While organizations are trying to hire the best talent, the work still needs to get done.
That’s why it’s good for organizations to remember that hiring freelancers / contractors / consultants (sometimes called contingent workers) should be a part of your recruiting strategy. There are several reasons that this makes good business sense. Contingent workers can:
- Sometimes become regular employees. And vice versa, a regular employee might transition to contingent worker, allowing the organization to keep that knowledge and experience.
- Help the organization flex when they need to. Instead of hiring an employee and cutting hours when things get slow, it could make sense to have contingent workers to call in when the operation gets busy.
- Provide specialized expertise in areas where the organizations doesn’t currently have the talent. Or cannot afford to have that talent on a full-time basis.
- Focus on a project in a way that a regular employee might not be able. The example that I remember is “Can I write an employee handbook? Yes. Do I have time to write an employee handbook? Not as much as an experienced consultant might have.”
But there are a few things that organizations need to keep in mind when they use contingent workers as part of their recruiting strategy.
Create a vendor onboarding process. If you already have one, great! Make sure it fits your needs. If you don’t, then pull a team together to create one. Discuss what paperwork contingent workers need to complete including non-disclosure and confidentiality forms. Are there any training programs you would like them to attend such as anti-harassment?
Recruiting and supply chain need to work together to bring contingent workers into the organization. Often the decision to hire a consultant is based on cost, not skills. There could be processes and guidelines that need to be created or revised to make bringing in a contingent worker easier on a regular basis.
Recruiters and operational managers need to know how to hire contingent workers based on skills. The company will want to meet with someone before entering into an agreement with them. This isn’t a traditional interview. Recruiters and operational managers will need to be prepared to talk about the scope of work but also the vendor onboarding process.
Spend time discussing how to manage a consultant effectively and legally. Contingent workers are not employees, and they cannot be managed like an employee. That doesn’t mean managers can’t check in, ask questions, and ask for updates.
Talk about engagement between assignments. If the organization wants a contingent worker to respond quickly to their calls and emails, they need to keep the person engaged. That doesn’t mean daily conversation, but it does mean finding ways to stay top of mind.
Contingent workers can be a great addition to the organization’s talent strategy. They can provide high level performance when it is needed most. This could involve an organizational shift in focus. But it definitely means spending time to develop and communicate a strategy.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Las Vegas, NV14