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How Should We Treat Our Contingent Workforce?

We are an apparel maker that uses contingent workers for a variety of high-level tasks, such as designers and engineering. Is it important for us to engage them like our paid staff, and if so, why and how do we do it? 

—Laboring to Make the Connection, generalist, manufacturer, Memphis, Tennessee

December 4, 2013
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Related Topics: Performance Management, Employee Orientation, Contractors, Temporary Staffing, Contingent Staffing, Employee Engagement, Strategic Planning, Workforce Planning, The Latest, Dear Workforce
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Dear Laboring:

This may be easier than your realize. I’ve outlined four suggestions you should consider to engage your contingent workforce.

  1. Communication.Don’t treat them like outsiders. Communicate in ways that enable contractors as business partners, on par with your direct employees. This starts with changing your semantics, using “us” or “we” vs. “them” or “you guys.” This helps remove barriers and engages your contingent staff.
  2. Decision-Making.Don’t stop at mere words. Whenever possible, include your contingent staff in key decision. You need to solicit their input and “buy-in” to as part of your engagement effort (just as you do with your direct staff).
  3. Incentives.Create incentive systems tailored to contingent workers. This could include bonuses for on-time delivery, early delivery, quality of the work produced or customer feedback scores.
  4. Be Social.Include them in social events like company holiday parties and off-site, after-work events.

SOURCE: Thuy Sindell, founder and president, coaching division. Skyline Group, Woodside, California, Nov. 22, 2013

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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