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Seven Tips for Working with Contingent Workers

You can have the best, brightest and most flexible workforce if you consider these suggestions for working with contingents. These tips will help you become a “nonemployer of choice.”

August 3, 2012

You can have the best, brightest and most flexible workforce if you consider these suggestions for working with contingents. These tips, gleaned from contingent workers themselves and human resources experts, will help you become a "nonemployer of choice."

For more of Workforce's comprehensive coverage of the "arms-length embrace" that's needed today between companies and their contingent workers, click here.

  • Focus on individual talents: Contingent workers appreciate when client organizations recognize their strengths and passions. Assigning work that plays to those helps both parties.
  • Offer feedback: Independent workers and temps thirst for comments and criticism. Evaluations from companies—when mindful of misclassification risks—helps free agents hone their skills.
  • Invite them to events: Inviting temps and contractors to parties and outings shows appreciation and provides crucial networking opportunities for free agents. The payoff to companies is better esprit de corp for the overall team, and better odds that contingents will go the extra mile in their assignments.
  • See the strategic value: Contingents with narrow tasks may have smart suggestions for the organization overall, and long-term contractors like being asked about strategy—especially if they're paid for their time.
  • Respect their time: Many contractors maintain a complex schedule to maximize their efficiency. You will lose favor by being late to phone appointments and tardy in delivering assignments.
  • Set clear expectations: Vague or sloppily written objectives are frustrating and time-consuming for contingents because they may require numerous follow-up exchanges.
  • Show them the money: Don't nickel and dime people who could be your partners. And make paying on time a priority.

Ed Frauenheim is Workforce Management's senior editor. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.