Talent management for on-demand (temporary, contract and contingent) staff

Talent management for on-demand (temporary, contract and contingent) staff

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We’re becoming an on-demand people. From on-demand streaming services to training, resources and even services, we’re accustomed to having our needs met here and now.

Is it really a surprise then that employers are shifting towards on-demand headcounts?

Every year in our annual Hays Salary Guide, we ask employers about their use of temporary staff. Year after year, our survey confirms that around two in three employers use temporary or contract staff for various reasons, including special projects, peak workloads or to cover permanent staff during times of extended leave.

The ability to access highly-skilled professionals on-demand and as needed for a defined period of time, whether on a temporary, contract or contingent basis, also allows organisations to meet the myriad of changing requirements faced and respond quickly to outside trends or circumstances.

Over time, employers have become more sophisticated in their recruitment and management of this segment of their workforce, with the majority having clear visibility of the size and location of temporary workers.

However, one area where employers are falling short is the level of engagement of their non-ongoing workforce. Engaging and motivating your temporary or contract workers so that they produce the highest-quality work makes sense and there are some simple steps you can take to improve the engagement of your non-ongoing workforce.

Here at Hays, we’ve been recruiting temporary, contract and contingent staff for over 40 years. Based on this experience we suggest employers:

Be open:

As organisations take their cue to focus on growth, many want to build better, more productive relationships with their employees – which increasingly includes non-permanent staff working on projects or filling other short-term needs. Therefore, be open at all times with your temporary staff. Include them on organisational updates, invite them to join team meetings and keep them fully informed of developments. Provide them with access to the communication channels your permanent employees use and make sure you invite them along to any team social events or celebrations.

Give non-ongoing staff a voice:

Crucially, make sure communication flows both ways by encouraging your temporary and contract staff to make suggestions, share information or come to you with any issues or concerns. Access to your organisation’s internal social network or involvement in team meetings gives non-ongoing staff the opportunity to connect, share ideas and tap into the expertise of others. You should also let your temporary, contract or contingent staff know that your door is always open if they want to talk to you at any time.

Integrate non-ongoing staff:

Temporary workers who will be in your department or organisation for more than two to three weeks should be integrated into your team. This includes understanding your organisation’s culture and way of working, relevant processes and procedures and who to reach out to if they have questions. This will help them avoid feeling like they are a square peg in a round hole. You may even like to offer a basic induction program so they understand more fully what is expected of them and have the information required to complete their assignment quickly and competently. Don’t forget to ensure they have access to all the resources required to do their job – including logins for their first day.

Provide training:

Part of this induction program can involve organisational and systems training, particularly if you use systems that are not common in your industry. Your temporary or contractor will have fewer questions and be more productive thanks to this investment. In the process, you’ll convey that their contribution is valued.

Make others aware of their role:
Make sure that everyone in the team is aware of the objectives or tasks the temporary, contract or contingent worker is there to achieve. Talk to your permanent workforce about how they can help a temporary team member throughout their assignment and make them feel welcomed. This will reduce the risk of your temporary worker feeling like an outsider.

Discuss performance:

Provide performance feedback regularly to get the most out of your temporary, contract or contingent worker and build a more productive relationship. After all, these workers are highly ambitious and often crave feedback, so challenge them, set realistic targets and create a regular opportunity to provide feedback. Their assignment may have an end date, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep them on target and accountable while they are with you.

Say thank you:

Tracking performance in this way also allows you to highlight a job well done. A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way in terms of temporary and contractor worker engagement. It also helps them see how their successes add value to the organisation, which can boost their levels of motivation.

Gain visibility and control:

Some employers struggle with visibility of the size and location of their temporary, contract or contingent workforce. There are various ways to gain back visibility and control, such as a Managed Service Provision or MSP, which is managed by an external provider and captures, manages and tracks all requests, vendors, workers, timesheets and spend. In turn, this offers an enterprise level view of all activity, allowing processes to be standardised, best practices introduced and policies enforced.

By following these steps, your temporary or contract workers will feel more comfortable, motivated and engaged, which in turn will increase their levels of productivity, output and performance. No one likes being left to complete an assignment without the knowledge, resources or support to do so to the best of their ability. So, don’t let the short-term nature of their assignment stop you from doing everything you can to engage your next temporary, contract or contingent worker.


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