Planning for Contract Work: An Employer’s Guide

Because of the recent shakeup in the employment market and current uncertainty across areas of industry ranging from workforce to distribution to supply chain, many companies are feeling frozen when considering any business strategies that extend beyond the here and now. It’s because of that unpredictability, resource managmeent can be a challenge. However, employers should consider an initial tactic as a no-brainer moving forward: aggressively pursue and employ contractors. But it’s important to consider a strategy when planning for contract work.

Hiring freelancers, consultants and temp workers is nothing new for many companies. But today, more contractors are being used – and in a variety of ways, for a variety of reasons – by more businesses than perhaps ever before. Given the climate of volatility that industry finds itself in now, the interest in leveraging contract work is expected only to grow.

Knowing that to be the case, companies should begin immediately considering their approach to incorporating freelance and gig workers into their business model, especially in the near term. When looking to flex your team with professional contractors, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

What to Keep in Mind When Planning for Contractors

Make haste in hiring. Now is the time to reach out to and, ideally, bring aboard the best contractors. First, there are more of them to choose from than ever, with many former full-timers having opted to join the rapidly expanding gig economy since the pandemic. Additionally, those contractors who are in the highest demand figure to come off the market quickly. If you’re a hiring manager, you’ll want to establish relationships with those workers to not only meet today’s needs but also add them to your network to possibly assist on future projects. And if you know you’ll need those contractors soon, even if not at this precise moment, you may want to consider snapping them up now – while you still can. Seasoned professional contractors typically have their next gig lined up well in advance of their current gig ending.

Which contractors have clicked in the past? Think about the freelancers you’ve worked with in the past. Which helped bring you success? Which delivered the most impressive results? The more workers you’re able to bring back into the fold who have contracted with your company in the past, the lower your risks and onboarding costs. In some cases, those workers will be able to skip any learning curve altogether. A plug-and-play workforce is ideal.

Build and maintain an on-call contractor list. Some industries, such as accounting, are seasonal and follow relatively predictable rhythms. Some companies require highly specialized project work or need to address platforms outside the scope of their expertise (IT, for instance). And every company has full-time employees who go on maternity and paternity leave, or take unexpected leaves of absence. Stocking a digital rolodex full of capable contractors who may be available and interested to fill a temporary gap can save a business time and hassle.

Consider your preferred usage of contractors. Some businesses prefer a workforce stocked with full-timers, using freelancers only in a pinch. Some like to strike a balance in order to build in flexibility. Other companies aggressively hire contract workers in a sort of ongoing tryout to find potential staffers. A few take an all-of-the-above approach. But no matter your needs or inclinations, be sure to give plenty of thought to how your company expects to deploy contractors. You’ll wind up with better matches, happier employees and a more robust network of contract workers to tap into when needed.

PeopleCaddie can help your company outline a strategy for incorporating contractors. Reach out to us to learn more.

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