5 Tips for Managing Your Contract Workforce

The nature and needs of a contract workforce often vary widely depending on the industry, or even within a particular sector. There are almost countless segments of independent contractors within the universe of contingent labor, and understanding their individual motivations and their relationship to your business are keys to getting the most out of their value. And that, in turn, will yield tips for managing your contract workforce. 

For example, an hourly worker stocking shelves at Kroger one shift a week likely has different expectations from that job than a hard-to-find IT specialist has from their position. Similarly, a company is likely to invest more time and resources in supporting and cultivating the latter worker over the former, particularly if the plan is to employ that IT specialist for 2-3 years on a contract basis and eventually try to convince them to take on a permanent role along the way.

Contractors make up an increasing percentage of the overall workforce (our PeopleCaddie research shows roughly 30 percent), which may be the highest recommendation of their worth to a company. But a smart and successful contingent labor strategy is just a start. Here are five tips for managing your contract workforce:

Tips for Managing your Contract Workforce

A Clear Onboarding Process

You already have an onboarding process in place for new staff employees. Building a separate onboarding plan for contractors from scratch is probably a waste of valuable infrastructure and can lead to unintended divisions between independent contractors and full-time staff.

Instead, use your existing staff onboarding process as a baseline for contractors and modulate from there. Who do contractors report to within each department? What is the process for filling contractor invoices at the end of the week? Are contingent laborers needed for only a certain number of hours per shift or week, bar none, or is the expectation that they may be asked to work additional hours depending on project demands? Answering these questions upfront can be critical to employee satisfaction and retention.

Set Clear Expectations

Direct and transparent communication should extend beyond onboarding and into day-to-day contractor engagements. Your initial efforts are important to establish trust and set boundaries, but setting clear expectations for contractors isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it task. It’s a process that requires management and leadership to continually consider and reevaluate workflows, operational needs and what is and isn’t landing for contingent laborers.

For contractors joining a team or department, it’s worth the effort to set up a time to meet their new teammates and outline everyone’s roles. It’s more difficult to adjust expectations than to set them a first time, so any changes may require additional explanation and reinforcement to be most effective. Which leads to …


There’s no magic spell to cast for contractors. Workers of all stripes prefer consistency and across-the-board expectations. The more often the goalposts are moved – or the rules are applied differently depending on the player – the more likely you wind up with a team plagued with bad chemistry.

Whenever you can expose all workers to the same (or very similar) onboarding process and whichever mechanisms your company uses to cultivate culture, all workers – including contractors – are more likely to feel part of the team and be motivated to work toward your business goals. To the best of your ability, make sure no one feels left out or singled out.

Retention Strategy

Much like your onboarding process, don’t try to reinvent the wheel here. Working from your traditional retention strategy, using dedicated resources, expand the plan to include contract workers. Apply the same competencies to an additional audience and, where necessary, adjust language or adapt to suit workers’ contingent labor status. Again, create consistent (or at least fair) expectations for all workers, and then clearly explain why on the occasions when they diverge for contractors.

Creating Opportunities

Some contractors are content punching the clock and keeping it moving, but many want more. That may include anything from a full-time position to company perks to building certain relationships or earning training opportunities that can launch forward a career.

No matter what you offer your contract laborers, and no matter how you handle your onboarding, retention and other strategies as they relate to contingent labor, understand your intention. If the idea is to keep your contractors, convert the best of them to full-time employees and maintain a vibrant workforce, take care to ensure everyone feels they’re a valued part of the team.

PeopleCaddie can help you manage your contractor workforce, facilitating everything from sourcing and hiring to onboarding and administration. Find out more about our platform here.

For more tips on managing your contract workforce, visit the PeopleCaddie blog.

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What to Consider When Switching to a Contract Job Right Now

Employment numbers are at stratospheric highs and gas prices are plummeting, yet the U.S. economy appears to be on some of its shakiest ground since the pandemic began. It’s hard to know what to make of these topsy-turvy times, and impossible to predict the future. But a recent proclamation from the Federal Reserve suggests that, in an effort to spare Americans “far greater pain,” there may be no getting around all of us feeling a sting of some sort. And this volatile economy impacts contractors, in particular. If you are wondering if you should start contract work right now, we have a few things to keep in mind. 

As expected inflation hikes continue and already costly goods and materials become more expensive, the trickle-down effect figures to force staffing cutbacks across industries. In the end, the Fed’s maneuverings may bring the economy back into balance, but there will be fallout for many workers in the meantime. Is a staff position a better choice than an independent contractor role? How should workers navigate the months to come? Start answering those and other pressing questions by first tackling these considerations:

Should You Start Contract Work? What to Keep in Mind

Be prepared.

You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to make short-term preparations that account for the unexpected. And although we can’t know when the economy will stabilize again, we can be pretty confident it won’t happen tomorrow. Batten down the hatches for the gathering storm by thinking hard about what you want out of the next few years, laying out an appropriate near-term career plan and then building in a boatload of contingencies based on whichever way the winds may turn.

An advantage you can count on: Even in lean times, companies need talent. That painpoint can help blunt the ways a volatile economy impacts contractors. They may downsize and overcorrect, or they may be overly cautious in staffing up when it’s truly needed. Contractors often bridge the gap, which is an opportunity for those thinking ahead. If you’re a freelancer who isn’t already part of a talent cloud – or even if you’re a full-timer with anything less than rock-solid job security – consider signing up with PeopleCaddie to be discovered by thousands of employers looking for the skills you have to offer.

You are a business of one.

Even as a PeopleCaddie contractor working for one of our partner clients, you’d do well to think of yourself as your own business. You are a consultant or a vendor offering your services, so you should evaluate all the things other businesses have to consider: marketing, outreach, profit margins.

When was the last time you updated your resume or portfolio? You can add them both to the PeopleCaddie platform and allow our partner clients to find you via our search algorithm. Seek out jobs by category, location and more. Set your rates and bid only on the jobs that meet your salary requirements. In a less favorable job economy, perhaps you adjust those rates – or, better yet, find skill-building or educational opportunities that drive the value of your services into your desired salary range.

Risk vs. reward.

Is now the time to make the leap from staff to contract worker? Or, if you’re already a contractor, should you be looking for a full-time position before the other shoe drops? You should always be weighing these considerations, mostly based on your current needs and preferences – schedule flexibility, autonomy, lifestyle considerations (child care, health condition, etc.).

But consider this: A permanent job isn’t a suit of armor that protects against staff restructuring, and nor does contract work necessarily put a target on your back when cuts are being made. The “danger” of independent contracting during dicey economic moments such as these is relative – the perceived risk has always been greater than the actual risk. The rewards, meanwhile, can range from financial to personal, while expanding the pool of hiring opportunities for a job seeker.

Looking to shift from full-time to contract work? Check out PeopleCaddie’s blog for advice and information on the contingent labor space.

sgruenWhat to Consider When Switching to a Contract Job Right Now

Ways the Inflation Reduction Act Affects the Job Economy

The Inflation Reduction Act recently signed into law by President Biden is expected to create 9 million jobs over the next decade, primarily in the clean energy sector. That is, by all accounts, a positive development for the job economy. But it also presents some logistical challenges that will ripple across industries and keep businesses occupied creating solutions for the foreseeable future.

The Blue Green Alliance prepared a breakdown of the different jobs expected to be created by the Inflation Reduction Act, outlining the sectors where they’ll be added – including clean energy, clean manufacturing, clean transportation, efficient buildings, environmental justice and natural infrastructure. The upshot: The largest piece of legislation to date aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change holds the promise of more fulfilling jobs, greater skill development and higher pay for those employed in these sectors. But let’s first consider what it means to the companies tasked with hiring for all those jobs.

Impact on Employers

The first thing hiring organizations should know is that jobs created by the Inflation Reduction Act will be rolled out over the next decade. In other words, employers won’t wake up tomorrow to find themselves competing for talent in a job economy blown wide open by 9 million new positions.

However, concerns that the labor pool is thinning are valid: Baby Boomers are already retiring, and many more will reach retirement age soon – a significant knowledge and expertise drain as a generation with enormous numbers exits the workforce. According to CNBC, about 4 million baby boomers are retiring each year. Subsequent generations don’t have the same sheer numbers to meet the demands of newly vacant positions, let alone fill those that this legislation eventually will create. Employees who move into these new jobs will also leave vacancies elsewhere. And because international work visas have been reduced in recent years, fewer employees from abroad are available to help buoy the job economy and ease the transition.

A shallow labor pool puts a strain on the hiring apparatus of many companies, but employers aren’t completely out of options. One of their most flexible and efficient alternatives: independent contractors.

Good for Employees

For Generation Z, the verdict is in: acceptable terms of employment no longer begin and end at a competitive salary and good benefits. Many Zoomers crave the flexibility and variety they find in contract work. Gen Z, currently the youngest generation engaged in the professional labor market, also have made a priority of landing fulfilling jobs in industries that engage their passions. A top choice: climate change.

In the coming years, the Inflation Reduction Act will help create millions of positions in the climate change field – and not only for engineers and installers, but for accountants, auditors, and many other industry-adjacent workers. Growth and advancement opportunities will abound. And because highly-skilled contractors tend to place more value on work-life balance than past generations, the chance to contract for businesses in this space – maybe for a few hours a day, or for only six months at a time – figure to be wholeheartedly welcomed by a wave of workers due to spend the next 30-40 years in the workforce. That’s a boon not only for employees, but also for employers.

As organizations related to climate change siphon off workers from other industries in the years ahead, many businesses will need to stay nimble to fill the void left behind. PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud has the power to make quick, rewarding connections – whether you’re a contractor seeking work or an employer seeking workers.

Looking for contract work? Check out the jobs available in PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud.

sgruenWays the Inflation Reduction Act Affects the Job Economy

Should You Hire Based on Skills or Experience?

With another half million jobs added to the U.S. employment rolls in July, and amid a dearth of applicants for jobs, hiring managers are changing the way they recruit talent. Traditionally, they have pored over resumes, checking them for qualifying education and experience. Today, however, artificial intelligence-based application reviewers, combined with applicant testing that can confirm whether a candidate has the skills for a particular job, are causing hiring managers to look at the process in a different light. It all begs the question: should you hire based on skills or experience?

When Skills Stand Out

Hiring managers often find they need to fill a position quickly, and with the advent of AI-based recruitment, they can now turn to skills-based assessments to determine if an applicant is right for a position. Sixteen percent of companies have even dropped degree requirements for jobs, looking instead to candidates who have completed skills “boot camps,” or self-study programs.

For example, a hiring manager is trying to fill a coding position. One applicant’s resume lists two years of experience coding in a language similar to the employer’s desired language. The applicant has worked on similar projects, so it can be assumed that they’re capable of working within a team environment. A second candidate has completed a boot camp specific to the desired language, but has no experience. Today’s hiring manager may take a second look at the coder who has taken the initiative to learn on their own time and can demonstrate knowledge of the language, knowing that it’s easier and less time-consuming to train an employee how to work as part of a team than it is to build their technical proficiencies.

Evaluating ‘Soft Skills’

Skills-based assessments aren’t just being used for professional jobs, such as programming and accounting positions. They are also being used to evaluate so-called “soft skills” for positions in customer service, retail and hospitality. Candidates are asked to take assessments that present hypothetical customer service scenarios that help evaluate an applicant’s ability to work under pressure and provide excellent customer service.

Other soft skills that companies want to evaluate include communication, project management and time management. Hiring websites like offer assessments for these skills, and applicants can complete these assessments in addition to submitting a resume for consideration. Hiring Managers can also ask behavioral interview questions during the hiring process to get assess the soft skills needed for the position they’re hiring for.

The PeopleCaddie Difference

Whichever way you lean when evaluating a candidate for a particular role – determining whether you should hire based on skills or experience – PeopleCaddie can help. Each candidate in our PeopleCaddie independent contractor network is vetted by a human, not just a machine. Candidates’ project experience and skills are evaluated by experienced hiring managers and can be explained in nuanced detail to any interested employer. Candidates are also reviewed by engagement: Those companies that have employed contractors through PeopleCaddie can rate and leave feedback on their skills and the employers’ experience with them.

In an employment economy that continues to be a job seeker’s market, hiring managers may find it necessary to bend or reconsider their traditional hiring criteria. And whereas employers once found certain degrees and experience levels to be essential, bare-minimum qualifications for a job candidate, a single skills class may, in some cases, elevate a less educated and experienced applicant over others in the eyes of a hiring manager.

PeopleCaddie is attracting the next generation of employees to its talent cloud. Find out how we can help you hire highly-skilled contractors for your open roles.

sgruenShould You Hire Based on Skills or Experience?

Navigating Workforce Challenges Post-Pandemic: Why Contractors Are The Answer

In most parts of the country, we’re dealing with heat waves and the back-to-school hustle. Who’s thinking about winter? If they know what’s good for them, it’s corporate leaders and hiring managers. In March 2020, as business and commerce ground to a halt due to the Covid pandemic, companies were forced to quickly implement work-from-home programs, restructure communications and make other adjustments to keep employees and the public safe. They also learned soon enough that certain changes to the workforce may be required, and contingencies built in to account for future restructuring, should it be needed. It provided a framework for dealing with public health challenges.

Winter will force us indoors and closer together, and ultimately create viral conditions we can’t ignore. While companies are identifying workforce challenges post-pandemic, they can’t ignore the fast-spreading BA.4 and BA.5 Covid variants and the newly declared public health emergency of monkeypox. Companies may again have to confront the task of adapting and reorganizing a workforce on the fly. But this time they’ll know what’s in store.

What’s Coming This Winter?

In addition to Covid and monkeypox, flu season is nearly upon us and is among the public health challenges that companies may have to overcome. Health experts are looking to Australia to determine how severe the U.S. flu season will be – and the news is not good. The current flu season in Australia is its worst in five years, with children being hit the hardest.

We can assume that a percentage of American employees will come down with a flu virus that sends them home and removes them from a company’s operations for at least a short time. But more may be forced to stay home with sick children, or perhaps elderly relatives in their care. And when combined with other viral threats, and given the effects of long-tail Covid, the flu could leave some companies short-handed for long enough to make a contingency plan a must-have going into the winter.

Creating a Plan for Workforce Challenges

While committing to prevention measures, such as having employees stay home when they or a family member contracts a virus, companies must also keep the trains running on time, so to speak. A flexible workforce will be key to ensuring that projects stay on track and the needs of clients are met.

Example: Let’s say an employee tests positive for Covid but is asymptomatic. That worker can work from home until they’ve tested negative for the virus and can return to the office. In this same vein, parents who are Covid-negative but need to stay home to care for family may still be able to work, given that the infrastructure is there for most companies to accommodate work-from-home options.

Additionally, a hybrid work schedule might help slow the spread of these viruses within companies, reducing the time that employees spend face-to-face and allowing staff to spread out physically while sharing time in the office.

How Contractors Can Help

There will be times when employees are not only unable to come into the office but are also too sick to work. In these situations, it might be necessary to pull in a contractor or freelancer to take over for the sick employee. For instance, a CPA tests positive for Covid and is symptomatic. Even after testing negative for the virus, this employee might need to continue to recover at home, either because their symptoms are severe or they’re suffering from long-tail Covid. Public health challenges are very dynamic. 

This is where PeopleCaddie shines. Employers can access the PeopleCaddie talent cloud and select independent contractors to fill in for staff employees who are out of the office. Managers will know they are selecting from vetted contractors, and they may be able to select contractors that have worked with the company in the past. Some companies will even want to bring one or more freelancers on board in advance of the winter as a sort of insurance policy, onboarding and training contractors to gain experience and work on a limited basis until (and only if) there is a need to ramp up their hours to backfill while other workers are out.

Like it or not, winter is coming – and with it we can expect more cases of Covid, monkeypox and the flu. Companies that prepare now, putting the necessary contingencies in place, will be in the best shape as these challenges arrive.

Contractors are the next generation of employees. See how PeopleCaddie is attracting them to its talent cloud.

sgruenNavigating Workforce Challenges Post-Pandemic: Why Contractors Are The Answer

Resume Red Flags to Reconsider When Hiring

The labor market remains tight, which puts the onus on employers to review more candidates and perhaps open their minds to new possibilities – including former resume red flags or blemishes in a different light. Accordingly, examining resume blemishes has taken on new meaning.  

Whether it’s a prospect who bowed out of the job market to care for his children during the pandemic or an applicant who was let go under odd circumstances from a previous job, these resume blips may contain just-below-the-surface context that renders them moot. Being open to diverse applicants and digging into these circumstances during the hiring process can unearth quality candidates whose potential may not be expounded on their resumes.

In addition to recognizing the signs of false resume red flags, employers can use PeopleCaddie to help vet applicants prior to hiring, opening the talent pool to even more candidates.

Resume Red Flags That Shouldn’t Stop You From Interviewing a Candidate

Job Discontinuities

It’s August 2022, and a mid-career worker is attempting to reenter the workforce. She has spent the past 18 months caring for her father, who has been slow to recover from long-tail Covid. Her resume shows this stretch only as a gap in her employment history. But this gap had nothing to do with her job performance or employer’s satisfaction with her work.

In a post-Covid world – especially one with the limitations of a tight labor market – job discontinuities shouldn’t be immediately disqualifying for a prospect. A closer look at certain candidates with seemingly suspect work histories might reveal character that can rarely be identified on a resume or in a job interview. Examining resume red flags and asking for explanations regarding job discontinues could ensure good candidates aren’t lost based on inaccurate assumptions. 

Non-Traditional Employment History

Traditionally, hiring managers target applicants with recent references, while also looking for any evidence or indication that a candidate was let go by a previous employer. They might also keep an eye out for applicants who had been demoted, or for other perceived red flags – brief stints with employers or step-down moves. These are strategies that, in the past, may have been part of a reasonable early-stage culling process in a candidate search.

But as more of the talent pool turns to independent contracting, and as many workers reprioritize their work-life balance, these “blips” aren’t – or shouldn’t be – the disqualifiers they once were. Contracts are often meant to be temporary and short-term, and some applicants may balance contracts with other responsibilities, demonstrating a tireless work ethic. An employer may do their company a disservice by failing to fully clarify these details.

PeopleCaddie Vets Applicants 

With PeopleCaddie, our clients benefit from insights that can make or break their candidate search. Contractors in our network have been through a face-to-face interview in order to better understand their qualifications and work history, and every applicant who is put in front of a PeopleCaddie client has undergone a criminal background check. If a candidate has worked for other companies in our network, their profile may feature reviews that offer hiring managers additional information about a worker’s character and performance.

With unemployment still low and companies facing a dearth of top-quality talent, a deeper dive into resume blips, or discontinuities, should be part of the process of investigating any worthy independent contractor. At the least, a conversation around context – a step that PeopleCaddie takes for its clients – can help a company avoid the mistake of overlooking or writing off an excellent job candidate.

PeopleCaddie can help hiring managers examine resume blemishes. Find out how by clicking here.

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Pitfalls of Contract Work and How to Avoid Them

Freelancing is often sold as a dream job. “Be your own boss!”Set your own hours!” Although those elements are certainly part of the package, the reality is that there is a downside to independent contracting. Some of these hazards are avoidable, some are less so. But being prepared offers a freelancer the chance to live their best life. Here’s how to identify and, when possible, avoid the pitfalls of contract work.

When Demand Dries Up

In most situations, an agreement between contractors and employers will outline the expected duration for any given assignment. Occasionally, this information isn’t available, and often circumstances can change. Example: For event-related freelancers such as graphic artists, event coordinators and performers, 2020 proved to be a black hole due to the pandemic. Most of these contractors expected to earn a certain level of income throughout the year, but when on-site events disappeared, so did their work. Circumstances changed.

In a less dramatic example, an accounting contractor who expects 40 hours a week from a client may suddenly learn they’re needed for only 10. How do they adjust to this new reality? While these scenarios are sometimes unavoidable, it helps to secure work well in advance and include scenarios such as these in contracts so they are accounted for when planning bills and finances.

When the Cup Runneth Over

When trying to plan finances around freelance work, some contractors have a tendency to overcommit. Avoid putting yourself in the position of stretching your bandwidth to the breaking point – particularly if it means doing so to keep up with a lifestyle beyond essential expenses.

No judgment – we all like nice things! – but a freelancer risks a lot more than a few luxury items if they come up short on a project. Failing to deliver, or late delivery, can be a reputation-killer. It could cost you future work with that client and may even end up in non-payment, depending on the severity of the situation. Take care to commit to only the amount of work that can be reliably delivered on time and at a high level of quality.

When the Taxman Comes Around

When receiving money as a 1099 contractor or freelancer, it’s important to set aside money for the IRS and to educate yourself on tax laws and procedures. This will help avoid being stuck with a huge tax bill (plus penalties) come April 15. Paying expected taxes quarterly and putting away 25-30 percent of earned income will help prevent an unwelcome surprise at tax time. It’s also advisable to consistently track business expenses and keep documentation. Hiring a CPA can help.

When Payment Is a Problem

Freelancing comes with some risk, depending on the clients a contractor does business with. Sometimes payment arrives late and the worker must make a choice: continue working and wait for payment or cease working. Although it’s tempting to keep working to avoid losing the contract, the client has breached the freelancer agreement. Hauling the client into court shouldn’t be your first instinct, but it’s important to hold them accountable and steer clear of clients who are late or absent on payday. Chances are, it won’t be the last time.

Freelancing can be a dream job, but it’s important to watch out and prepare for the potential pitfalls of contract work. PeopleCaddie can help by making it simple to find work, structure agreements, get paid consistently and on time, and take care of taxes and insurance, allowing independent contractors to sidestep some of their toughest challenges right out of the gate.

PeopleCaddie can help you navigate the pitfalls of contract work. Contact us to find out how.

sgruenPitfalls of Contract Work and How to Avoid Them

The Gig Economy Has Entered a Mini-Boom – Will it Last Post-COVID?

Like many of you, we have been monitoring the US Labor Statistics closely and remain hopeful that our unemployment numbers continue their downward trajectory.  We’ve seen unprecedented market volatility as vaccine news, employment data, corporate earnings, and Fed commentary influence the major indices.  While we hope there isn’t a retest of the lows, most experts agree the numbers will remain well above pre-pandemic levels into next year even with the various stimulus programs and reopenings.  

While it is easy to fall prey to the bearish headlines, it’s important to note some positive developments for both employers and employees.  

For Employers:

Employees shifting to remote working certainly isn’t a new trend, but it was amplified seemingly overnight when quarantines were announced across the globe.  

The increase in contract hiring should continue as employers look to reduce risk in the event of another downturn. Using contractors also allows these employers to be more nimble in hiring, as the talent can often be identified and deployed much quicker than with a traditional full-time hire search.  The speed of deployment often results in a reduction in SG&A spend and provides a predictable cost model based on the hours budgeted for the resource.

The ability to right-size the workforce during both predictable and unpredictable environments allows for cost savings and yields better results. This has been a common practice for professional service firms and consultancies to avoid costly dips in full-time utilization.

Geographic barriers have been virtually eliminated as employers that have been forced into operating remotely – some with no plans on returning to the physical office space – are seeing the same if not higher productivity in their workforce.  

For Employees/Seekers:

Job seekers previously turned off by a daunting commute can broaden their search for a company that may align better with their current/future goals.  In theory, this should result in a more satisfied– and more productive – employee.

While this may have been easy to predict, we are continuously seeing how the technology and healthcare sector have shown their resiliency through this pandemic.  Tech’s propulsion comes as companies look toward further automation and enhanced security for the remote workforce. The so-called “work-from-home” stocks are also heavily made up of tech workers as these companies adapt to the changing consumer.  

While the boom in healthcare is most visibly seen in the hiring of frontline workers and pharma companies racing toward a vaccine, there is also demand for resources to support the myriad  applications needed for telehealth services.

We welcome your thoughts as to how you and your organization have shifted your hiring strategies amid this pandemic.

Throughout history we have witnessed thousands of innovative ideas and products born in crisis. PeopleCaddie will continue to monitor hiring trends during this period of uncertainty with the help of our esteemed partners.

About PeopleCaddie

PeopleCaddie operates a rapidly growing contingent labor marketplace for highly-skilled, independent business professionals who enjoy the excitement and flexibility associated with being a part of the gig economy.

pcadminThe Gig Economy Has Entered a Mini-Boom – Will it Last Post-COVID?