Today, most organizations rely on dynamic workforces comprising salaried employees working alongside contract, freelance, and gig workers. In fact, according to a survey from the Brandon Hall Group, 90 percent of organizations use contingent labor.
The rising number of contingent workers is changing the game when it comes to employee performance management, but few leaders have effective processes in place to supervise contingent workers. That needs to change fast — or else businesses won’t be able to leverage their contingent workforces to their full advantage.
Here are five tips to help you better manage contingent workers at your company:
1. Know the Value of a Contingent Worker
Employers should consider the specific value of contingent workers and why it might be a good idea to hire contract workers over salaried employees.
In the Brandon Hall Group survey, almost 75 percent of respondents said their contingent workforce was “effective” or “very effective.” Contingent workers bring to the table a wide range of experiences from various industries, which puts them in a prime position to offer fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. This flexible talent could also be leveraged to create an agile workforce that responds quickly to business demands. Finally, tapping contingent labor pools makes it easier for organizations to acquire much-needed but hard-to-find skills in today’s talent market.
2. Create Policies and Processes Specifically for Contingent Workers
Once you know where your business could benefit from contingent labor, you’ll need to put in place hiring processes, management structures, and any other policies you might need to ensure these workers perform at their best. You can use processes you already have in place for salaried workers, provided they are modified to fit the contingent workers’ needs.
3. Utilize Technology to Make Management Easier
The right technology can be instrumental in effectively managing a contingent workforce. Management teams should be using modern tools to hire, onboard, and track the performance of contingent workers.
Resume scanning software and chatbots can help you zero in on the best talent, while video interview software allows you to tap into talent pools around the world. Online training and digital document software can make onboarding new contingent workers simple and fast. This software also allows contingent workers to access important company information whenever they might need it.
4. Consolidate Internal and External Assignments
Project managers are expected to oversee all aspects of a specific project. These leaders need clear visibility into relevant projects so they can easily see what’s moving along and where interventions are required. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to have that visibility when contingent workers are located far from the office.
Assignment details are often emailed back and forth, which can be hard to keep track of. Information can slip through the cracks or get caught in a spam filter. Some organizations use spreadsheets to track important details, but these are less-than-ideal solutions.
Project managers should consider consolidating assignments for both internal and external team members in a centralized hub. Project management tools like Asana or Wrike can help project managers achieve this level of organization and control.
5. Keep Access Secure
When a contingent worker comes on board, they’ll likely need access to certain internal resources. However, many of these workers only stay for the length of one project. Organizations must find ways to manage internal resources so that workers can access them when needed — but only when permissible.
Cloud-based storage solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, and others are one option for storing and sharing important documents. You could also set up a shared drive on your internal server and permit contractors to access only that folder. Assign the task of policing access privileges to responsible employees to make sure these assets stay secure, especially once a contingent worker has parted ways with the company.
In a Deloitte survey of business leaders and chief human resources officers, 37 percent of respondents predicted that the number of contractors in their workforces would rise by 2020. Thirty-three percent of respondents said the same about freelancers, and 28 percent said the same about gig workers.
It is clear the contingent workforce is growing at a rapid pace. Organizations that want to thrive in the coming years should put proper contingent workforce management procedures in place now.
A version of this article originally appeared on the ClearCompany blog.
Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.