by Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive at HRM Recruitment
An entirely new generation of professionals are choosing to work in contract and interim roles at much greater levels than ever before. Drawn by the flexibility to choose assignments, build additional experiences and to be at the centre of solutions, this agile talent pool now reaches into every function in your organisation. While contractors are generally hired around a specific purpose or term, few organisations really take the opportunity to maximise the return, that most are delighted to give. Here we set out 4 simple steps to help you maximise the value to your organisation of hiring contractor talent.
1. Pre-Contract Preparation
While contractors are paid a premium, when structured correctly, they can often work out less expensive than your permanent hires. Too often, organisations simply apply contractors as a band-aid solution to a specific challenge. However, planning for maximum value often releases benefits and gains from a contractor’s prior experience in a number of areas. Consider aligned projects that they can contribute to, even on a light touch basis. Review longer-term challenges and seek a skills or experience bias that might shine some light on solutions to these. Ask your contractor for objective appraisal of other aspects to your business, drawing on other environments in which they have provided contracting services. Take the added value wherever it is available.
2. Clear Milestones
Work with the contractor at the outset of the programme to identify milestones by which their progress can be assessed. This is second nature in IT contracting but not always common in other functional areas. Having a clear set of goals to work to is essential for any contractor, including those brought in to provide cover for an absent executive or specialist. Continually monitor the contractor’s progress and provide feedback throughout. This is particularly important in the early period so that they can adapt to your culture and the manner in how you want their objectives achieved.
We notice many firms skip formal induction for their contractor however, we encourage clients not to do this and to fully engage contractors in the process. Contractors need to integrate more quickly than permanent employees as they are expected to hit the ground running and need to read your organisation culture to do this. It is really important to keep talking with the contractor on this level throughout the contract period. Their assimilation into your firm directly impacts their delivery.
Communicate clearly to all relevant stakeholders, that the contractor is starting and what you expect to achieve as a consequence of this investment. Explain the resources that will be allocated, the key relationships that must be forged and the management line and accountability that will apply to the contractor. Every agile professional needs cooperation from current employees, usually more quickly than a new permanent hire might. So, breaking down barriers that can be created by assumption and absence of communication is essential.
It is impossible to ignore the strategic talent value of contractors as a flexible resource. Generating real value depends not just on the skills, attitude and application of the professional you hire but also on how you set the contracting relationship up for success