A Growing Need to Manage Contingent Labor Performance

By Sara Pollock

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The contingent workforce is changing the game when it comes to the way employee performance is managed. Today’s workforce has morphed into a dynamic ecosystem made up of salaried employees working alongside contract, freelance and gig workers.

As the alternative workforces grow, so does the need to manage it. However, only 16% of leaders strongly believe they have an effective performance management process to supervise contingent workers. With 90% of organizations surveyed using contingent labour, employers need to learn management techniques for these workers. Here are five tips on how to manage the contingent workforce.

Know the Value of a Contingent Worker

Roughly three-quarters of organizations say their contingent workforce is effective or very effective. More than 70% believe the use of contingent labour is strategic to specific business functions or to the business as a whole.

Employers should consider how they could benefit from contingent workers and why they might hire contract workers over salaried employees. Contingent workers bring a wide range of experiences from various industries to the table, which allows them to offer fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. Employers should explore how this flexible talent could be leveraged to achieve business goals, like creating an agile workforce that can respond quickly to business demands and has the much-needed skills hard to come by in today’s market, and find areas that could benefit from increased agility of contract workers.

Create Policies and Processes Just for Them

After determining where contingent workers would be beneficial in your business, figure out the hiring and managing processes, as well as any other policy you might need for these employees.

Having a clear plan for managing contingent workers, evaluating their performance and reporting on it, can be used to gain insights on what’s to come. A company can use processes they already have in place for salaried workers as long as they are modified to fit the companies’ and contingent workers’ needs. They also need onboarding and offboarding. Start by using your current processes for internal employees and optimize it for contingent employees. Having a workforce that’s cohesive starts with getting them on the same page.

Utilize Technology to Make Management Easier

Technology can be instrumental in effectively managing a contingent workforce. Management teams should be using modern tools to hire, onboard, collect data, monitor work and so much more.

HR departments can use resume scanning software or chatbots to make sure the best talent is being found. They can also use video conferencing software to interview applicants anywhere in the world. Onboarding a new employee is made easy with online training and document completion software. Providing online training resources helps speed up the onboarding process. This allows contingent workers access to information they need to know without having to waste someone else’s time on face-to-face training. It can be frustrating to spend time and effort training someone for them to leave shortly after.

The entire team should be involved in developing these training models; it will save everyone time in the end. This is the time they could be investing in optimizing performance instead of explaining things a short video clip can explain just as well.

Manage Internal and External Assignments

Project managers are expected to plan, budget, oversee and document all aspects of the specific project you are working on. This leader should easily be able to identify what projects are moving along and what projects are falling behind. This can be a difficult task when contingent workers are located in a different city, state or country.

Assignment details are often emailed back and forth, sometimes getting sent to spam, or without an important attachment. Some organizations try to stop this from happening by using task assignment tools or spreadsheets. However, this might not be enough. Many important tasks can be still be overlooked when employees don’t check these tools.

Consolidating assignments for both internal and external team members onto a centralized hub, instead of emailing details will give the project manager insight into what’s happening and when it’s happening. Project management tools like Asana or Wrike can help project managers achieve this level of organization and control. Using a project management tool allows managers to temporary give access can and allow external agencies access to assigned tasks.

Keep Access Secure

When dealing with the contingent workforce, allowing access to internal resources is necessary. However, many of them only stay through one project. How do you easily give permission to the documents they need while on the job and then manage their access when the project is complete?

Using cloud-based storage solutions like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and others can provide a platform to store documents and materials, or you could set up a shared drive on your internal server and permit contractors to access only that folder. The key is to assign the task of policing access privileges to responsible employees to make sure assets stay secure.

By 2020, surveyed respondents expect a 37% rise in contractors, 33% foresee an increase in freelancers and 28% expect growth in gig workers. With the contingent workforce growing at a rapid pace, staying ahead of how to manage them will save your business time in the future.


About Sara Pollock:    
As the head of the Marketing department, Sara makes sure that ClearCompany’s message, products and best practices reach and assist as many HR practitioners as possible.

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