Remember when a little unknown company by the name of Netflix emerged back in the early 2000’s? Some people were curious, others were dubious, and now over a decade or so later, more than 50 million members globally subscribe to the on-demand media streaming giant.
There’s a visible trend emerging in the talent-recruitment world, and with over 40 per cent of the U.S. workforce comprised of contingent workers, studies show that companies are following the Netflix business model: On-demand workers are in high-demand.
The contingent workforce typically encompasses a set of highly skilled IT specialists and Consultants to light-industrial workers, and this growing number of multi-faceted talent is rapidly changing the way organizations are doing business. According to a recent report released by supply management firm, Ardent Partners, 92 per cent of enterprises indicated non-traditional staffing was a vital to moderate part of their overall corporate strategy. By this year, contingent workers; including Independent Contractors, statement-of-work-based labour and freelancers will account for almost 45 per cent of the world’s total workforce.
For many businesses, non-traditional staffing offers a way to tamp down on costs while acquiring skilled but scarce talent. A contingent worker may be pricey, but the cost is temporary—making them much more palatable to a bottom line.
So, the plusses for businesses add up; but for contingent workers who frequently have to answer the question of where the rent money or mortgage payment is coming from each month, there lay a distinct discrepancy.
How do you keep temporary talent from jumping ship?
The first mistake businesses make is the assumption that contingent workers are happy to wait until their current contract expires to discuss a new deal. Wrong! A recent study from Procom shows that while still on assignment, 31 per cent of contingent workers are always looking for another opportunity elsewhere. Are you doing everything you can as a business to keep contingent workers engaged? Try these tips for reducing turnover of contingent staff:
- Next steps discussions
Like every type of employee, contingent workers desire certainty, and if they don’t have it with their current employer, they will look elsewhere for security. When a contract begins, automatically set up “next steps” discussions at the midpoint and subsequent midpoints until the contract expires. At each discussion provide details about upcoming opportunities, and be clear as to whether or not there is a possibility that the assignment would be extended.
- Recognize their value
Inclusion is key. Appreciating the unique needs of a contingent worker involves an up-front effort to ensure inclusion in the workplace. Although they can't be identified and treated as full-time employees, avoid creating subcultures between full time staff and your contingent workforce. A Contractor knows his or her position may be eliminated at a given time, and their salaries and any other perks are pre-determined compared to those of full-time employees; they’re not as incentivized as the rest of the staff. As an employer, businesses can’t be careless or apathetic when dealing with a contingent workforce. To remain motivated, productive and inclined to stay or return for future projects, contingent workers need to feel as though they are part of the team and not just temporary bodies in a seat.
- Develop and maintain close communication with your staffing agency
Staffing agencies are your third party connector, and they make it their business to know yours, as well as their Contractors. Ask to be kept in the loop with their surveys within the labour pool, so you can have feedback as to what you can do or do differently to hold on to your talent in the future. Do some companies invite their contingent staff to company events and Christmas parties? These perks can increase engagement, word-of-mouth referrals and inspire intention to return for future projects.
At the end of the day, when it comes to the contingent workforce, there’s a clear correlation between the basic human regard awarded Contractors and their subsequent intention to stay for the duration of their entire assignment, perform at their highest level and return for future projects. Treating temporary staff in line with the true value they contribute to your business will pay off by way of retention.