February 7, 2012
In our previous post (Establishing Effective Onboarding Process), we have harped a great deal on the human element in onboarding and suggested many ways to improve the employee experience to ensure that the new hire develops commitment, loyalty and other bonds with the organization. For obvious reasons, these considerations have more relevance to full-time hires rather than a contingent workforce. Some aspects of the onboarding tips may have relevance to the use of Contingent Workforce; when contemplated as temp-to-hire or when consultants offering critical skills are being on-boarded, with capabilities for which the organization has periodic requirement. Fears of being liable for co-employment claims have a very valid place in the process – as at the interviewing level – and so, the onboarding of contingent workers will need very careful handling at all levels.
With the onboarding of contingent workers, there is greater focus on the documentation side of the process rather than the human side. The paperwork takes precedence and the first concern of CW managers lies with the effective management documentation like e-Verify, background checks, state and local employment documentation and non-disclosure agreements restricting the use and dissemination of proprietary information pertaining to the employer during and after the tenure of the assignment. It is necessary to file the documents to be readily available for meeting audit requirements at any given point in time. Once these requirements are satisfactorily managed, the worker is asked to report to work so that the CW manager can focus on the next step in onboarding, which is a shortening of the ramp up time to effective and productive membership on the team.
Training the contingent on company policies and time-keeping methods is a necessary part of the onboarding effort and requires the management to plan it in a systematic manner similar to what they would with any worker handling the job, temporary or not. An effective contingent workforce manager focuses on onboarding the worker in as short a time as possible to achieve productivity in the shortest window of time possible. Along with the company ID card and security badge, the worker may be provided with the logistics and access information required to navigate the work areas, IT systems, as well as the parking areas.
Right after the necessary introductions to the supervisor and other team members, the worker may be eased into a ready workspace. Armed with the necessary facilities and assets like phone, properly configured computer with the required hardware and software,; and a desk with the basis office supplies a worker is bound to make a good start to fulfilling the requirements of the role, without dawdling around trying to find their way around.
An efficient CW manager also focuses on providing a positive employee experience with the way the documentation requirements and other aspects of onboarding a worker are handled. On the administrative side, this documentation needs to be collected and maintained in a ready-to-access manner providing immediate access for any audit requirements. The records of documents need to be managed in such a way that at any given point in time, the management is in a position to pull the information on the contingent workers present in the premises. This information needs to include a set of records pertaining to the worker’s access to the premises as well as the systems at the workplace. This information would also be required for adherence to the business continuity and disaster recovery requirements. The various permissions to access premises, systems and information granted during a worker’s tenure must be monitored, with clear oversight into the end date of an assignment with the necessary processes and reminders in place to turn off all the access points – at the end.
While onboarding contingent workers, care needs to be taken to avoid practices, which could lead to building a negative image and affect future effort at hiring. The employer may explore the possibility of providing access to some of the policy information to the worker and have them complete some paper work online or by mail, even before they report to work. Clear job descriptions as well as performance expectations and parameters can be prepared and shared up front with the employee. It helps to create comprehensive checklists to help complete the whole process effectively and quickly, at the time of onboarding.
No organization should approach the idea of onboarding the contingent workers with either carelessness or a discriminatory approach. Successful contingent workforce managers advocate the necessity of treating them with care and ensuring that they absorb your organizational culture and values, especially in customer-facing assignments, where they present the organization’s face to the world. Other fringe benefits to this approach could be the ability to encourage the alumni to return, which is another area where companies are currently focusing on, considering the enormous savings on training costs alone. The other advantage would naturally be the ability a returning worker has to hit the floor running.
The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.