Businesses today are adept at the use of contingent and contract labor to retain high levels of flexibility in their workforce deployment and to ensure their competitive advantage over their rivals. If you’re incorporating contingent labor into your workforce, it’s important to make sure that they’re brought on board using the right processes to ensure their engagement and integration into the organization while mitigating all possible risks.
Yes, that’s right. No savvy employer would treat a contingent worker as ‘dirt’ or as an ‘expendable commodity’ who deserves no consideration, respect or fair treatment, when being onboarded into a new role. In fact, they would not distinguish between a temporary worker and a permanent worker in either the process or the attitude when on-boarding a contingent worker. The days when contingent workers worked gigs at places where they were neither acknowledged nor known by their names are now past!
Onboarding has a human aspect which affects an employee’s experience on the crucial first day at work and must be positive across the interactions though the paper work and background checks all the way to personnel introductions. It’s practically like a honeymoon phase and could result in a quick divorce (read attrition) if not handled right! It could also build a negative image and affect our efforts hiring in the future. Here are some best practices for onboarding contingent workers:
Follow the rules. Never intentionally do something that is not in accordance with Federal and state laws, whether in the way you recruit the workers or classify them and compensate them. Be aware of the non-disclosure requirements which restrict the use and dissemination of proprietary information pertaining to the worker during and after the tenure of the assignment. It’s necessary to establish proper documentation processes and an audit trail which keeps them readily available at any given point in time.
Remember that we’re in a very fast-paced environment everything has to be expedited. Recognize that everyone who starts on a new job is eager to start working and to make a difference. As this won’t happen until all of your onboarding requirements have been satisfied, get your HR onboarding team to roll up their sleeves and go the extra mile to ensure everything is processed timely.
Impart training on the job processes and orient the worker to the safety measures, if any. Provide the worker with copies of the workplace policies against acknowledgement and a clear job description setting out performance expectations and key performance indicators.
Provide a ready workspace, with office stationery, visiting cards and allot parking space and put any other paraphernalia in place. Provide the worker with the company ID card and security badge, as well as the logistics and access information required to navigate the work areas, food courts, IT systems as well as the parking areas.
Get the new hire to team up with an experienced hand to learn the ropes and help the worker to be initiated into the culture of the office and identify with its goals and objectives, and know how they will be contributing toward achieving them. Where possible, organize a team event or meeting to improve new hire’s familiarity with the team members.
Avoid liability for co-employment claims when onboarding contingent workers – at the interviewing level.
Starting a new job can be nerve-racking, tedious and time-consuming. So do everything possible to ensure that the team members and onboarding process WOW the worker. WOW is the icing on the cake. While staying compliant and expediting all the paperwork and on-boarding requirements…efficiency is maintained, as smoothly as a duck gliding happily on top of the water. But what no one gets to see are the feet paddling rapidly, diligently, efficiently to get the duck where it needs to go. That is what CW onboarding should look like.
The earlier concerns about commitment, confidentiality and conflicts of interest when using a contingent workforce are not still valid. Contingent workers are no more stop-gap workers, as they offer lifetime engagement. They don’t just fill an empty slot based on requirement and they’re definitely not unworthy of forming personal bonds with your other staff. If you still happen to believe so, remember that workers who are so alienated on their first day at work often become disengaged workers, and they may never want to come back for a second stint even if they stay until the end of their first gig.
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