Even if your organisation regularly uses contractor resources, how well set up are you to make sure you leverage the most value possible from your agile talent engagements? Here’s four steps that we encourage all clients to take every time they address an organisational challenge by hiring contract expertise.
While contractors are paid a premium, when structured appropriately, are often less expensive than permanent employees. Nonetheless any headcount is costly and it’s important to plan from the beginning how you can maximise the value returned from this investment. Consider aligned projects that they can contribute to, and focus on recruiting a specific skill bias that would support longer term organisational challenges.
Work with the contractor at the outset of the programme to identify milestones by which their progress can be assessed. 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 contractors progress and provide feedback throughout, particularly in the early period so that they can adapt to the manner in how you want their objectives achieved.
Many firms skip formal induction for their contractors which can ultimately hinder their integration and understanding of your organisation culture. Use this early process to find out more about the contractor’s previous work. What have they seen, worked with or delivered that would be advantageous to your organisation, but which you had not considered up to this point. Keep talking with the contractor on this level throughout the contract period. Some professionals may not volunteer knowledge in areas outside of their brief, so encourage this added value wherever possible.
Make sure you communicate clearly to all 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, including the team where relevant and if at all possible, the decision level or limit of the contractor. Every agile professional needs co-operation 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.
The success of a contractor depends not just on the skills, attitude and application of the person you hire but also on how you “set-up” the contractor for success. Having a clear vision for what is to be achieved, structuring the resources effectively and communicating to all connected parties are essential steps. HRM can help to help navigate the relationship and ensure that you get maximum value from the investment that you make.