5 mistakes companies make when onboarding contingent workers

There's no denying the importance of a strong employee onboarding process. This is something that many organizations are already well aware of, with more than half (54%) of companies with onboarding programs reporting higher employee engagement. Research has also shown: 

  • 69% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer for three years if they experience great onboarding
  • Companies with standard onboarding procedures experience 50% greater new-hire productivity
  • Up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days

These figures illustrate just how important it is to ensure new employees make a strong start to their career with you.

Furthermore, in the modern world of work - where concepts like flexibility and the gig economy hold greater significance for employers than ever before - effective onboarding is just as important for contingent workers as it is for permanent staff.

If your organization is becoming increasingly reliant on a flexible workforce, be sure to avoid some of these common onboarding mistakes:

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the importance of a onboarding new contingent workers

1. failing to make flex workers feel welcome

Contingent workers shouldn’t feel that they are coming into your company as an outsider and are simply there to do their contracted tasks as quickly and quietly as possible. They should be welcomed into the business by everyone from senior managers to the team members they will be working alongside.

Offering a warm welcome helps new arrivals feel comfortable in the working environment and eager to do their best for the company, which contributes to efficiency and productivity.

They will also be keen to return and work for you again in the future, laying the foundations for a long-term, mutually rewarding relationship.

2. not providing enough information

Whether they are with you on a permanent or temporary basis, one of the best ways to integrate new employees into your organization is by giving them plenty of information about their role, the company and what it does.

As well as helping them feel at home in the workplace, this helps to provide a picture of your culture, goals and overall employer brand.

Failing to give contingent workers a thorough introduction to the business, raises the risk of them feeling disengaged from their work and potentially making mistakes due to lack of awareness.

3. treating temporary staff differently

Someone coming into your organization on a flexible or short-term basis should be made to feel like part of the team from day one. No-one wants to feel like an outsider in the workplace, so it’s good practice to set policies that encourage all employees to treat every one of their co-workers with equal respect, even if they are on a short-term contract.

Contingent workers who instantly feel like part of the team will be more productive and will also feel comfortable enough to ask questions and request help if they need it.

4. not offering dedicated support

Just like any other recruit, a contingent worker should have access to all resources and avenues of support they need to do their job properly.

One of the most common pitfalls employers fall into when using temporary staff is expecting the individual to get straight to work and deliver what is expected of them, with little dedicated guidance or relevant information.

An experienced IT contractor, for example, could have all the core skills required to do the job, but might still need a run-down of your company’s software and systems before getting started.

5. setting unrealistic expectations

You want to gain maximum results from the money you’re investing in your flexible workforce, of course, but it’s important that you’re realistic in what you expect contractors and contingent staff to deliver during their time with you.

Setting goals that are simply unrealistic is likely to result in the worker feeling stressed and unhappy from the start, and the quality of their work will suffer. The same result could arise if they have to work excessive hours to reach their targets, running the risk of burnout and mistakes being made.

The latest HR and workforce trends suggest that contractors and flex workers will become an increasingly vital source of skills in the coming years. Adopting positive practices and investing in proper onboarding of contingent staff will help to ensure you gain maximum benefits from this portion of the talent pool.

download our guide on how to engage your contingent workforce.

download now