The tough work doesn’t stop when you’ve hired your independent contractors – it’s only just begun. Just as HR looks after and manages the employment of full time positions, the department should be sure not to neglect independent contractors. After all, nearly one fifth of workers in Ireland are self-employed.
So, here are 4 tips for both hiring and managing independent contractors in the gig economy:
1. Know Who You Need and When
Firstly, don’t hire an independent contractor for a job that could be done by a current member of staff - make use of the talent you have at your disposal before looking elsewhere. Delegating new tasks to your current workers will make them feel more appreciated and motivated in the workplace – a win-win for both parties.
It may seem obvious, but employers need to make sure that they are hiring the right independent contractor at the right time. Don’t hire too far in advance of a project and find yourself paying unnecessary wages. Equally, avoid hiring at the last minute, when there is very little time before a project deadline, and expect them to have the job done.
Of course there comes a time when hiring an independent contractor is necessary and the best way to make sure you find the right fit for the job is to have precise specifications of what you require. Look for independent contractors with experience in the areas you are looking for, and, if possible, meet with them before hiring to assess their compatibility with your business.
2. Sign an Agreement
Employers know that when it comes to hiring full time employees, a written contract is essential for both parties. The same is true when taking on an independent contractor. This will ensure that both contractor and employer are on the same page and are aware of what is expected from the work arrangement.
A written agreement is also important to have at hand should any legal disputes arise between the parties. It is recommended that employers, especially those who are hiring independent contractors on a regular basis, have some template contracts prepared and ready to be tailored to all new hires. This saves time and means drawing up a contract is less likely to slip your mind. It is also advisable to outline payment details on the contract, including when and how independent contractors will be paid, to avoid any unwanted confusion or complication.
3. Shorten Training Courses
Lengthy, arduous training courses for independent contractors can lead to a loss of motivation, and can take away from company culture in the workplace. Of course it is vital that new hires are suitably trained in the area they will be working in, however where possible, make training concise and precise. Limiting the length of time spent training independent contractors will increase productivity on the projects that matter most to your business and ensure contractors feel they are being utilised effectively.
4. Make Sure They Feel They are Part of the Team
Teamwork is a crucial part of any company culture. Harnessing an environment where current employees and independent contractors work in tandem and do not step on each other’s toes is vital to improving productivity in the workplace. Make sure independent contractors don’t feel like they are simply being shipped in and shipped out again when the job is done. Instead, integrate them into the existing team and include them in any relevant meetings or organised staff events. This is likely to make your workforce happier, avoid any potential workplace clashes and maximise your company’s efficiency.
Contract employers are one of the fastest growing sectors of alternative work arrangements. It is necessary, therefore, for HR departments to embrace the hiring of independent contractors in order to meet the demands of the gig economy. That being said, don’t blindly choose independent contractors as a quick fix to a project. Yes, there are often time constraints when it comes to hiring independent contractors, but finding those who match your business and are specifically suited to fulfil your needs will pay dividends in the long run. In other words, HR departments shouldn’t prioritize speed over skill.
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