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3 common mistakes of contractor management

3 common mistakes of contractor management

Temporary staff can be a huge blessing when you’re busy, but not busy enough to take on full-time hires. Contractors can also help with short-term projects or temporary work that requires specialized skills. And many first-rate candidates prefer this type of work arrangement because of the flexibility and independence it affords.

However, just because they’re temporary, doesn’t mean you should cut corners in how you hire and manage these workers. While there are important differences between contractors and full-time employees, ensuring high-quality work product is critical to both types of relationships.

Below are three common mistakes when it comes to contractor management, and how you can improve your own approach to bringing on new — albeit temporary — teammates.

Mistake #1: Lackadaisical Hiring

The number one mistake in contractor management is choosing to “hire off the street.” As you probably know, having the right people in place can help lighten a weary manager’s load. So, the notion of, “we just need help, so let’s get somebody in here right now,” can be disastrous. This is especially true for a small business where there’s no such thing as flying under the radar; everybody’s job is critical.

So, you should use the same care throughout the hiring process that you would for your full-time people. This means a complete, thorough job description, knowing the competencies that you’re looking for, and maybe even more than one interview — yes, even for a temp.

Mistake #2: Disproportionate training

The second mistake when it comes to managing temporary staff is inadequate training. Maybe you’re like other small businesses and you don’t really take the time to onboard temps because you’re thinking, “Why bother?” Or maybe you go all out and put contractors through the same training as your full-time employees even though you really need them to get started on a project immediately.

There’s a good chance that what is obvious to you about your clients and your business isn’t going to be quite so crystal clear to your temp. On the other hand, overwhelming your contractor with excessive information and context delays your project and dilutes the information that you actually need them to know.

A good rule of thumb is a half-day of training for every month that you expect to have your temp on staff. So if it’s a six months engagement, they get 3 full days of onboarding. They don’t need to be able to recite your policy manual, but they do need to know exactly what you expect from them and how it connects to the big picture of your business. They need to know what your core values and standards are so they can provide a work product that is consistent with those principles.

Mistake #3: Lowering your expectations

A third common mistake in contractor management is treating or allowing your staff to treat your temp like anything less than a critical, capable member of the team. First, that’s just bad manners. But more than that, your customers have no idea which of your staff are temporary versus full-time hires, and they’ll be expecting high-quality work regardless of those classifications.

The same idea applies even if your temps are working solely with your internal team. Your full-time employees want the same thing that your customers want, which is a seamless experience and solutions to their problems. So, every employee you have — whether they’re with you for 3 months or 3 years — needs to be able to provide that.

Additionally, your temp should feel like a valued part of the team whose high-quality performance is necessary to the success of the business. Who knows, they could end up being your next great hire, or your next great customer.

Contractor management starts with smart recruiting

More and more job seekers are looking for flexibility and work-life balance, and an increasing number of companies are realizing the many benefits of hiring contract workers. However, these symbiotic needs and interests don’t necessarily mean that it’s easy to find high-quality, temporary staff members who mesh well with your team and company culture. Improve your contractor recruiting strategies by signing up for Monster Hiring Solutions, where you’ll receive expert recruiting advice and the latest hiring trends.

Legal Disclaimer: None of the information provided herein constitutes legal advice on behalf of Monster.