Only ten years ago, if you asked average Americans what kind of work they wanted, most would answer that they wanted a full-time job with a future, including benefits, annual raises, and a retirement plan. These days, over one third of American workers are shunning W-2 positions in favor of more non-traditional employment as freelancers in the gig economy. Call them part-time employees, on-demand employees, independent contractors, or nontraditional 1099 workers.
Conservative projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that nearly 50 percent of the American workforce will participate in the gig economy performing nontraditional work by 2020.
That means these temp workers will work in their nontraditional roles right alongside your traditional, full-time employees. This “blended workforce” will present a new set of management challenges for those companies whose policies and processes have been designed according to the needs of more traditional W-2 employees.
The blended workforce will require modern companies to shift their management strategies consciously, as they learn to manage multiple categories of workers at the same time – each category with its own motivations and values.
To help your company manage temps and enjoy the benefits of the blended workforce of the future, we offer these three tips:
1. Set your team up for success with effective on-boarding strategies.
Whether they’re traditional employees or temporary freelance workers, everyone deserves to be brought onboard your company consciously and effectively. Your on-boarding process is the way you help newcomers to your organization gain the knowledge, skill, and behavior that will make them productive contributors to your business.
Not only is there a positive correlation between effective on-boarding and a company’s financial health, proper, consistent on-boarding helps instill your new employees with a clear understanding of your company’s core values. When you manage temps, follow these tips to bring them onboard quickly:
- Get to know your temporary workers. It’s surprising how few companies don’t take time to get to know their nontraditional employees before issuing job instructions. That can send a message that you’re not invested or interested in the contribution your temporary workers are making to the organization. Work with HR to create a set of questions to ask your nontraditional employees that will help you get to know them better. Be sure to include questions about their personal and professional goals, what they hope to gain by working with you, and their preferred work style.
- Introduce the new workers to the rest of the team. When your temp workers can make connections with others on the team early on, they’ll be more likely to ask for information and get feedback from others as they learn their roles. Within the first day or two, accompany the new employees on a tour of the office, introduce them to key team members, and set them up with a well connected “work buddy.” When they can connect with the rest of your team, it becomes far easier to manage temps.
- Clarify your company culture. It can be hard for nontraditional or temp workers to assimilate or fit into a new organization, and if they are not aware of your culture, they’ll be more likely to bring their old culture with them. You’ll be better able to manage temps when you share your company’s vision, mission, and company values during the first day or two of their employment. That helps them see and align with the same “greater purpose” that your traditional workers share. As part of your on-boarding strategy, put together a packet of welcome items to help them understand your culture and goals.
2. Manage temps the same way you manage traditional employees.
Admittedly, it can be challenging to manage different categories of workers, when each has its unique motivation, priorities, and requirements. And to manage temps, it’s important to realize they require more flexibility than traditional employees. On the other hand, temp workers rarely enjoy the benefits that tend to motivate traditional employees and keep them focused on company goals.
All employees do their best when they are engaged, included, and rewarded. That means management needs to build, nurture, and demonstrate – from the top down — an inclusive culture that all employees find rewarding. To manage temps specifically, encourage everyone to treat them as insiders. That way traditional, full-time employees will accept the temps and the contributions they make to the organization.
Follow these suggestions to manage temps and build an inclusive culture in your workplace:
- Create goals or key performance indicators for every category of worker, and assess all employees – whether temporary or full-time – on similar deliverables. As an example, a key measurement for all employees might include the requirement for everyone to adhere to company values and standards.
- Make it a priority to create cross-functional teams that include both temporary and traditional employees in order to foster collaboration, creativity, and diversity. After all, temporary workers or contractors might bring fresh observations and ideas to your company.
- Be sure to welcome nontraditional workers to team meetings, volunteering events, happy hours, parties, or other social and professional functions. Allow them to participate in social and professional development opportunities, and recognize temps for their contributions to the organization.
3. Employ an effective “off-boarding” strategy.
Given the shift from a traditional to a blended workforce, it only makes sense to design and implement an effective exit – or off-boarding – strategy.
The process by which a temporary employee, freelancer, or contractor leaves your company can provide not only valuable information to management about the way they manage temps, but also provide a pipeline of temp workers already familiar with your company should you ever need them in the future. Happy, satisfied, well-managed temps can enhance your company brand and employment image, which will benefit your future recruitment efforts.
Follow these suggestions to create a positive off-boarding strategy in your organization.
- When nontraditional workers leave your company, survey them about their experience working with you. Ask for specific ideas about how you might improve the experience for future temporary workers, especially for ideas about how to better manage temps.
- Track responses from every temporary worker who exits, and chart emerging trends over time. Use what you learn to improve your management and staffing processes.
- Thank your temp workers for their contribution, express appreciation for their performance (if appropriate), and let them know they’ll be welcome to return if your company should need their skills in the future.
Healthcare companies who want to grow and thrive in the blended workforce of the future need to focus on intentionally creating and consciously managing an inclusive culture that includes both traditional and non-traditional workers like temps, contractors, or freelancers.
While there is no one “right way” to manage temps, there are plenty of resources available to find qualified, pre-vetted healthcare professionals who’d be a perfect match with your company.
Stynt is one such resource. We’re the largest, fastest-growing healthcare staffing resource online, helping match more than 2000 healthcare employers with professional temporary staff who perfectly meet their needs.