Leaders attitude toward contract workers could hurt the bottom line

Contingent and short-term labor, exterior and prolonged expertise. Consultants, contractors, project-based workers and gig workers. All of those are completely different labels for anybody who works for a corporation however isn’t categorized as an worker. 

Some expertise specialists estimate that right this moment these workers comprise as much as 47% of the total workforce. As soon as reserved for short-term administrative workers and seasonal assist, right this moment contingent work has grown to incorporate longer-term tasks reminiscent of digital transformation initiatives and COVID vaccine analysis and growth.

Regardless of serving in strategic roles, possessing subtle skillsets, and dealing alongside full-time workers, prolonged workers are sometimes underutilized and undervalued. Corporations want to know the energy of this labor class after which leverage this expertise to impression productiveness and the bottom line. 


The rise of the prolonged workforce

There’s a rising record of the explanation why contract work is interesting to right this moment’s workers. At the highest degree, it empowers people to create their very own profession paths with out restriction. They’ll transfer from firm to firm and speed up their studying curve. They’ll scale work up or down, setting their very own skilled tempo. This degree of flexibility and management is of utmost significance in right this moment’s surroundings. 

The enterprise case for leveraging the prolonged workforce is robust. Corporations can scale this portion of the workforce up or down at will to fulfill their expertise wants in real-time with the ebb and circulate of enterprise. Contingent workers additionally permit corporations to achieve entry to particular abilities for sure short-term tasks reminiscent of digital transformation initiatives or seasonal monetary calls for. One other technique is to make use of extremely expert contractors to coach and upskill full-time workers below their path.

These advantages tie on to the huge abilities scarcity preserving corporations from each assembly present demand in addition to executing strategic initiatives. No business is resistant to the dire want for expertise with unemployment at only 4.8%. Trying forward, companies are reporting their highest hiring outlook in almost 60 years. The prolonged workforce is an actual and essential pipeline of everlasting workers, and the way corporations view and deal with contingent workers performs closely in whether or not these workers even need to be in the pipeline for these roles. 

Making a harmonious workforce to drive worth

As all these components converge and we rely extra closely on prolonged workers, we have to undertake workforce methods to combine each sort of expertise to positively impression collaboration, tradition, retention, productiveness, and the bottom line. How are you going to combine these workers to drive higher outcomes when additionally it is essential to tell apart between them?

The separation is important to guard corporations from the dangers of co-employment: when two corporations have obligations as the employer of the employee. In the case of the prolonged workforce, that is sometimes the staffing agency and the finish shopper. 

Perceive the numbers and the worth. For corporations to strategically optimize the abilities already inside their organizations, they want visibility. It’s vital to investigate the workforce when it comes to ability rely vs. headcount, particularly with the frenetic tempo of right this moment’s enterprise world and the lack of accessible expertise. This begins with a powerful system of document for all exterior labor separate from workers and a approach to view knowledge and insights into the complete workforce, inclusive of non-employees.


From a cultural perspective, everybody from their worker friends to the C-suite ought to perceive that as much as half of the folks working in your tasks, attending your conferences, and delivering in your firm’s mission are prolonged workers, and are simply as beneficial as anybody else. Not doing so may end up in an unhealthy cultural division inside your group.

The pandemic underscored this want for visibility. When the pandemic struck, many corporations couldn’t reply primary questions on their contingent workforce. The place are they? Who’re they? Can they work remotely? Have they got what they want? This had a direct impression not solely on contractors’ wellbeing however on firm productiveness as effectively, unnecessarily hindering enterprise continuity. 

Know-how instruments reminiscent of a vendor administration system (VMS) will enhance visibility and administration of the contingent workforce. Your HRIS and ERP techniques ought to seamlessly combine with any resolution managing the contingent workforce. Organizations want a system or software that may convey their non-employees as shut as attainable to your group with out blurring full employment. 

Study the impression of your processes and insurance policies on tradition. Everybody needs to matter and really feel that their work is vital. The sensation of being included is achievable no matter how every worker is being compensated or categorized. Understand the commonalities of each contractors and workers: they contribute to the objectives of the venture and the mission of the firm. 

A few of the ways in which organizations distinguish between employee varieties are antiquated and price a re-examination of how this makes non-employees really feel about the work they do. For instance, corporations could separate workers and contingent workers inside the bodily workplace, or safety badges are sometimes completely different colours based mostly on employee sort. 

Delineating the threat and advantage of a few of these age-old practices could uncover that some are much less related right this moment than earlier than and are literally hurting your capacity to make non-employees really feel revered. 

Tradition is usually pushed by the company boundaries which can be drawn, for higher or for worse. The form of course of and operational steps an organization takes in using contingent workers straight informs the tradition. And, that tradition has implications effectively past the employer-worker relationship. No matter classification, your workers are customers of your services and products, too. The way you deal with them has a direct impression on how they eat your model.

The final word intestine test is to ask your self, “Is that this coverage creating exclusionary habits?” Whether it is, it’s time to take a more in-depth look. Corporations ought to take note of how their processes impression tradition. Does separation of workspace result in an “us vs. them” mentality? Do different-colored badges create a divide in conferences? If the reply is sure, it’s doubtless impacting innovation and productiveness, and limiting firm potential. 

Management has an vital position

Firm leaders can and ought to be advocates for the prolonged workforce. Understanding threat is vital, nevertheless it mustn’t function an excuse to forgo deploying this extremely productive group or deal with exterior workers as second-class residents.

First, leaders want to speak the worth of this section of the workforce. This may solely be credible if management understands the numbers and strategic energy this workforce brings. Monitoring, managing, and analyzing this workforce with expertise will make this attainable. 

Second, HR and procurement must work side-by-side to maximise the worth of all workers. They need to co-develop a complete expertise technique that accounts for all labor. They should analyze required abilities and stability in opposition to the provide and demand nuances in the market. The prolonged workforce shouldn’t be an afterthought, however slightly an vital expertise class. 


Workforce members must work alongside one another, too, no matter employee classification. At occasions contingent workers can put up simply as many boundaries as full-time workers. It’s as much as workforce managers to search for this and work to dissolve these cliques. 

All members of the group, from the prime down, ought to perceive the worth of the whole workforce. Management ought to mannequin a code of conduct and habits that promotes respect. Insurance policies ought to define procedures with an eye fixed on balancing threat mitigation and cultural impression, and expertise is required to make sure the workforce is optimized. When this occurs, corporations will see groups come collectively, tradition and morale enhance, and productiveness rise. 

Doug Leeby is CEO of Beeline, serving to corporations round the world higher handle the prolonged workforce.