Maximizing Contingents with Effective Onboarding

empty cubicleFinding employees who can not only perform the job, but also are engaged and interested in your organization’s corporate culture and goals can be tough, even more so when they are contingent or freelance hires. According to Aberdeen, nearly 26 percent of the average organization’s total workforce is considered contingent. The contingent workforce is expected increase 23 percent from 2010 to 2020 — about 631,300 jobs.

Talent leaders need a strategy to utilize these workers by shifting to a more “project friendly” and profitable corporate culture. Companies are under pressure to enhance processes related to the complexities of the contingent workforce. Effective, automated onboarding solutions enable companies to create a consistent and streamlined approach that encourages accountability by defining metrics which are aligned with existing departmental goals. Contingent staffs have inherent problems with engagement and loyalty. To fix this, companies must cultivate relationships and deliver personalized experiences before the contingent employees even start.

PREMIUM RESEARCH: Buyers’ Top Priorities for their Contingent Workforce Program in 2012

That’s why the onboarding process is critical: Onboarding transforms candidates into productive employees quickly. It’s a process that doesn’t happen all by itself — effective onboarding requires a clear strategy and well-defined systems and processes. Here are some tips that can help you make it happen:

  • Empower employees to hit the ground running: New employees want to succeed. Help them launch their new careers by providing resources that communicate your brand, introduce them to your company’s culture, and let them know how they fit into the big picture. A new hire onboarding portal is a good solution: It can walk employees through an online orientation and corporate objectives, while allowing them to conveniently review and complete important forms online.
  • Automate processes through technology: HR personnel are in charge of coordinating multiple onboarding tasks across a number of departments and hire types. A formal onboarding workflow that is flexible enough to manage varied forms requirement and unique orientation processes can help HR professionals get their traditional and nontraditional staff up and running effectively. Look for HR software that doesn’t charge for transactions (i.e, number of hires processed) to help keep manage costs, as independent contractors, part-time employees and on-call employees may drive up expenses in these pricing models.
  • Keep tabs on onboarding activities with robust reporting tools: For companies with large, mobile workforces, and businesses with employees in multiple locations, it can be a challenge to keep track of where new hires are in the onboarding process. A reporting system that provides an overview of the onboarding process can help. Reports can include statistics and individual views on form completion, orientation, and other onboarding steps to help managers make sure their newest hires are ready to get to work.

MORE: Effective Contingent Worker On/Offboarding

Training for the contingent worker is now generally limited to tasks and projects, rather than strategy. This training often includes detailed instructions on time keeping, security, logistics, and other house-keeping tasks. For contingent workers, the focus is on onboarding speed rather than employee satisfaction or engagement, thus, contingent workers often have trouble feeling as though they are part of the team.

There are major benefits and opportunities in having a flexible workforce but the majority of organizations using this approach to staffing are not doing enough to get these incoming workers up to expected productivity quickly. Since these employees will only be with the organization for a short period of time, non-productive time is a major waste of the organization’s investment. With a solid commitment to engage new employees, sound onboarding processes, and technology tools to help you keep track of it all, you can get new employees up to speed quickly, maximize efficiency, and shorten the learning curve.



Susan Vitale

Susan Vitale
Susan is CMO at iCIMS.

Susan Vitale

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2 Responses to “Maximizing Contingents with Effective Onboarding”

  1. […] like a daunting task, but in reality it’s fairly simple. In Greek Life, new members go through an onboarding process that introduces them to the ideals and history behind their respective organization. Therefore, […]

  2. KayColson says:

    Great Points … they all apply to permanent employee On Boarding as well!  How long does it tak you to get a worker up to speed and making a contribution?

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