Top Tips on How to Retain Contingent Workers

Almost half (46%) of UK employers currently recruiting have vacancies that are hard to fill. There are a range of reasons for this, including employees shifting career paths and the current economic downturn. In response, businesses should be considering the different types of workers that can be deployed into vacant roles as well as ensuring deployed workers are retained.

Contingent workers are those who aren’t on a business’ permanent payroll, often brought in on a project basis. Just because these employees are providing services for a contracted period doesn’t mean that they are a one-off solution. Contingent workers are a key labor force that organizations can rely on time and time again, ensuring time to fill no longer dictates business growth. Retaining contingent workers requires a shift in mindset to seeing this talent pool as part of a business’ long-term strategy rather than a short-term fix.

Move beyond capture and release by offering redeployment to new roles. Many businesses take a “capture and release” approach to their contingent workforce, whereby they hire workers for a designated period who then move onto their next assignment with another company. In doing so, businesses could be losing out on top-quality employees and investing significant resources in someone who is unlikely to return. The more employers redeploy their contingent workers, the more they are likely to keep returning time and time again.

Provide a smooth candidate journey from the get-go. Candidate experience has a huge impact on contingent workers’ initial perceptions of a company. Those who are placed quickly and without an overbearing administrative process are more likely to start their role in the right headspace. Candidate experience could be considered even more important for contingent than permanent workers. Due to the nature of contingent workers’ job patterns, they are likely to have gone through more recruitment processes than most and are likely to have higher standards.

Organizations can improve the candidate journeys of contingent workers by sourcing these professionals themselves. Using an integrated direct sourcing platform can lead to candidates enjoying an improved experience thanks to quicker screening, interviewing and selection. Candidates can access the platform at any time, allowing them to have more control over the process and avoiding any administrative bottlenecks. A positive hiring experience increases contingent worker retention every time.

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Maintain regular communication. Inevitably, the hiring process is only the first step of a contingent worker’s journey within an organization. It is followed by onboarding, learning and day-to-day work within the company. Hiring teams cannot forget about their contingent workers when the initial candidate journey is over but must encourage a contingent-friendly culture within the organization.

Given that contingent workers are not designed to be a permanent part of an organization’s workforce, they need to be effectively briefed on their project and given access to the appropriate channels for ongoing insight and feedback throughout their time with the organization. Organizations should consider implementing increased communication and informal reviews within 30 days of a contingent worker’s start date. These conversations can help to set expectations and ensure that the employee has all the tools they need to succeed. Increased communication early in an assignment can reduce overall turnover and ensure skills remain within the organization.

Understand what’s important to contingent workers. Magnit’s research indicates that the top reasons people stay with an organization are unique project opportunities and/or the chance to develop new skills. With that in mind, organizations should be actively emphasizing professional development opportunities both when recruiting and during discussions with new hires. Companies should engage with new workers to understand what they’re interested in, discuss any relevant project opportunities and help them develop new skills. By broaching these key topics early on, organizations can help ensure they retain and integrate the new talent they’ve worked so hard to source.

Make contingent workers central to the long-term staffing strategy. Organizations experiencing a lack of talent can benefit significantly from leveraging contingent workers. When retaining contingent workers, companies can enjoy quicker sourcing of quality talent, more efficient use of resources and increased job satisfaction for employees. This not only allows businesses to fill current talent gaps but can create a more sustainable approach to staffing for the future.

Simon Noble

Simon Noble
Simon Noble is SVP, EMEA, at Magnit.

Simon Noble

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