Avoid These 5 Blunders When Onboarding Contractual Employees

The need for an efficient and impactful onboarding process for contingent employees is undeniable. But what are the common onboarding mistakes committed by companies that are doing more harm than good? Let’s take a look.

Times have changed; you wouldn’t have considered contingent workers for your organisation a few years ago. Fast-forward to today: remote work has caught on immensely, and with the soaring popularity of the “gig” culture, you might just be raring to give contractual staffing a try, if you haven’t already.

The pros of hiring contingent workers alone should convince you to consider flexible workers — especially in the IT industry — over permanent, full-time employees given the nature of the environment we operate in which is always in a state of flux.

And while you may opt for a contingent workforce and immediately start reaping some of the benefits, such as lower hiring and retention costs, you will not get your money’s worth lest you have an excellent onboarding strategy.

Proactive onboarding process for long-term employee retention.

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Onboarding is arguably the crucial step after hiring that’s often disregarded. It’s understood that onboarding influences both attrition and retention — 17% of employees leave the organization within 90 days of getting hired if they experience an ineffective onboarding program. Furthermore, an engaging employee onboarding program helps in retaining 91% of their hires in the first year.

Needless to say, you should boost your company’s onboarding value even before your employees, temporary or permanent, start their journey with your organisation.

As for contingent employees, if your organization is tinkering with the idea or has ramped up efforts to hire more, then these are the 5 must-avoid onboarding mistakes.

1. Very Little to No Information Shared With Contingent Workers

Unfortunately, incoherent and incomplete communication continues to be a stumbling block that prohibits the inception of interesting onboarding ideas. Although communication barriers are often challenges for businesses, the problem becomes too evident and troublesome during hiring and onboarding.

Usually, the higher ups and managers share very little information with flexible staff. Even if they do, the details only cater to in-the-moment scenarios. As a result, workers’ confidence takes a hit and they aren’t able to function to the best of their abilities.

Temporary employees require a 360-degree understanding of the work culture, their functions and goals of the organisation. They must be made aware of all details, such as the office layout, lunch timings, days off., time schedules, allowances, benefits, paydays etc. so that they don’t feel neglected.

2. Failure to Include Other Employees in the Onboarding Process

One of the biggest challenges for contingent workers is navigating their way around the workplace. Too often, they have to take the responsibility to get acquainted with co-workers and the surrounding. Needless to say, while some may be able to pull it off, most won’t, which will only hurt their morale. What’s more, they may feel alienated and unwelcome.

Although, you could assume that it’s not big of a deal for contingent workers to take the initiative of familiarizing themselves with each other, rest of the staff and the environment, you have to realize that they are new to the organisation without any idea where to go, who to meet, and how to get started. Also, by factoring in the pressure of joining a new employer, they can be overwhelmed.

While onboarding your flexible employers, you should inform them about the work culture, values, and goals. Once they’re familiar, bring the manager or their supervisor in the picture, and have him or her introduce the new employee to the rest of the team.

3. Insufficient or Poor Support for the Incoming Employees

One of the gravest onboarding and recruitment mistakes you can make is not offering complete support to your contingent workforce. It can result in them feeling demotivated and result in poor performance. As a result, your organization might end up wasting resources. In short, it’s money down the drain.

Employers must understand that contingent workers need all the help, guidance, and resources to fit in and carry out their duties efficiently. They should feel included and that is why every little information, about the project or the organization must be shared with them.

4. Hired, Onboarded and Forgotten: The Absence of Follow-ups

As mentioned in the stat up top, most employees tend to quit within the first 45-60 days of joining. Employers must keep this number in mind and work on an onboarding process that stretches beyond the first few months.

Numerous studies and surveys suggest that more than half the employers’ onboarding process lasts for a few weeks to a month. On the other hand, just under half the employers’ take 2-6 months to onboard contingent workers. Employers must study their turnover percentages and come up with an onboarding plan accordingly.

Another noteworthy point about onboarding is the feedback mechanism. You should plan how often you want to hear feedback from the new employees — it can be throughout the onboarding process or at the very end. But, it’s advisable to integrate feedback at regular intervals so that you can revisit inconsistencies and correct or improve them.

5. Over-the-Top and Irrational Workplace Demands

Yes, everybody wants their money’s worth, including you. Having spent resources on hiring contingent workers, you’d naturally want them to perform and drive results. But what’s unnatural (and definitely unsavoury) for the workers and their contractor is when the employer starts setting unrealistic expectations.

Constantly breathing down their necks, assigning tasks that aren’t even part of their job description, or overburdening them can eventually lead to burnouts. And that’s not all, the frustration can result in loss of productivity and mistakes which can cost you dearly.

The environment we work in is constantly facing disruption. In such cases, hiring contingent workers is definitely feasible. Having said that, telling your contractor to ship in temp workers without addressing some of the problems mentioned above isn’t going to cut it.

The onboarding experience when you’re opting for a flexible workforce is absolutely crucial. So is understanding its administrative and strategic aspects, including the best offboarding practices when their contract nears completion.

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One of the prime contributors for this blog, Expertise in Staffing and Recruitment, Content Strategist by Profession. A Music Lover & Traveller by Choice.

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