One of the biggest mistakes businesses (especially small businesses) make is mismanaging their contingent workforce.  Bringing on a temporary staff or hiring contract workers can be the perfect solution when your business is growing.  You get the help you need during (what might be) a sporadic growth cycle, without having to manage a large full-time work force.  This removes much of the expense and complication from the business you need to run.

A contingent workforce needs to be managed effectively and a little differently than full-time employees.  If the time and effort is not put into this process, then expenses will grow.   So let’s look at the most common mistakes companies make in managing their contingent workers:

1)       Contracting willy nilly – if you have the right people in the right jobs, most of your management issues are solved.  This means taking the time to screen and contract/hire correctly, but too many companies simply take the stance of “we need help, get someone- anyone – in here NOW”. This attitude can be disastrous, especially for a small business where job descriptions are fluid, and everyone will eventually have to pitch in somewhere to complete a crucial project.  Some effort must be put into the hiring process because the role the contingent worker might need to fill could be different than if a full-time employee took on the position.  Sit down, before you even talk to your human capital management firm, and…

  1. define your workplace and company culture
  2. create a complete job description
  3. identify qualifications/characteristics successful candidates need to have

2)      No training/onboarding – too many companies do not take the time to onboard temporary workers….thinking it is not worth their time or their trouble.  However, this is a crucial mistake.  You instinctually understand your business environment, your customers, your culture, your processes; your contingent worker(s) will not.  Just because it seems “so simple” to you, does not mean that the process will be obvious to them.  In fact, most times it won’t.   They may bluff their way through and nod and acknowledge your comments, but (deep down) they will have no idea of what you are talking about.  This is where training is crucial. states that a good rule of thumb is a half-day of training for every month you expect you to have the contingent worker with you.

3)      Treating the worker like a “temp” –   this does not mean getting cross-eyed with the IRS, but it does mean that you need to give your contingent workers the tools they need to get the job done and feel like part of the team.   Bottom line is that your customers have no idea which of your staff is temporary versus full-time, and (honestly) they do not care.  The same holds true if these workers only interact with an internal audience.  This group wants the same thing that your customers want – a smooth experience and a solution to their problem.  You want to do everything you can to make working at your company as rewarding for the contingent worker as possible.  This makes their efforts more beneficial to you.  They could end up being your next new hire, customer or even referral.

Managing a workforce is crucial.  Today’s business environment changes on a dime, so having the right people in the right jobs at the right time is crucial.  Snelling is here to help.  We pride ourselves on our ability to truly partner with our clients.  We work as an extension of your organization, taking the time to learn about your workplace, your goals, your business outlook and your company culture.  If you are looking for a true workforce planning partner, trust Snelling to deliver the People + you need to make your business hum.  Visit our website to find your local office, where our knowledgeable staff can work with you to find the best-fit person for your company.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.