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Five Steps to Maximize the Success, Happiness and Productivity of Your Contractor Employees

Getting contractors acclimated to your company early can mean the difference between being productive and feeling part of the team, or fumbling and feeling like an outsider. While hiring skilled and qualified contractors is crucial, how you bring them into your company is critical to their success and the success of your project. Follow these five steps to get your contractors acclimated, productive and happy from the start.

1. You’ve got a friend

If on the contractor’s first day, no one knows he’s coming, he doesn’t know who to ask for, he’s not sure where to sit and is unable to find water cooler, there is a good chance he will feel awkward, unwelcome and uncomfortable. Avoid this bumpy start by matching the contractor with a friendly point person. On the first day, have the point person take the contractor around, make introductions and show them areas of interest like the lunch room and rest rooms. Don’t forget to notify the contractors’ department that they will be starting. Contract employees want to hear, “Hello, welcome!,” instead of, “Who are you and why are you here?”  

2. A place to call their own

Before the role starts, make sure your contractor has an assigned place to sit, a working computer, a comfortable chair, email access, a phone and an internal contact list. When a contractor starts a job with no place to sit, only to be left in a conference room for the day, it’s an awkward way to begin a job and can leave your once-eager contractor feeling deflated.

3. Make Sally more than temp

While it may seem like a small thing, avoid using the term, “temp” when introducing your new contract employee. Most people would prefer to an introduction like, “This is Sally. She is going to be helping us implement the new accounting software,” instead of, “This is Sally the temp.” 

4. Share the inside scoop

During the first few days, the point person can help welcome the contractor by explaining dress code, meeting culture, normal hours and go-to staff members. Make them feel part of the company culture from the beginning. If you have all-company outings coming up shortly after the contractors start, decide early on whether they will attend and let them know. Don’t forget to invite them to standing meetings where relevant, and consider grabbing lunch with them on the first day. 

Company cultures differ tremendously, and having someone share some of the nuances will help the contractor settle in more quickly and comfortably.

5. Keep in touch

After taking these steps to make the contractor feel welcome on her first few days, check-in often with the contractor’s staffing agency to gauge their satisfaction with the assignment, especially if your company is considering a permanent offer. Don’t assume the contractor is happy. Checking on their contentment early on means you have time to fix issues before they become irreparable problems.

Think of your contract staff as you do your full-time employees. If you don’t spend a little up-front time making them feel welcome and productive, they will waste time trying to figure things out themselves and may feel bad about the assignment from the start. More importantly, setting your contract staff up for success from the start helps them to effectively deliver their projects on time while adding the value your company needs.

Photo Credit: Career Profiles