Managing Contractors

Hiring, Managing, and Motivating Contract Workers

Understand what makes contractors "tick".

© iStockphoto/H-Gall

It's happened again. The company CEO has set a new, incredibly ambitious goal for your department. And the deadline? You've got six months to make some pretty drastic changes.

Suddenly you've got more work to do than you've got hands to do it. Fortunately, you have the option of hiring contractors to help with the sudden influx of short-term work.

Inevitably, contractors have their own set of challenges and drivers. This means that from a management standpoint, they're going to need some different carrots from those you use with your permanent staff. So, what should you consider before hiring contractors? And what can you do to keep them motivated until the job is finished?

In this article we're going to discuss these important issues so you have the tools you need before bringing contractors into your team.

Why Work With Contractors?

One of the most common reasons for taking on contractors – temporary, full-time staff in "business as usual roles" – is because of the situation described above: a short-term requirement for extra members of the team. This is usually because you need to run a special project, but it might also be to cover staff absence as a result of a secondment or long-term sick leave.

With contractors you have the ability to hire people based on specific skills they have that you need, and once the job is done they happily move on to another company. And even if your project is cut prematurely, shedding contract staff usually carries few of the issues involved with downsizing your permanent team.

Contractors are also invaluable because they're so flexible. For instance, if you identify a position that urgently needs filling in your department, finding and hiring a permanent staff member can take weeks or months. A contractor, however, can step in virtually the very next day and start filling in the role until someone more permanent can start.

This also allows you to find out if that role should become permanent or not. And the best news? Contractors excel at going into a new environment, learning what they need to know quickly, and getting to work. Permanent new-hires tend to have a much longer "induction" period, which can be frustrating if you're pressed for time.

Downsides to Working With Contractors

Like anything, there are always some negatives to offset the positives. The most common downside is that contractors...

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