How to Build a Healthy Contract Worker Pipeline

The “gig” economy offers employers a massive potential workforce. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 36% of the workforce functions in gig roles, which translates to about 57 million Americans. How can your organization take advantage of this enormous section of the workforce?

The best solution is to create a pipeline of good gig workers to draw from, and keep them happy and continue to look for work with your organization. This sounds great in theory, but how do you make it happen in actual practice?

Here are some practical steps you can take to build a healthy bank of talent for your organization.

Identify Your Needs, and Be More Involved

HR teams often fail to take responsibility for sourcing contract workers. “In the past there seemed to be no interest in contract workers and the technology associated with that,” says Andrew Karpie, a contingent workforce analyst for Spend Matters Network. “The best step you can take is to be involved.”

However, don’t waste time or effort trying to identify contract workers until you know what your company needs are. “You don’t want to be figuring it out as you go,” says Shelton Blease, director of HR operations for Lucas Group. Once you’ve identified a need for contract work, Blease suggests choosing projects that will be challenging — most contract workers are looking to build a diverse skill set, so if you want to keep engaged contract workers coming back, give them the opportunity to build their skills.

Work With a (Good) Staffing Agency, or Check Out Other Platforms

Blease says the best way to streamline resources when hiring contract workers is to find a good staffing agency. A good agency will be tapped into the top talent and treat contract workers like employees. This should include offering traditional benefits such as healthcare and paid time off, which will make contract workers feel valued and increase engagement when they’re working on your projects.

Depending on your organization’s needs, online platforms like Upwork may be a good way to source freelancers. “Sourcing from a platform produces different results than a staffing agency,” Karpie says. “The former is typically used to source remote freelancers, while the latter engages talent to come to your organization.”

Practice Common Courtesy

Don’t think of your contract workers as employees, because they aren’t. And, don’t try to run performance evaluations or get caught up in the metrics — that’s why you hired a staffing agency or have sourced through a platform. Many employers get bogged down in trying to re-create employee elements, but that shouldn’t be your focus.

What you should do, however, is treat your contract workers with respect and courtesy. This is a simple — but highly effective — way to maintain the best talent. “Even people who aren’t your employees, people who are vendors, you want them to enjoy your environment and your company,” Blease says. “It maintains your reputation, and shows that you really care.”

Article Published By: Clare Chiappetta, “How to Build a Healthy Contract Worker Pipeline,” HRCI