It’s no secret that being a contractor can make a person feel like a second-class citizen; different badges, unique email aliases and seating arrangements can create a feeling of segregation. Labor laws demand a clear distinction between FTE (Full-Time Employees) and contractors to prevent companies from abusing employment practices and avoid paying benefits. Fortunately, differentiating between two types of employees does not have to include office segregation. Here are 5 simple ways you can make your next contract employee feel like a real part of the team.
Really onboard your contractors, don’t give a watered-down version of what an FTE gets. Onboarding is your opportunity to outline company and team goals, vision, mission and history. When you give employees a sense of ownership and pride, you create a reason for them to give 110%. Every employee, FTE and contractors, want to understand how their efforts will support company initiatives.
Open Lines of Communication
One common piece of feedback given by consultants is that communication between the company and themselves could improve. When you hire a new contractor for a project, have a one-on-one and discuss your different work and communication styles and set proper expectations. Investing in a discussion now could eliminate friction down the road.
Give Actionable Feedback
According to one survey by Clutch, receiving actionable feedback plays a significant role in feeling fulfilled at work. If you want the contractor to perform at their highest standards, make sure you are giving clear direction. The worst thing you can do when a contractor is underperforming, is ignore them until the contract is up or let them go early without surfacing the issue. Take five minutes for a meeting and discuss what they are doing well and where they need to improve. Giving someone an opportunity to make necessary changes shows that you are a strong leader and can help you identify great candidates for future FTE roles.
Integrate All Employees
If you have your contractors isolated to a different area of the building, change it now. You cannot make someone feel like an engaged member of your team if you are keeping them at a distance. Now might also be an appropriate time to stop using labels such as “contingent staff” or “contractor,” labels can be divisive and counterproductive.
Make an Effort to Include Everyone
If your team had a major win and is heading to happy hour, make sure an invite is extended to the contractors. Similarly, if there is a gathering in the office, try to make sure ALL team members are invited to participate. Nothing makes you feel like an outsider more than being excluded from team building activities.
There are several legitimate reasons why you must differentiate types of employees, that doesn’t mean contractors are less valuable than their FTE counterparts. It’s important to remember that how you make a person feel will stick with them long after they are gone; if you want your company to have a good reputation amongst contractors, treat them the same as everyone else. It’s also wise to remember that FTEs and contractors are equally capable of introducing brilliant solutions – your team’s next big idea might be one contractor away.