Independent professionals are a valuable resource to many organizations. This component of your total workforce can bring in much-needed expertise, best practices, and delivery capabilities. However, that value can be quickly lost without internal buy-in and adherence to your independent contractor program. Use the following 10 tips to drive program addition within your organization.
Whether the goal of your independent contractor program is to drive efficiency, save costs, or mitigate risk, a strong and clearly articulated business case will help build a solid foundation for program adoption. Your business case should clearly show the ROI of utilizing independent workers, define overall goals, and outline policies and procedures.
To drive adoption, your program will need to be championed by executives and key stakeholders. Be sure to involve these figures in the program design process. Go into these discussions with a clear focus of how the program benefits your organization’s financial and competitive performance. With executives and stakeholders on board, you will be able to more efficiently and effectively message the program throughout your business.
Are there hiring processes, employee concerns, or other issues that could be a barrier to program adoption? Identify internal and external factors that could disrupt the success of your independent contractor program and mitigate these risks in advance by creating plans to counter possible setbacks.
An independent contractor engagement policy should articulate the reason for your program, and establish roles and responsibilities for all parties involved. Develop a standardized program plan with clear rules for identifying, engaging, and managing independent contractors. Define who will own compliance across the program, and ensure that key stakeholders and resources are committed to driving adoption.
A key component to adoption is designing a program that is easy for internal teams and independent contractors alike to use. Create a streamlined approval process that does not hold independents or internal requestors hostage to bureaucracy or extraneous rules geared towards engagement of traditional employees.
If you are using a cloud talent marketplace or technology platform to engage or manage independents, be sure to thoroughly test your systems with a soft launch before rolling out the program. This will ensure you have the time to properly train and prepare staff, make any necessary changes or adjustments if glitches occur, and determine the best strategy for a future hard launch.
Tracking and measuring your program’s performance is a useful way to gather and communicate results to internal staff. Use these results to refine or enhance the program as necessary.
Include a process for benchmarking the performance of independent contractors. This will allow you to identify top-performing independents that you can target for future re-engagement and ensure program effectiveness.
Communication is a cornerstone of adoption. Ensure that your independent contractor program is visible throughout your organization by educating employees on program policies and processes, and providing them with reports on program performance.
Ask for feedback from internal users and independents. It is important to understand the needs of both audiences and to use their experiences and feedback to improve your program. Remember, your independent contractor program is a dynamic process. Assess your program regularly to look for opportunities to improve.
The most well-designed independent workforce program will fall flat if it does not gain adoption. To be successful, you need to secure program adoption from both internal users and independents.
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Build positive, successful relationships with your independent professional workforce with these five tips.
Here are some quick insights from the 2011 State of Independence of America Report.