As independent professionals become more centered in the economy and take more strategic roles in their client companies, it would be unusual if managers didn’t consider offering full-time employment to valued independents on their teams. “Locking in” such key talent can be important to employers and might be seen by them as a win-win proposition. After all, surely having a secure, steady job must be more attractive to being an independent contractor.
Many Independent Professionals Have Different Priorities
Not necessarily. While the assumption that any independent professional must be looking for full-time employment may once have been valid, it no longer accurately reflects reality. If you plan to make an employment offer to a valued independent, here are four points to consider.
Independent by Choice and Satisfied About It
Our 2022 State of Independence report offers an updated view of the world of independent talent. A significant majority of respondents (64%) indicated that the decision to become contractors was by choice rather than by circumstances. And an even larger percentage (76%) report being very satisfied with this professional choice.
Freedom, Autonomy, and Control Are Big Drivers
Independents enjoy the freedom they have to choose when they work, where they work, and who they work with. This autonomy and the experience of being in the driver’s seat of their careers are highly valued.
Happier and Healthier
Eighty-four percent of independents said they are happier working on their own. Not surprisingly, an equally high number—80%–said that working on their own is better for their health.
Life Is More Fulfilling
In research that looked at life goals, independent professionals exceeded employed workers in achieving the top objectives of all workers. Six in ten independents report success at leading a fulfilling life, versus 54% of workers, and almost six in 10 independents say they’re successful at getting the most out of life, compared to 52% of workers.
To Offer or Not to Offer? Two Options
The state of independent talent in the US reflects a strong trend to remain contractors rather than becoming employees. However, this trend doesn’t mean that every independent is of the same mind. Some may indeed welcome the opportunity to return to full-time employment. Changing circumstances may also change an independent worker’s perspective, making a job and a steady paycheck welcome.
Figuring out which side of the full-time employment fence your independent contractor is on can help you decide how to go forward. You can ask them directly about their work style and if they enjoy being independent. Or, if you don’t yet want to ask direct questions about their preferences, paying attention to their work style and getting to know them better personally can give you some indicators of their perspective. This anecdotal information gathering can give you a good idea if they want to stay where they are or if they would welcome a change in employment status. From there:
- If your valued independent wants to stay independent, look at ways that you can become and remain a Client of Choice so that they will continue to engage with you.
- If they are open to a shift to full-time employment, you can have that conversation and follow through with an offer.