Independent consultants, contractors and freelancers can be a valuable resource to your organization. This component of your total workforce can bring in much needed expertise, best practices, and delivery capability. However, that value can be lost if you do not have internal buy-in and adherence to your independent contractor program.
Use the following tips to drive program adoption within your organization:
- Promote the program and clearly articulate the business case. What is the reason for the independent contractor program and process? Whether the goal of the program is to drive efficiency, save costs, or mitigate risk, you will need a strong business case that clearly shows the ROI of utilizing independent workers.
- Engage executives and key stakeholders. To drive adoption, your program will need to be championed by executives and key stakeholders. Involve executives and key stakeholders in the program design process with a clear focus of how the program benefits the company's financial and competitive performance.
- Identify risks to adoption. Are there hiring processes, employee/union 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.
- Develop an IC engagement policy. This should articulate the reason for the program and also establish roles and responsibilities. Develop a standardized program plan with clear rules for identifying, engaging and managing independent contractors. Define who will own compliance across the program and get key stakeholders and resources committed to drive adoption.
- Define the approval process. A key component to adoption is a program that is easy for internal teams and independent contractors to use. Design a streamlined approval process that does not hold independent contractors or internal requestors hostage to bureaucracy.
- Test systems. If you are using a cloud talent marketplace or technology platform to engage and/or manage independent contractors, test with a soft launch before rolling the program out.
- Track and measure. Track the program's performance and communicate the results. Use the results to refine or enhance the program as necessary.
- Benchmark performance. Include a process for benchmarking the performance of independent contractors. This will allow you to identify top-performing contractors as well as ensure program effectiveness.
- Communicate regularly. Communication is a cornerstone of adoption. Ensure that the independent contractor program is visible throughout the organization by educating on the independent contractor program process and providing reports on program performance.
- Solicit Feedback. Ask for feedback from internal users and independent contractors. It is important to understand the needs of both audiences, and use their experiences and feedback to improve your program. Your independent contractor program is not static but a dynamic process. Assess your program regularly and look for opportunities to improve.
The most well designed independent workforce program will fall flat if it does not gain adoption. To be successful, your independent contractor program has to be adopted by both internal users and independent contractors.
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