Classifications of contingent workers include:
- Freelancer – self-employed workers who are free to enter and exit arrangements with employers at any time
- Independent contractor – employees who have their own businesses and outsource services to clients or other companies
- Agency contractor –workers who are employed by an agency and provide temporary labor solutions
- Consultant – employees who actually work for another company but are hired to provide a professional service or finely tuned objective
- Outsourced supplier – workers who offer continuous service through an official contract, such as security and cleaning crews
The first step to effectively managing contingent workers is clarifying which distinction each employee belongs to, and designing customised HR practices accordingly. This includes outlining how each group will be engaged, to whom they will report and their length of tenure with the company.
In addition, the following steps are advised:
- Include contingent workers on employee surveys, as the same benefits of employee engagement applies to this demographic as well
- Give regular and annualised feedback to foster relationship building
- Provide extensive onboarding processes to familiarise contingent workers with the organisation
- Offer rewards based on such metrics as timeframes and outcomes
While difficulties sometimes arise from their contractual nature, it’s important to note that contingent workforce strategy is still a critical component of overall workforce strategy. HR can put itself in the driver’s seat by working with its company’s legal department, compliance offers, and other business leaders to maximise the talents that these employees offer.
Contingent workers are a dominant player in the global workforce, and staffing firm Adecco predicts that their growth will continue until they comprise about 25% of employees worldwide.