Advice for companies that use contractors

The number of companies that use contractors has increased in recent years. And this is true across all types of industries, from construction to tech.

If you’re one of the employers recognizing the benefits of hiring contractors, then you’ve problem come across a few unexpected challenges. Below are some best practices you can implement to build strong, productive relationships with your contract employees.

Free checklist!

Download this free contractor induction checklist to make sure you’ve got all the documentation you need.

Treat contractors like full-time employees

One mistake I see a lot of companies make is separating contractors from the rest of the company or facility. Your contractors, especially ones with extended contracts, should be included in critical company communications like safety notices, policy updates, and more.

If you treat contractors as separate entities, it will be harder to hit goals for things like safety and productivity.

You also want to consider how to engage contractors in company-wide initiatives. For example, if you give regular shoutouts to full-time employees but never to contract workers, you’re missing out on an opportunity to boost morale. Always take the time to include contractors (when possible) in appreciation initiatives around your company.

Have a system for managing contractor documents

Keeping track of contractor documents is one of the hardest things about onboarding these employees. Driver’s licenses, contract agreements, and drug tests are just some of the documents you might collect.

If you don’t have a system for organizing these documents, it’ll be very difficult to oversee your contractors’ compliance with OSHA requirements.

I’d recommend a contractor management system like Frontline CSM for maintaining oversight. That’s because the software allows you to upload copies of important documents and set reminders when you need to collect an updated version.

Set clear performance expectations

Companies that use contractors should always set their expectations up front. Whether you have productivity standards for individual contractors or completion deadlines for third-party providers, it’s essential you make your requirements known up front.

You can even put clauses in your contract agreements that state consequences for failing to meet standards. Of course, the contractor will have to agree to your terms, but if it’s critical to performance, you should consider this approach.

Here are some of the expectations you should set right away:

  • Performance or productivity standards
  • Deadline for completion of project(s)
  • Health and safety compliance requirements
  • Employee behavior standards

In general, your standards for safety and employee behavior should be no different for contractors and full-time employees. It’s important to hold everyone on site, workers or managers, contractors or employees, to the same workplace behavior and safety standards.

Offer a positive onboarding experience

There are several reasons why you should invest in your contractor onboarding program. First, onboarding is where your relationship with a contractor starts. If the process is chaotic, disorganized, or negative in any way, it can negatively impact productivity and engagement.

Frontline CSM for contractor training

With Frontline CSM, you can assign training to your contracotrs and track their progress.

Another reason why onboarding is so important is because delays here can slow down the entire contract’s progress. Imagine that you have to shut down a critical process so contractors can install a new piece of equipment. If your team is inefficient at onboarding the contractors, they can’t get started on day one of the contract. Invest in your hiring and onboarding processes so you don’t waste a single minute of your time.

Provide regular feedback

For deadline-based contracts, you should be checking in with your team daily to determine their progress. It’s important to provide feedback when work is not done to your standards, as early as you can, to avoid delays and substandard results.

And if you use individual contractors for long-term roles, you should have regular one-on-ones with them (the same as you do with your own employees). The only way you’ll be able to uphold your performance standards is if you make feedback a regular part of your contractor management process.