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9 tips for attracting and retaining contingent talent

October 3, 2022

From The SeasonedPros.ca Content Lab

The competition for talent has never been greater. The generational exit and The Great Resignation have intensified the challenge of finding and retaining good talent.

Many firms are turning to the contingent talent market for leaders and subject matter experts to solve problems and navigate a company through economic headwinds when talent is in short supply.

But the contingent market is also competitive and retention can be an even greater challenge in the contract market because job mobility is the norm. If a business wishes to use the contingent talent model, recruitment and HR teams need to retool to attract and retain contractor workers.

Here are 9 best practices to manage contract talent:

  1. Systematic onboarding – Contract workers are accustomed to “hit the ground running” but they need a clearly articulated message on the goals of the project, scope of work, expected outcomes, and timelines.
  2. Workplace culture initiation – Permanent employees should understand the role and value of contract workers. Leadership should invest in educating full-time staff on the purpose and benefits of contract talent.
  3. Respect expertise – Contract workers are subject matter experts who bring deep knowledge and new perspectives to an organization. Appreciating their value and insights will increase retention.
  4. Make contract talent part of team – Invite contract workers to networking events, lunches, happy hours and other social events. Everyone likes to have their birthday recognized, even a contract worker. This creates personal relationships which increase loyalty to the team and organization.
  5. Be transparent about exclusions – when a contractor is not required in a meeting related to their project, explain why they are not involved. Most contract workers will understand.
  6. Set clear reporting protocols – appoint one person to manage contract work, deliverables, and deadlines.
  7. Compensate contract talent fairly – money is not the only consideration but it is important for retention in a mobile talent market. Per diem compensation could be higher than permanent full-time employees because contingent workers are experts, receive no benefits and work on a temporary basis.
  8. Exit interviews – when the contract is completed, ask the contractor for feedback and suggestions for improvement. Integrate these insights into the talent acquisition strategy.
  9. Referral program – Contingent workers often know other contingent workers who may be able to help the organization. Word-of-mouth referral is an excellent recruitment tool to source quality candidates. Reward successful referral hires with finder’s fees.

Engaging with top contingent talent is the key to retention. Pivoting to this model requires attention to employee acquisition strategy and HR practices. In a competitive talent market, this will improve the likelihood of success.

SeasonedPros.ca is an on-demand executive recruiter. Clients with an immediate need for experienced talent trust us to source professionals for project, interim and part-time roles. Each professional in our national database has 20 + years of business experience. We provide our clients 2-4 vetted professionals in 10 business days or less.

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