Contingent Workers: Top 8 Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by Alicia Morris

The insurance industry is in a unique labor market, continuing to face a talent shortage, while talk of a looming economic recession continues. In today’s evolving and uncertain economy, temporary talent – whether it’s project-based teams or interim expertise – is often necessary to effectively meet business demands and accommodate shifting needs. If you’re revisiting projects that were shelved during COVID, striving to remain flexible and not committing to additional full-time staff, or simply aiming to take advantage of new opportunities, contract workers are often an efficient and cost-effective solution. 

As more and more of our clients consider temporary employees to help meet their business goals, we’ve been providing a few key recommendations to get the most out of these relationships. We’ve also identified the top eight mistakes companies make that can hinder the impact of a temporary team or consultant. 

Contingent Workers Top 8 Mistakes-1

Contingent Workers Top 8 Mistakes-02-1Thinking temporary employees are less qualified than full-time professionals. Many highly trained and qualified workers are choosing contract work for a wealth of reasons, including its flexibility and variety. In fact, the gig economy continues to grow across all industries, with research projecting half the U.S. workforce will be contract workers by 2027.

Contingent Workers Top 8 Mistakes-03-1Not considering the many ways interim staff can support business needs. Traditionally, organizations have leveraged interim professionals to cover unexpected vacancies or to assist with backlogs. However, contract workers can impact your business in a number of other ways:

9 Steps to Prepare for Vacay Mode-04Quickly take advantage of new opportunities by using contractors with specific expertise                   who require minimal ramp-up time.
9 Steps to Prepare for Vacay Mode-04Reduce the impact of the tight labor market by hiring skilled workers that fill gaps at any                 professional level, while providing you the time necessary to find the right full-time hire.
9 Steps to Prepare for Vacay Mode-04Implement new technology and leverage contract workers to train your current team on                   processes and best practices without sacrificing service levels.

Contingent Workers Top 8 Mistakes-04Failing to clearly define needs and goals. Before bringing temporary staff onboard, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, as well as how you are defining and measuring success. If you’re using a staffing firm, ensure this information is also communicated to them at the onset of a project to ensure everyone’s prioritizing the same goals. 

Contingent Workers Top 8 Mistakes-05Limiting your talent pool. In today’s environment, many highly-skilled individuals prefer working from home and are less likely to travel for an assignment. If it’s not necessary for an individual to physically be in the office, provide the opportunity for them to work from home. Embracing remote workers provides you with access to a vast network of talent with unique and specialized skill sets.

Contingent Workers Top 8 Mistakes-06Having unrealistic expectations. Consultants do not always need to check the same boxes as full-time hires to excel at their job. Focus on the expertise, skills and attributes specific to your project’s goals and prioritize a “must have” list, separating additional characteristics into a list of preferences.

Contingent Workers Top 8 Mistakes-07Not prioritizing communication. Whether it’s with a consultant, project team or your staffing firm, timely feedback and open communication is essential to ensure ongoing success and progress. Speak up if your expectations are not being met or you feel there’s a lack of alignment.

Contingent Workers Top 8 Mistakes-08Having an ineffective onboarding process.
Onboarding temporary individuals is less involved than it is for full-time hires; yet, should still be thoughtful and thorough. Determine the resources, team-specific processes and other information vital for success and include this within your onboarding plan. Identify and proactively remove roadblocks, while ensuring you’re periodically checking in and staying aware of any challenges.

Contingent Workers Top 8 Mistakes-09

Using a staffing firm that isn’t insurance-specific. The ability to quickly and efficiently find qualified individuals with the insurance-specific skills necessary for success is often dependent on your staffing firm. Ensure your partner has a broad network of industry talent to enable you to find the right individuals in a short timeframe.

Contract workers and interim project teams can help bridge potential gaps, quickly take advantage of opportunities, and much more, ensuring your team continues to operate as effectively as possible – no matter what comes your way. By being creative, focusing on your goals and committing to consistent communication, you’ll be set up to take full advantage of these relationships and their many benefits. For more on contract work best practices, view our blog posts on ensuring project success and remote onboarding