TLC: The Blueprint for Delivering an Exceptional Contingent Worker Experience

Making sure your suppliers deliver an exceptional experience to contingent workers throughout the entire assignment lifecycle is not only critical to your client’s employment brand, but to your ability to attract, retain and engage the very best freelance talent as a managed service provider (MSP).

Here’s why the employee experience matters. According to the latest survey from the Talent Board, 65 percent of job hunters who had a positive experience during the hiring process will increase their relationship with those employers by applying again, referring others and potentially purchasing products and services from that company.

Furthermore, research from Deloitte reveals that employees are demanding a holistic, end-to-end—recruitment-to-retirement—experience from their employers, whether they are full-time employees, contingent workers or even crowdsourced talent. And as everyone knows, in today’s talent economy, freelancers with hot skillsets are in the driver’s seat.

What does it mean to provide an exceptional end-to-end employment experience and how do you go about it? Here are four ways to build an experience that will set your managed program and your staffing partners apart.

Conduct Frequent “Temperature Checks”

No news is definitely not good news when it comes to delivering an exceptional employment experience. To make sure that contractors are enjoying their assignments and feeling appropriately challenged and productive, staffing firms need a formal “contractor care” program.

An effective strategy features communication as its centerpiece, with regular check-ins (after the first day of an assignment, first paycheck and monthly thereafter) and plenty of opportunities to provide feedback via phone, text or email.

Contractors say that they often feel like outsiders with no real home. Hosting social events and networking exchanges gives them a sense of belonging and the opportunity to bond with agency staff and their fellow freelancers.

Did you know that only 13 percent of staffing firms redeploy at least half of their contingent workers to subsequent assignments? Staying in touch with contactors not only leads to more consistent work and improved employee satisfaction, it extends tenure and reduces rehiring and retraining costs for staffing clients.

Measure Satisfaction Levels

Monitoring satisfaction levels is essential for the acquisition and retention of high quality contingent workers. Concerned staffing firms use Net Promoter surveys to collect feedback and track sentiment throughout the hiring and employment lifecycle allowing them to pinpoint trends and identify opportunities for improvement. Staffing leaders also incorporate a process for sharing positive and negative opinions with program managers and escalating unresolved issues to ensure that relationships with contractors are preserved.

When staffing clients, MSPs and their staffing partners are more fully in tune with what contingent employees are thinking and feeling at various stages of the employment lifecycle, they are better able to address issues before they affect reputations, talent attraction and assignment completion rates.

Support Professional Growth

Just how big a role does professional development play in contractor engagement and satisfaction? Again, the data is irrefutable. Staffing firms that provide free training and development programs increase worker engagement, retention, productivity and even a client’s margins and profitability.

Plus, professional contractors must continually hone their skills and embrace new tools and technologies to maintain their marketability and offer value to staffing clients. In fact, nine out of 10 temporary and contract employees surveyed by the American Staffing Association said that staffing work made them more employable.

Best-in-class staffing suppliers understand the relationship between career development, stretch assignments and job satisfaction, so they let workers take free online training courses and volunteer for challenging projects that help them progress up the career and income ladder.

Provide R&R&R (Rewards, Recognition and Respect)

As noted in our previous post, more and more host employers are augmenting the employee benefits supplied by staffing firms in the hopes that providing lavish perks can increase their ability to attract, retain and motivate in-demand contract talent. But many staffing firms could be overlooking one of the most easily executed and cost-effective strategies: employee recognition.

It can be as small as acknowledging a contractor’s teamwork or perfect attendance with a personal note or highlighting a recent success on social media or offering a monetary reward such as a bonus or pay increase. Events such as work anniversaries, birthdays and contract extensions should trigger congratulatory messages from members of the contractor care team.

The bottom line is that pay and benefits are continually rated as very important to job satisfaction but being recognized for their contributions and feeling respected can go a long way toward creating an outstanding experience for contingent workers.

Ben Thakur

Ben Thakur is President and CEO of eTeam, a partner in delivering value-added talent solutions and IT services to Fortune 1000 companies.

About Ben Thakur

Ben Thakur is President and CEO of eTeam, a partner in delivering value-added talent solutions and IT services to Fortune 1000 companies. Ben is known as an industry thought leader and innovator; his accomplishments include establishing strategic alliances with large integrators such as Deloitte and Computer Sciences Corporation. He is a recipient of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of Year Finalist award.