Harness your independent contractor and utilise the skill knowledge the person has to offer in its entirety. Independent contractors are often underutilised, not in terms of their work ethic or productivity, but in the level of knowledge they can offer your staff for years after the independent contractor has completed the project.

An organisation generally hires an independent contractor based on the spark they can ignite within a project. These individuals are usually the thought leaders in their chosen field and can offer a lot more than an employee may be able to. Statistics show that the work ethic of a contractor is a lot higher and yields more returns per hour worked than an employee might produce within the same time frame. The approach from which the contractor is hired is somewhat a reverse to that of an employee. A contractor is generally hired to meet specific targets within a specific time frame. Whereas an employee is hired to be nurtured into a thought mechanism to benefit the corporate culture, and hopefully produce the same result albeit with the organisations set of competencies being attributed to the employee’s way of operation.

Organisations generally have a management plan for their staff. They offer training, issue benefits and the employee is made to feel that he or she is part of more than just the profit target. Self-actualisation within an organisation is hugely valued by an employee and recognition for one’s contribution is not merely finance based. These benefits may include a shift in title, praise at a meeting or even the offer of a corner office with a view. HR departments are specialists in establishing the correct appraisal for an employee and seek to match what the employee sees as being valuable to them as well as within the financial scope of the organisation.

When it comes to independent contractors however, this appraisal system has not yet been fully established and the immediate get out of jail card is a financial incentive for their productivity and reaching the targets laid out at the beginning of the contract. Although an independent contractor does not fall into the organisations staff they should receive benefits that are not only financially based. Further incentivising should be established to fully appreciate the benefit the person has brought into the organisation and the contribution that has been made to the knowledge base of the staff. This could be in the form of a letter of appraisal issued to the company that has seconded the person to your company or even some incentive that makes the person feel part of that organisation and that the organisation truly valued the persons’ contribution.

This will go a long way in motivating the independent contractor and will in turn bring a positive reputation for the organisation that the company is able to value individuals regardless of their employment status. As human capital is becoming the most specialised skill, it is important to ensure that every person that forms part of the organisation, regardless of the duration or scope, is able to promote the companies HR structures and provide favourable references to other people about your organisation. Unfortunately this is yet to be fully established in many organisations as it does not benefit the bottom line at all. In the future organisations will become more focused on the connections that an independent contractor may have with other companies which creates the opportunity to value the contribution made by temporary contractors as it will bring future benefits for the organisation, what goes around, comes around.

-Kyle Tate

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