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4 ways to ensure you’re successful in contracting

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Our previous blogs provide some sound advice on how to stand out in an extremely competitive market and how to make the most of an effective induction and onboarding process. While these are important facets of ensuring a positive contracting experience, how do you ensure that you successfully deliver the outcomes that you have been contracted for in the first place?

1. Commence with Clarity

Successfully delivering a contracted outcome is based on having a clear understanding of the deliverables when you sign up for an assignment. Ensure you speak with your hiring manager and put in writing, clearly defined deliverables that are required from you during your contract. Remember that as a contractor, you come at a cost premium compared to the permanent staff and you have been hired specifically to complete the tasks at hand. As such, it is expected that you are endowed with the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to deliver these as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.

Review the key objectives, milestones and expected timelines for completion with the hiring manager. Regardless of this clarity, as a contractor you will need to be able to deal with ambiguity and with some environments a rapidly changing landscape. Effective horizontal and vertical communication will help you in this stead.

2. Manage for Success

Once you have established and clarified the engagement deliverables and timeframes with the hiring manager, undertake a quick discovery of the environment to seek out the key stakeholders that you will engage with. You will need to develop effective relationships with these incumbents based on proactive communication protocols. This will be essential for you to navigate the organisation bureaucracy – especially when times get tough! Go out of your way to establish rapport and respect with these stakeholders as quickly as possible.

Proactively seek feedback from your manager – especially in the first few weeks to ensure that you are on track. Ask for candid feedback with regards to your work style, the speed of delivery and most importantly, the quality of your outputs. Should there be any highlighted issues, remediate these immediately.

3. Keep Out of Organisation Politics

Every organisation has its inherent politics. As a contractor, it is well-advised that you do not involve yourself in any office or organisation rumours or gossip. You need to maintain neutrality at all times and do not give fuel to any of these fires. Often, I hear from hiring managers of the discomfort with regards to contractors engaging in such matters - much to the contractor’s detriment.

Quickly become aware of the standards of work and dress that are accepted (and for that matter unaccepted) behaviours, and social etiquette (including work breaks and personal phone call usage) and align to these. Be extremely self-aware during social events – especially when alcohol is served as these can very easily go awry.

4. Completion for Re-Engagement

Remember you are as good as your last engagement. As the contract nears completion, ensure that you plan for a professional handover. Stand out contractors create comprehensive contract closure and handover dossiers detailing all data, information and knowledge that needs to be transferred over to agreed permanent personnel.

It is most useful to have a formal contract closure briefing with your hiring manager to solicit feedback with regards to your deliverables and your conduct during the assignment as part of your continued professional development plan. It is extremely important that you leave a lasting impression – as we all know, your paths are destined to cross again!

Should you wish to discuss any aspects of this further or are interested in crafting a contract closure hand-over dossier, I would love to hear from you.