Over the last few months, a number of our contractors have highlighted to us their desire for greater clarity around expectations. They don’t feel expectations are too high, that employers are too demanding, they feel that they can be more productive, more quickly if these are addressed and shared as early as possible. Here are our top tips on establishing expectations in relation to contractors and projects.
Plan, plan, plan
It is imperative that hiring managers clearly articulate their plan for the additional resource before proceeding with the hiring process to ensure you source the right resource for your requirements. This should include a clear definition of what skills and expertise you need, why you need external resources as opposed to seconding internal staff, how long you need the resource for, what tasks and outputs that role will entail, budget to cover the fees associated with the level of resource required and a delegated authority to hire and sign off the necessary contract artefacts. Most importantly, you need to have planned processes to effectively induct and then facilitate the ongoing management of these relatively expensive resources.
Determine if this is the right role for the contractor
You need to be extremely clear that engaging a contracted resource is the best strategy to execute your objectives. If you want someone with the requisite level of knowledge, skills and expertise to come on board and deliver the outcomes as quickly as possible to the commensurate level of quality, it makes good sense to get this done by a contractor. If you want to ensure that knowledge, expertise and any intellectual property is retained, it may make more sense to second an appropriate internal staff member for this initiative and backfill the subsequent vacancy for the secondment period with a contractor.
Clear definition of deliverables a must
Too often we hear from contractors that while they may be aware of the overall outcomes of the initiative, they have no idea what they have been hired to deliver in particular. Scarily, they may not be fully aware of these for days. It is important that as a hiring manager, you not only have defined the deliverables, but also have clearly identified how these will be measured for success – both for quality and also timeliness.
Definitive onboarding and induction
To ensure that contractors are fully productive as quickly as possible, it is imperative that you commence the onboaring and induction processes as early in the recruitment process as possible. These should include pre-commencement activities such as seating logistics and system access; provision of tools of trade and the completion of all necessary HR and other relevant documentation. Occupational Health and Safety policies and procedures together with other post-commencement role-specific information should be readily available. We have noted that organisations that nominate identified buddies for such new hires are able to get these folk operationally productive much quicker.
We appreciate that often the time between identifying the need and welcoming a contractor on their first day is short. But invest upfront in getting these things in place and we’re sure you will find the outputs and results will be delivered with greater pace.