Hiring an IT contractor when your hands are full of tech projects is a whole lot easier than hiring a new permanent employee. However, it’s not quite as simple as hiring a plumber when your drainpipe springs a leak.
You see, your typical contractor is going to be around a few weeks or months longer than one wet afternoon. And while he may be a temporary employee, the impact he may make on your office and organization might not be so fleeting.
The goal when hiring a contractor, then, is not only to complete a successful project, but also to maintain or even improve a great work environment with flourishing team of existing employees.
The trick behind this two-pronged goal? Contractor Integration.
The process of acclimating a contractor into your workplace takes a 3-point approach.
Is your workplace fast paced or laid back? Is there a diverse team of techies or no IT people at all? Is your team an outgoing group or a quiet bunch? Do you foster a contemporary workspace,
a homely setup, or a corporate office?
You probably already have a solid understanding of your work environment, and it’s something you must keep in mind when hiring even the most temporary of employees.
Why? Because employees, even temporary ones, work most successfully in a place where they fit in. No matter how adaptable a person is, they’ll integrate better into your workplace and you’ll see better results if they’re hired for more than just their technical skills.
How will you know if a contractor will fit well in your culture? A good staffing firm should have a steady idea of a candidate’s personality, and even a quick interview should give you better insight, too.
Culture is only part of the integration equation, because what makes up your culture are the people in it, and that’s where communication comes in. Though it depends upon the dynamic of your organization, there are two main branches of communication; that is, interaction between your current team and your new contractor, and the discourse between yourself and this contractor.
Just as with a permanent employee, introductions are usually necessary. This way, your existing team knows what’s going on, and the contractor quickly understands the roles and responsibilities of the people working around him. While obviously the contractor will be managed differently, it’s important to treat him as one of the team, instead of superior or inferior, to avoid any conflict and animosity.
Make sure your contractor has the same communication tools as anyone would have, such as an email account and phone access. When it comes to communication with you, make sure it’s regular, whether in the form of frequent status reports or project meetings. This will ensure that your contractor is working optimally towards success.
This final aspect of integration depends upon how closely your current team interacts, but either way, collaboration can be important. It provides an opportunity for the contractor to better blend into the team, even if he is the sole IT person working independently on a project.
Additionally, when your team collaborates with your contractors, you suddenly have fertile ground for the sharing of new ideas, transfer of valuable skills, and training opportunities. Overall, collaboration can help make the hiring of a contractor into a very positive and fruitful experience for all your employees. Not to mention, of course, that your projects will be completed more quickly and effectively.
There are clear benefits to hiring contractors, especially when it comes to saving both time and money. But if you want to take it to the next level, integrate your contractor into your workplace by using these three C’s.
In short, make sure your contractor fits your work culture; keep those lines of communication between everyone open; and encourage collaboration between your contractor and existing employees. A temporary employee may have a lasting effect on your business, so make sure it’s a positive one.