How Independent Contractors Can Help Drive Business Growth

As we continue to see the impact of the pandemic on the workforce, we are finding that there are more job openings than there are workers ready and willing to fill those roles. The result is a challenging one for businesses.

In an effort to bridge this gap, many organizations are looking to complement their full-time staff with independent contractors to grow their business.

Blended workforces are not new. They have been a staple of business talent strategy for years. But what has changed is the significance of this type of worker to a business’ bottom line.

How so? To start, independent contractors typically have very specialized skills such as IT workers, accountants, translators, copy writers, engineers, and more. Many of these independent contractors provide their services on an as-needed basis and recognize the need to procure the right certifications to do their job properly.

In situations where you need a specific skill set, tapping into the contractor workforce can fill those needs much more efficiency in terms of cost and time compared to on-boarding a new full-time employee. Independent contractors also enable businesses to increase their geographic coverage without the hurdles of finding business space or local employees

Finally, when businesses hire full-time staff, they look for specific skills and experiences that help them determine the best fit for the role. However, over time, many workers are assigned tasks that are outside of their skillset and while these very talented people often get the job done, is it really the best use of their time?

Independent contractors can fill this gap without the expense of finding and onboarding another full-time employee, which can be costly to onboard and train. Independent contractors enable full-time employees to focus on the true value-add projects that will move the business forward, while independent contractors can focus on task-based work.

Plus, they can start immediately, not in a few months.

Building a Contractor Workforce

Building an independent contractor workforce is not without its challenges. Onboarding, compliance and payment for their services follow a different path than the typical W2 worker.

Here are a few key considerations for a contractor workforce to ensure long term success and sustainability:

1. Do they have the right credentials and certifications?

Whether in engineering, accounting, field service, marketing, or any other service field, things are always changing. It is even more critical that your chosen independent contractors have the right qualifications and certifications.

Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do you have a process in place to assess skills and validate credentials, such as CPA certifications, when applicable?
  • Do you have a way to organize and sort workers by skill set to simplify the process of finding the right worker for the right job?

2. What compliance guardrails do you need to put into place?

State and federal labor guidelines change frequently. Before you bring a new contractor onboard, make sure you have tracking and reporting in place.

Building an independent contractor workforce is not without its challenges. Onboarding, compliance and payment for their services follow a different path than the typical W2 worker.

Here are a few points to help you get started:

  • Gain a basic understanding of worker classification, and consider consulting a labor specialist to determine how to classify workers and what guardrails and policies you need to put in place.
  • Ensure you have the ability to provide on-demand reporting and an audit trail based on your company’s guardrails. Effectively tracking your engagement with individual contractors can help mitigate risk.

3. Do you have a streamlined onboarding process designed for contractors?

Bringing independent contractors into your organization will require a different process than the one for W2 workers.

Here are some ways to create a superior onboarding process to help keep independent contractors coming back for more projects with your firm.

  • Make it digital. With many independent contractors working outside of your local area, having a way to digitally onboard these workers is crucial. You will need to have a streamlined approach to collecting tax documentation, credentials, background checks, etc.
  • Consider technology solutions like freelance management systems that can help you automate the process of onboarding, managing and paying independent workers.

Include contractors in your company culture. Share your company’s history, values ​​and goals as part of the onboarding process. By emphasizing the important role that they will play in your company’s future, you can help encourage them to come back to you for further projects.

Every firm is unique and these tips may not apply to your business needs. But as a general rule of thumb, when you have these types of processes in place, you can help increase your chances of success when bringing on independent contractors.

2022 is the “Year of the Worker”

Work is changing. Companies operating are in a highly competitive market for the top talent of any industry—to succeed, they must meet the talent where they are.

To remain competitive, it is time to rethink your workforce strategy and your organization’s approach to talent management.

Bridget Quinn Kirchner leads the Client Experience for WorkMarket, ADP’s Freelance Management System. She is responsible for enabling the organization to strengthen and expand strategic relationships with focus on thought leadership, data/business insights and technology to provide an effortless client and worker experience. Bridget has spent her career in education and SaaS with specialties in sales, service and operations. She is passionate about interesting people and technology products and specializes in building dynamic teams to solve problems.

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