Companies bring contingent workers on board every day, but few provide them with the tools they need to be successful. We are not talking about providing them with a phone, desk or computer. Rather, it’s about giving them those guidelines that help manage their time successfully when you engage them. You’ll want to define what your company’s expectations are when engaging these vital workers and avoid the various perils and pitfalls associated with their use, such as issues like misclassification, overtime, co-employment risk.
That’s where having an overall policy comes in handy for the company as well as the contingent.
For starters, in most companies, staff augmentation — getting temporary workers for short-term projects — is handled very differently from bringing on statement of work (SOW) consultants. Begin by defining what constitutes short-term temporary engagements, SOW projects, outsourcing contracts, and so on. A good CW policy will spell out the nuts and bolts of CW life at your company and outline rules around issues like drug testing, generating business cards, email signature lines, and system access to the more complex aspects, such as assignment tenure and onboarding/offboarding procedures.
An effective policy ties the details of a CW program in with the company’s philosophy. What is the strategic intent when engaging contingent workers? This statement should be outlined in any effective policy and could simply state that long-term, core business needs are taken care of by employees, not contingents. Alternatively, you could take a more detailed approach, describing the specialized services temporary workers can provide outside of your company’s core business needs. A CW policy may describe the geographic scope, and specific rules required for different worker classifications, such as what level of system access would be provided for each type of worker and what credentials would be required for each contingent worker type.
At the end of the day, make sure your managers have the tools to engage these workers during those peak periods. Take the time to draft a good contingent workforce policy. It’s worth it and pays great dividends.
Need more information? Ask Staffing Industry Analysts about CWS Council membership. Our CWS Council members have access to a sample policy as part of the CWS Council Toolkit.