Rosy holiday sales forecasts and low unemployment mean competition for seasonal workers will be stiffer than ever, according to Forbes. And with technology that lets employees search for the best-paying gig work, labor costs will likely soar.
Since many businesses will be understaffed for the holidays, it's more important than ever how you treat your contract workers.
Here are four tips for inspiring your contract workers to go 'above and beyond' this holiday season. Spoiler alert: It has nothing to do with pay.
1. Create a sense of connection
Contract workers want to feel connected to both the business and their co-workers. Unfortunately, most managers immediately train their contractors on their tasks and don't take time to introduce them to their colleagues, nor the company's mission or vision. As a result, they focus solely on the task.
With no connection to the company, the job is transactional. Contract workers, therefore, don't give more than what's explicitly stated in their contract.
Leaders who take the time to explain the big picture and why the work is important, will get better results and see more highly motivated contractors.
Leaders can also assign a buddy to make contractors feel welcome and connected to colleagues or take them out to lunch to answer questions. If the role is remote, a video call can go a long way towards forming a connection.
2. Let contractors know there is opportunity for growth
If true, be sure to let your contractors know that there is a chance to become a full-time employee down the road. While it's unlikely that you can offer a position to every contractor who impresses you, you can make it known that, as the need arises, you do offer full-time jobs to qualified contractors.
This news can motivate contract workers to do the best possible job. It also gets employers thinking about contractors as more than just a moment in time.
3. Recognize great work
Everyone wants to feel appreciated and to know that their work makes a difference. Let contract workers know when they're doing a good job and that you consider them a valuable part of your team.
When possible, invite them to company events and gatherings, especially if they're working on-site. Send them greeting cards or personal notes. As contract workers receive your gratitude and the opportunity to experience the company culture, they will feel more connected and more motivated to do their best.
4. Be flexible
If you place too many restrictions on a contract worker's schedule, they might lose motivation or become frustrated. While it's difficult in retail or manufacturing to be flexible, it's easier to provide office staff with the flexibility they need to pick kids up from school or attend their holiday events.
Ask your contractors, up-front, about their ideal schedule and try to make it work. But more importantly, respect their right to personal time and don't assume they're free to jump on your projects when you need them.
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