Independent contractors can allow your business to tap into in-demand skillsets, gain specialized expertise, provide an external perspective and support your work needs while keeping your employees focused on your core business. But what does it cost to hire independent consultants – and how do you plan this category spend?
Consider the Total Costs
There are 17.7 million independent workers in America today. This growing workforce has increasingly become a vital source of talent for businesses. The shift to a project economy combined with technological advances has not only contributed to the ease of leveraging independent workers but has expanded the breadth of specialized talent that can be engaged.
Once you have identified and hired an independent contractor, you want to ensure a successful engagement. Managing an independent worker is significantly different than managing traditional W2 employees. Independent workers have the freedom to control their hours of work and the manner in which they accomplish the agreed upon project. In fact, a common litmus test of being classified as an independent worker is control. While it is important to manage non-employees differently, you can ensure that they are productive and working toward a mutually successful outcome.
There has always been an uneasy yet symbiotic relationship between independent consultants (ICs) and the staffing and consulting firms that use them. Most ICs would prefer to have “direct” relationships with end customers, but must rely on middle men like staffing and consulting firms to help find work. Staffing firms commonly promote the idea that they will place candidates of any profession, level or rate, but in general they tend to steer clear of ICs due to risk, control and competition issues.
Building a deep bench of talent is integral to being a best-in- class organization. Yet many companies continue to rely on traditional methods that do not embrace the 21st century work landscape.
As work arrangements have shifted to include both traditional and independent work, so too should talent recruitment and engagement methods.
When you break it down, is contractor engagement really so complicated?