February 28, 2020

Training and the gig economy

More and more employers are making use of contractors as the ‘gig economy’ grows. But training these contingent workers comes with challenges of its own. How can you get the best out of your contractors?

Around half (56%) of the employers we spoke to in our recent Learning Insights global survey said their use of suppliers will increase over the next 3-5 years, and 53% predict the same for their use of contractors.

This reflects a marked shift in employment patterns globally, with an influx of 2 billion new workers into the global workforce from the BRIC countries in the past two decades.

Onboarding new employees, training teams and checking compliance can become difficult when you’re dealing with a workforce in flux. So what checks need to be in place?

1. Check for skills and experience

When working with contractors or temporary staff, in many sectors it’s vital to ensure they have the skills and experience to hit the ground running. Building relationships with trusted contractors and establishing a database of individuals with the right skills, qualifications and credentials will avoid the difficult business of finding new ‘fits’ for every individual project. What you are looking for is someone who understands the company values, is certified to work and has a background that is relevant to the work at hand.

2. Get the onboarding process right

Contingent workers might be based off-site and often have a very light-touch relationship with other employees, so getting the onboarding process right is a key first step. You can deliver onboarding through face to face training, online or as a combination of both, ensuring your values are understood, embedded and acted on. Digital learning to deliver this type of training is becoming increasingly popular.

3. Set clear goals

Outline milestones, expectations and deadlines for contractors in advance, with agreed work patterns, pay rates, priority areas and guidelines. Ideally, you should document all this somewhere central to help with reporting and review.

4. Deliver training

Just because this part of your workforce is contingent doesn’t mean they don’t need training – in fact, it could be even more important. Training can help you avoid poor worker performance, low productivity and accidents at work.

Things like safety and compliance training are a must for contract workers to ensure that the work is carried out correctly and safely. Workplace hazards are doubly hazardous if the worker is untrained and unfamiliar with the work site. Worker training should be the first thing on every HR manager’s list when considering hiring a temporary employee.

5. Make them part of the team

Integrate your contingent workforce into your company – make them feel a part of the team and you’ll get a better outcome and a more engaged, productive workforce overall. Temporary or contract workers will often be project based, with the associated chance of them feeling siloed from your other employees. Engage them from the beginning in company updates, cross-organisational working and communications and you’ll find they’re more productive, prepared and ready to hit the ground running.

Introducing a contractor management system

With the gig economy on the rise and showing no signs of stopping, the challenge for employers is ensuring that temporary workers are integrated into the team and can get up and running quickly, safely and effectively. For particular industries like construction, healthcare and the energy sector, health and safety and compliance are an even bigger issue.

An online platform like Sitepass can be the ideal solution to training and managing your contingent workforce. Manage key workforce documentation, compliance and training in one simple solution. And because Sitepass is a SaaS solution, it’s accessible via desktop, mobile or tablet.