How to get the best out of contractors and consultants

by Amy Simpson

Working with contractors and consultants can be tricky. Especially when you need them up-to-speed fast to get the job done. But modern communication and collaboration tools are helping to speed up and improve the process.

One aspect of the 'gig economy' is that working with people who aren't a permanent part of your organisation is likely to become more common. Gen Y now makes up 35% of the workforce and research shows that they have a growing preference for freelance work, with 57% saying that they're interested in going solo.

When your organisation employs a freelancer or a consultant, you'll want to get the very most out of their time with you. That means familiarising them with what they need to know about the tasks they need to carry out and how your organisation works.

So how do you make working with contractors work? We've got a few tips.

Bring people in for the right reasons

You might engage a contractor or consultant to gain a skill-set that you don't have – or need – permanently or to solve a particular problem.

These types of roles might not be suitable for long-term projects that will continue to evolve over time. Contracts can work best if they're self-contained and have a clear end date. For long-term tasks that are integral to your organisation, permanent staff may be more suitable.

Make the scope of work clear

As with any role, set out a job description for your contractor or consultant. This will help make clear to all parties what the boundaries of the role are.

You can then share it with your contractor so they understand what's expected of them and can ask any questions which might help further refine the scope.

Define what success looks like

Whether it's a report, strategy or another type of output, your contractor needs to know exactly what you expect them to deliver and the impact it should have. Define the metrics that you will use to measure success before you make any type of plan with your contractor or consultant.

Familiarise the contractor with your organisation

Your freelancer will need to know how things work quickly. Collaboration tools like you find in Workplace can help.

Using Org chart, for example, can give new contractors and new starters a crash course in the who's who of your organisation and how to contact them.

Workplace Chat then gives them immediate real-time access to your organisation via IM, voice and video calling. It can be an effective way to introduce your consultant to the business so that they're up and running quickly and people are clear on their role.

Get the right collaboration tools in place

Organisations should tailor the tools that they use to communicate to the task. Using Workplace allows you to set up groups that are specifically relevant to your contractor and the job.

These groups can be open to all or closed to a selected project team. Group members can access – and add to – a permanent timeline containing all posts, updates and documents relating to the project.

Simply add your consultant to the relevant group and they'll be up to speed fast – and better able to get the job done.

Watch how AirAsia is using Workplace to connect the entire organisation. And try Workplace Premium free for 90 days.

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