Understanding the true value of contractors

The resourcing strategies of many successful businesses are dependent on the use of contractors. Contractors – also known as interim or temporary staff – offer vital flexibility that enables those businesses to respond swiftly to changes in demand.

In some companies, contractors have been critical to business continuity for a number of years. Yet in others they are only now being seen as an increasingly viable source of talent.

While many people assume that the term ‘contractor’ effectively means ‘IT contractor’, contract positions exist for a wide variety of roles in HR, IT, life sciences and telecoms.

This is because more and more companies are realising that contractors can be both a practical solution for filling a gap on a day-to-day basis as well as part of a long-term approach to managing change.

So what do you need to know about contractors?

Why hire a contractor?

The decision to hire a contractor usually begins with an immediate or anticipated shortfall in staff. This may be due to a skills gap within a team, a change programme, the launch of a new product or service, or the need to cover maternity or sick leave.

Staff shortages within a team can often result in existing employees bearing a heavier workload. This can mean that they work longer hours and they suffer from added stress, leading to reduced motivation and productivity.

If you hire a good contractor, your projects will not lose impetus, your existing team will be able to focus on its day-to-day tasks and productivity is much less likely to decline.

What’s more, your contractor – who will have a wealth of experience and expertise – will be able to hit the ground running. They will be used to joining organisations and getting quickly up to speed with the key issues and deliverables.

Flexibility

An important benefit of using contractors is that they allow you to match your staffing levels to your workload. They can plug gaps in expertise and offer additional experience and expertise. They can also bring fresh ideas and be a source of motivation to your team.

Using contractors gives you greater control over your operational costs. Furthermore, cancelling contractor assignments is much easier and has fewer cost implications than making permanent staff redundant.

Quality and experience

Most contractors have experience of working across multiple projects, platforms, companies and sectors. The experience and expertise that they bring have considerable value and can make a positive difference to your organisation.

Engaging good contractors can also improve the skills and approach of your permanent team members. Contractors will promote best practice, share expertise and often offer mentoring. By bringing new ideas to the table, contractors can help your team to think differently.