Many employers become too focused on filling a specific position for a specific, short-term project or application, forgetting about the long-term need of building a stable and loyal workforce. Even for contingent employees, there is always the need to retain talent and build loyalty. Ensuring that employees stay on the job for a prolonged amount of time is not an easy task, but it is necessary to make sure that work is completed with quality and projects are done effectively.

First and foremost, it is important for contingent workers to feel as though they are part of the company, even if they are not actual employees. While contingent workers may not need as much training as new employees, they may need to go through a reasonably long and in-depth orientation process. The orientation process should be the same or very similar to the process that employees go through and should involve learning about the values of the company and what is expected day-to-day. This process should be done in a relaxed way, where all talent is treated well and presentations are given in a relaxed, entertaining manner. Additionally, it is important that all tools needed for the task are available to the contingent worker upon starting. For example, if a computer or phone is required for the job duties, then it is important that the tool is available on the first day of work, or shortly thereafter.

Next, it is important to consider the skills that contingent employees bring to a place of work. Qualified talent from ICON can often have years of experience. Ensuring that talent feels valued means treating each employee as an individual with their own unique skills. It is important to cover the necessary items in the onboarding process while valuing existing skills and finding how they can be beneficial for tasks in a new role.

Engaging in cross-training is another important way to build professional bonds, making talent feel as though they are part of the organization and understanding the inner workings of the company. Cross-training involves working in different departments around a company and being trained in new tasks so that employees can stand in for each other. This also helps employees develop empathy for each department’s special challenges.

Finally, it is important to be transparent with all expectations for talent. Transparency starts with setting goals and times by which certain points of a project should be finished and how it should look when completed. This can be done by following up on a regular basis to check progress on an assignment or project.

In summary, to retain key talent, the first days on the job are critical. Tools should be available, and orientation should be thorough. As the assignment progresses, consider cross-training to help contingent workers feel part of the company and able to help out in a pinch. Setting expectations, including timelines, goes a long way to help employees feel engaged.