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Onboarding external workers can be a tricky puzzle for contingent workforce program leads. According to research by industry analyst Josh Bersin, about 40% of organizations fail to adequately onboard and integrate newly hired non-employees.

External Worker Onboarding is Broken and Dehumanizing

Conflicting needs between legal obligations, project KPIs and contingent workers often result in a less-than-optimal onboarding process.

“The contingent workforce is complex because a recruiting agency, a staffing partner, a managed service provider (MSP), the client team, and the hiring manager are all involved.” according to David Sun, Strategic Sourcing Manager at Salesforce.

By leaning too much on a transactional and legalistic view, you may find yourself compartmentalizing the worker out of fear of crossing a line. This results in several issues:

  • Impact on Worker Longevity: Focusing too heavily on procurement metrics may lead to treating people like cogs in a machine.
  • Impact on Worker Productivity: A slow or non-existent onboarding process can also lead to reduced project speed, resulting in lapses of productivity.
  • Impact on Employer Brand: Your brand may suffer fallout as the external worker feels left adrift once “hired.”

To combat this, make external workers feel like they matter with a well-rounded onboarding experience. What distinguishes a company with people-centric values “is that human factor, the feeling [of being] welcomed into the company,” Sun says.

What can program leads do to improve onboarding for nonemployees?

Creating standardized onboarding procedures can become complex. It can be difficult to institute a consistent approach with multiple functions interacting with the contingent worker without a single-point-of-contact. By aligning MSP, contingent workers, and the hiring manager, employers can communicate better with their new contingent workers.

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Defining the onboarding experience for nonemployees

To improve the onboarding experience, the MSP can take a more active role in collaborating with other groups because they have the most communication.

Modern technology platforms that support multi-actor workflows, such as Utmost Extended Workforce System (EWS), allow for this type of collaboration seamlessly and effortlessly. They facilitate interactions between different parties, meaning that each party (MSP, Enterprise, and the workers themselves) can complete tasks based on configurable workflows.

Defining a standard onboarding procedure for employees and nonemployees

It’s essential to uphold a good, consistent experience for employees and nonemployees.

Here are a few items that can remain consistent for all workers:

  • Orientation: An orientation introducing the company and job role within
  • Utmost Workflows: Avoid using static checklists. Automate onboarding processes for employees using Workday and use Utmost to automate onboarding procedures for external workers.
  • Company handbooks: Handbooks should have info for both employees and external workers with areas marked for each type of worker to avoid confusion and the associated risk

As a program manager, you have a great deal of input on creating a more streamlined experience for the enterprise and workers. Communication is critical, and technology supporting how work is done can help pave the way to a better onboarding experience for your external workforce.